The Atlanta Falcons kick off their 2021 season on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. They named five season-long captains on Wednesday,
Atlanta named quarterback Matt Ryan, offensive tackle Jake Matthews, wide receiver Calvin Ridley, defensive lineman Grady Jarrett, and linebacker Deion Jones as captains for the season.
Each of the five captains have spent their entire careers with Atlanta.
Ryan is in his 14th season with Atlanta. The 2016 NFL MVP was the third overall draft pick by the Falcons in 2008. Ryan has been named to the Pro-Bowl four times in his career including his 2016 MVP season.
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Matthews is in his in his eighth season with the Falcons. Atlanta made him the sixth overall draft pick in the 2014 draft when they took him out of Texas A&M. Matthews made the Pro Bowl in 2018.
Ridley is in his fourth season with the Falcons. He was the 26th overall draft pick out of Alabama in 2018. Ridley was elevated to the number one receiver spot much of 2020, because Julio Jones was plagued by injury. Ridley responded with a big year, catching 90 passes for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns. He's poised for another big year as the Falcons unquestioned number one receiver.
Jarrett was the lowest draft pick of the captains. Atlanta took him in the fifth round of the 2015 draft. Jarrett has made the Pro Bowl in the last two seasons. He had 52 tackles and four sacks last year. His versatility will pay dividends in new defensive coordinator Dean Pees' scheme as he'll play inside and outside on the defensive line depending on down and distance.
Jones is in his sixth season with the Falcons. The linebacker from LSU was a second round pick in 2016. Jones hit the ground running with Atlanta and made the Pro-Bowl his second season. Jones suffered a season ending injury in 2018, but he bounced back with back to back 100+ tackle seasons in 2019 and 2020.
Falcons fans will get to see their 2021 captains in action for the first time on Sunday at 1 p.m. against the Philadelphia Eagles.