When Atlanta Drafted Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ryder in the second round of that year’s draft, the Falcons hoped he would be their signal caller for years to come. When it comes to sports betting, trends over the years show that Atlanta has had a hard time finding a star quarterback in the draft. However, initial feedback from Ryder has been positive.
Many observers expect Ridder to challenge veteran Marcus Mariota to start for the Falcons in Week 1. In Atlanta history, the Falcons have selected five quarterbacks in the first round. How did these players perform after entering the NFL?
Not the Randy Johnson you’re thinking of.
When the Falcons selected Texas A&I, now known as Texas A&M-Kingsville, with the first pick in the 1966 draft, quarterback Randy Johnson, expansion Atlanta was expected to get off to a fast start. However, like many expansion teams, Johnson was stuck playing with a Falcons team that didn’t have much talent.
During his five years with Atlanta Drafted, Johnson had an 8-28-1 record as a starter. He passed for 8,329 yards and 34 touchdowns against 65 interceptions. Johnson would end up bouncing around football and spend 10 seasons in the NFL. The only year he played in the World Football League was 1974 with the Hawaiians, where Johnson was named to the All-WFL team.
When Atlanta Drafted quarterback Steve Bartkowski in the first round of the 1975 draft, he would develop into a quarterback that helped lead the team to its first round of success. While he finished with a 55-66 record as a starter, Bartkowski had plenty of upside. In 1980, Bartkowski made his first two consecutive Pro Bowl appearances, leading the NFL with 31 touchdown passes.
Bartkowski also passed for 3,544 yards in 1980 to help lead Atlanta to a 12-4 record. The Falcons would be eliminated from the playoffs by the Dallas Cowboys, 30-27. Bartkowski would also pass for over 3,000 yards in 1981, but the team’s record fell to 7-9.
Run and shoot
Chris Miller can never stay healthy for the Atlanta Drafted. When healthy, the 1987 first-round pick had his moments during his seven seasons in Atlanta. However, Miller was never able to stay on the field. His best season was in 1991, when he passed for 3,103 yards and 26 touchdowns.
As a starter, Miller was 23-43 in Atlanta.
A boy named Vic
Michael Vick might be one of the best situations in NFL history. The Falcons selected an athletic quarterback in the first round of the 2001 draft. In his six years in Atlanta, Vick compiled a 38-28-1 record as a starter and made the Pro Bowl three times. Memorably, Vick would lead the Falcons to a victory over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in the NFC Wild Card Game.
Atlanta Drafted would also make a trip to the NFC title game under Vick, who passed for 22,464 yards and 133 touchdowns in Atlanta. However, Vick’s time in Atlanta would end in controversy. Vic was caught running a dogfighting ring on his property. The resulting investigation would result in him being found guilty of federal charges.
Vick would miss two NFL seasons as a result of his prison sentence and would never play for Atlanta again.
Matt Ryan immediately legitimised the Atlanta Drafted after being drafted by the team in 2008. Ryan helped guide the Falcons to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth in his first season. Ryan would rewrite Atlanta’s record books during his 14 seasons. Ryan passed for 59,735 yards and threw 367 touchdowns against 170 interceptions.
Ryan compiled a 120-102 record as a starter. He was selected as the MVP of the NFL in 2016 and was named to the Pro Bowl four times and was selected as an All-Pro once. He is the only Falcons quarterback selected in the first round to lead Atlanta to the Super Bowl.
The Falcons lost 34-28 to New England in Super Bowl LI despite leading 28-3. Ryan, however, had a strong game. Ryan was 17 of 23 for 284 yards and two touchdowns.