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ESPN - Franchise's best late round pick


GTFalcon25
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http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/15231072/best-late-round-pick-ever-all-32-nfl-teams-dwight-clark-joe-montana-49ers-tom-brady-patriots

Try and recall a late-round steal in Atlanta Falcons draft history, and you'll probably come up with the name Jamal Anderson.

He was a seventh-round pick out of Utah in 1994. He carried the ball all of two times as a rookie. But Anderson eventually made himself into a household name, for more than one reason.

Anderson became a starter in 1996 and rushed for 1,055 yards that season. He went on to have three more 1,000-yard seasons, including a franchise-record 1,846 rushing yards on a then-NFL-record 410 carries (14 touchdowns) during the 1998 campaign. His rushing total was second in the NFL behind Denver's Terrell Davis (2,008 yards). And Anderson was named to his only Pro Bowl as well as being named first-team All-Pro.

His success in '98 is a big reason why the Falcons went 14-2 and made it to the Super Bowl, where they lost to John Elway, Davis and the Broncos.

Falcons fans might remember Anderson best for his "Dirty Bird" touchdown dances, during which he flapped his way into the national spotlight. His celebration in a prime-time matchup against the 49ers helped the "Dirty Bird" soar to new heights.

Anderson played eight NFL seasons, but torn ACLs in his right and left knees during the 1999 and 2001 seasons eventually led to his retirement. Anderson, who was considered but never signed by the Patriots in 2002, finished his career with 5,336 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns on 1,329 carries. He also had seven touchdown receptions.

Honorable Mention

Jeff Van Note, C, Kentucky: Van Note was a 11th round draft pick in 1969. He went on to play in six Pro Bowls, tied for the most in franchise history with Hall of Famer Claude Humphrey. Van Note still holds the franchise mark for most seasons played (18) and most consecutive games played (155). He started 225 of 246 games. Van Note retired in 1986 at age 40. The argument can be made that Van Note, a Ring of Honor member, tops Anderson as the team's top later-round draft choice.

Todd McClure, C, LSU: McClure, a seventh-round draft pick in 1999, went on to start 195 of 198 career games with the Falcons in 14 seasons. He gave the Falcons the type of stability they haven't had at the position in years, which is why the team went out and got three-time Pro Bowl center Alex Mack this offseason.

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I'm a little surprised he went with JA. The '98 season sticks in everyone's mind I guess, but Van Note and McClure are the types of players that build long-term success.

Hopefully Mack will fall in line as the same type of dependable center. The kind you never hear mentioned, because he's not getting flagged, blown up, or carried off the field. 

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4 minutes ago, GTFalcon25 said:

I'm a little surprised he went with JA. The '98 season sticks in everyone's mind I guess, but Van Note and McClure are the types of players that build long-term success.

Hopefully Mack will fall in line as the same type of dependable center. The kind you never hear mentioned, because he's not getting flagged, blown up, or carried off the field. 

Trust me, they got that one right.. Jamal would be 10 to 1 over anybody else as a 7th round pick.. He was a great back and my all time favorite player to watch. If not for him, we would not have made a SB.

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3 hours ago, GTFalcon25 said:

I'm a little surprised he went with JA. The '98 season sticks in everyone's mind I guess, but Van Note and McClure are the types of players that build long-term success.

Hopefully Mack will fall in line as the same type of dependable center. The kind you never hear mentioned, because he's not getting flagged, blown up, or carried off the field. 

You have to go with van note. 6 probowls is not a joke.

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