The NFL today announced that outside linebacker Vic Beasley Jr., kicker Matt Bryant, running back Devonta Freeman, wide receiver Julio Jones, center Alex Mack, and quarterback Matt Ryan have been named to the 2017 Pro Bowl roster.
The 2015 first round pick has found his niche in the NFL in his second season, as he gains his first Pro Bowl selection. Beasley Jr. currently leads all players with 14.5 sacks. He is currently second on the franchise's single-season sack list, two away from former Falcons John Abraham. In week 14, Beasley Jr. became the first Falcon - and 10th NFL player - with 3 sacks and a fumble returned for a touchdown in a single game since sacks became official in 1982. In week five, in the Mile High City he recorded a career high 3.5 sacks versus the Broncos. Since 1994, those 3.5 sacks recorded that day are tied for the second most by a Falcons in a single game.
The former Clemson standout also leads the league in forced fumbles – six. His six forced fumbles on the season are tied for the most in franchise history. Beasley Jr. won the NFC Defensive Player of the Week award for his performance against the Los Angeles Rams in week 14. He posted the second three-sack game of his career and scored his first career touchdown in Atlanta's 42-14 win over Los Angeles.
Bryant has been selected to his first career Pro Bowl. The 15-year veteran leads all scorers this season in the NFL with 135 points. After eight years with the Falcons, Bryant broke former Falcons kicker Morten Andersen's franchise record for points scored in week eight versus the Green Bay Packers. Bryant broke the record on an extra point in the first quarter following a 47-yard touchdown reception. He has now scored 871 points during his eight-year stay in Atlanta, and has 1,464 career points, which is fourth on the NFL's active points leaderboard. Bryant also broke Andersen's franchise record for most field goals made (185) on a 46-yard field goal in the third quarter in week 10.
Bryant has also connected on 29-of-31 field goal attempts and has a 93.5 field goal percentage, which is second in the league. He currently ranks fifth on the NFL's active field goal percentage leaders (85.6-percent). In October, Bryant was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month.
Freeman has earned his second consecutive Pro Bowl selection. The 5-foot-8 running back out of Florida State has racked up 1,276 total yards and 12 total touchdowns, which ranks tied for fifth among running backs this season. Earlier during the season on Monday Night Football in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Freeman tallied 152 rushing yards and chipped in five receptions for 55 yards and his first receiving touchdown of the season. His 207 total yards from scrimmage during that game gave him the fifth-highest (tied) total this season among running backs. Also, in week 15, Freeman became the ninth Falcon with two seasons of 10-or-more touchdowns.
Freeman recorded the third three rushing touchdown game of his career in his most recent game against the 49ers. Freeman has seven multi-touchdown games for his career, and he's recorded back-to-back multi-touchdown games twice in his career. He also is the only player in the NFL over the last two years who has three games with three rushing touchdowns. Freeman has recorded 930 rushing yards on 202 carries for a 4.6 yards per carry average. His 57 rushing first downs ranks seventh in the NFL.
Jones has earned his third consecutive Pro Bowl selection, and the fourth of his six-year career. Jones has been impressive since entering the league in 2011, but the last two seasons "Jet Jones" has thrust himself into the upper-echelon category of all-time receivers. After recording 1,871 yards in 2015, Jones has followed that up by putting up 1,253 receiving yards – NFL high – in only 12 games. According to Radar 360, since 2000 his 1,105 yards through the first 10 games of the season were the seventh most receiving yards for a receiver's first 10 games of the season. Jones has also passed the 100-yard mark seven times this season, knocking his career 100-yard game total to 35 – five off the franchise record.
In week four, Jones put up 300 yards receiving against the Carolina Panthers, which is the fourth most receiving yards recorded in a game in the Super Bowl era. In week 10, Jones played his 75th career game and recorded his 475th career reception, which became the most in NFL history in a player's first 75 games. A few weeks later, the former Alabama standout passed former Falcons receiver Terance Mathis and moved to second on the franchise's all-time receiving yards list on the first play of the game in week 13. He passed Mathis in 49 fewer games played - Jones 77 games; Mathis 126 games.
Alex Mack has been at the center – literally – of this Falcons offense this season and he has earned his second consecutive – fourth career – Pro Bowl selection. The 312-pound center from Cal has played in all 14 games this season, and has anchored an offensive line that has averaged 412.9 yards per game, which is second in the NFL. Against the 49ers, the offense broke the franchise record for most points scored in a season (469), and the team leads the league in points scored – 32.9 points per game.
Mack has also been in the middle of a line that has blocked for an offense that averages 310.9 passing yards per game – third in the NFL – and 116.7 rushing yards per game, which is eighth in the league.
With his stellar play this season, Ryan has earned his fourth career Pro Bowl selection. Through 14 games this season, Ryan has thrown for 4,336 yards, which is third in the NFL and has a passer rating of 114.8 – a league and career high. He has also matched his career high – franchise record – 32 passing touchdowns, which is tied for the second most touchdown passes in the league. This season, Ryan has completed at least 70-percent of his passes six times this season, and he is currently completing 68.6-percent of his passes, which is a career high and ranks third in the NFL this season.
The ninth-year signal caller has arguably had the best year of his career. Ryan is currently averaging a career high 9.3 yards per attempt, the highest yards per attempt average in the NFL this season. In week seven, Matt Ryan broke an NFL record by throwing for 200 yards in 46 straight games, and in week 12 he became the first player in NFL history to pass for 200 yards in 50 consecutive games. His 200 passing yards streak currently stands at 53 games. In week four versus the Panthers, he threw for a career high 503 yards, which is the second highest game passing total this season.