The Numbers Game II: The 70s

The Numbers Game II: The 70s

jheeter@macon.comJuly 6, 2013 

No. 70 Bob Whitfield, Falcons, 1992-2003

Bio: The eighth overall draft pick out of Stanford, Whitfield started 167 games in 11 years as a Falcons’ tackle. Only Todd McClure, Jessie Tuggle, Mike Kenn and Jeff Van Note played more games or seasons with the Falcons than Whitfield. He made the Pro Bowl during the Falcons’ Super Bowl run in 1998. Whitfield played in 129 consecutive games in Atlanta – the fourth longest stretch in franchise history – and started 123 straight – the third longest total by a Falcon.

Why we picked him: Whitfield may never go up in the Falcons’ Ring of Honor – he only has one Pro Bowl to his name – but he was a mainstay for the Falcons for a decade. The Falcons have had success keeping their premiere linemen in Atlanta for most of their careers, and Whitfield followed in the footsteps

Others we considered:

Kevin Breedlove, Georgia, 1999-2002

Breedlove was a rare four-year starter at offensive guard, including during the Bulldogs’ 2002 SEC Championship run. He’s sixth in school history in starts – not counting kickers.

Nat Dorsey, Georgia Tech, 2001-03

The three-year starter jumped on the radar as a true freshman when he handled Julius Peppers. He became the first true freshman to earn All-ACC status since 1995, and he landed on the All-ACC second team as a sophomore.

Mike Mooney, Georgia Tech, 1988-91

Mooney earned first-team All-ACC honors in 1991 and started at offensive tackle during the national championship season in 1990.

Ray Rissmiller, Georgia, 1961-64

Rissmiller was a two-year starter on the Bulldogs’ offensive line. He made All-SEC second teams in 1963 and 1964. He was an All-America pick by Time and The Sporting News in 1964. He was a second-round pick in the 1965 NFL draft.

Dave Scott, Falcons, 1976-82

Scott was a key cog in the Falcons’ offensive line for five seasons, protecting Steve Bartowski and paving the way for William Andrews.

No. 71 John Zook, Falcons, 1969-75

Bio: Playing on the other side of Claude Humphrey on the defensive line in the franchise’s early days, Zook created nearly as much havoc as his more ballyhooed compatriot. Either Zook or Humphrey led the Falcons in sacks for 10 straight seasons, with Zook leading the way three different years. The former Kansas standout had a career-best 10 sacks in 1975, his final season in Atlanta. Zook made his only Pro Bowl in 1973 – he made the trip with Humphrey. Zook finished his career second in franchise history in sacks, and he remains fifth in team history with 47 sacks (putting him behind only Humphrey, John Abraham, Chuck Smith and Patrick Kerney).

Why we picked him: A guy who hasn’t played for the Falcons in nearly 40 years might get lost in the shuffle, either forgotten or completely unknown to the current generation of Falcons fans. But Zook was prolific, averaging nearly seven sacks per season over his seven years with the franchise.

Others we considered:

Kroy Biermann, Falcons, 2008-current

Biermann has been largely a rotational player on the Falcons’ defensive line since being drafted in the fifth round in 2008. He has 16.5 career sacks.

Cordy Glenn, Georgia, 2008-11

Only David Greene and Blair Walsh have more career starts than Glenn, who is tied with Clint Boling with 50 starts.

Cord Howard, Georgia Tech, 2005-09

Howard started 34 straight games at Tech, earning All-ACC honors in 2008 and 2009.

Adam Meadows, Georgia, 1993-96

Meadows was an All-SEC pick in 1996 and started 29 games on the Bulldogs’ offensive line. He was a second-round pick and played seven seasons for the Indianapolis Colts.

Alec Millen, Georgia, 1989-92

Millen was a captain on Georgia’s 10-2 team in 1992 and started all 22 games during his final two seasons in Athens. He became Georgia’s first representative on the AFCA Good Works Team and earned All-SEC honors in 1992.

No. 72 Daniel Inman, Georgia, 2002-06

Bio: Very few players have as many starts to their name in Georgia history as Inman. He started 48 games over four years, missing only four starts in his career. The Bulldogs went 40-12 during Inman’s four seasons as a starter. Inman was a second-team All-SEC pick in 2005, and he landed on the first team as a senior in 2006. He was also an All-SEC freshman team pick in 2003.

Why we picked him: Inman may not have the not pedigree of other Georgia All-Americans, but the North Carolina native is fifth in school history in career starts among non-kickers.

Others we considered:

Sam Baker, Falcons, 2008-current

Baker has had a much-maligned career with the Falcons, but the former first-round pick does have 56 starts in five seasons and is responsible for protecting Matt Ryan’s blindside.

Jim Cagle, Georgia, 1970-73

Cagle was a two-year starter and the defensive captain in 1973. He was a fifth-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1974. He also helped lead Marietta to a state title in 1967.

No. 73 Bernard Williams, Georgia, 1990-93

Bio: Williams earned All-SEC freshman team honors in 1990 as a defensive lineman. He entered the starting lineup at offensive tackle as a sophomore and stayed there for 32 starts, which included wins in the Independence and Citrus Bowls. Williams earned All-SEC honors as a senior captain in 1993 and landed on Playboy’s All-America team. He was a first-round pick of the Eagles in 1994.

Why we picked him: Williams was an integral piece of the offensive line that protected Eric Zeier and paved the way for Garrison Hearst.

No. 74 Max Jean-Gilles, Georgia, 2002-05

Bio: The massive offensive guard earned All-SEC and consensus All-America honors as a senior on the way to helping the Bulldogs to a SEC championship in 2005. He became an offensive captain as a senior and started 40 games on the Bulldogs’ offensive line.

Why we picked him: Jean-Gilles beats out some tough competition from some fellow Bulldogs’ offensive linemen, but he was the only one to earn All-America honors. Jean-Gilles, however, had the best college resume.

Others we considered:

Jon Carman, Georgia Tech, 1996-99

Carman was the leader of an offensive line that led the nation in total offense. He was an All-ACC pick and earned second-team All-America honors from The Sporting News and third-team from the AP.

Craig Hertwig, Georgia, 1970-74

The Macon native earned AP All-America honors as a senior offensive lineman before getting drafted in the third round by the Detroit Lions.

Guy McIntyre, Georgia, 1980-83

McIntyre was a very good player at Georgia – he was second-team All-SEC in 1982 and first-team in 1983 – but he became a great player (wearing a different number) for the San Francisco 49ers. He won three Super Bowls with the 49ers and made five Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams.

Todd Weiner, Falcons, 2002-08

Weiner made 96 starts at offensive tackle after coming over from the Seahawks, protecting Mike Vick’s blindside for most of his career.

No. 75 George Kunz, Falcons, 1969-74

Bio: Kunz was the second overall pick in the 1969 draft behind O.J. Simpson. The former All-American at Notre Dame made a Pro Bowl in his rookie season, the first of five Pro Bowl appearances with the Falcons. He was a second-team All-Pro selection in 1973. He made three more Pro Bowls with the Colts, giving him eight Pro Bowl selections in his first nine seasons in the NFL.

Why we picked him: Kunz is one of only six Falcons to make five Pro Bowl teams – only Claude Humphrey made more. Kunz probably could have been a Falcons’ Ring of Honor selection had he stayed with the franchise a few more years. He was traded, however, to Baltimore for the No. 1 overall pick, and the Falcons selected Steve Bartkowski.

Others we considered:

Tony Casillas, Falcons, 1986-90

While the Falcons have plenty of worse draft picks in their history, Casillas never produced at the level expected of a second overall pick. He did start 57 games in five seasons.

Rod Coleman, Falcons, 2004-07

Coleman was, at times, a dominant defensive tackle. He posted double-digit sack totals in 2004 and 2005, earning a Pro Bowl selection in 2005.

Shane Dronett, Falcons, 1996-2001

Dronett started 50 games from 1998-2001, including all 16 during the Super Bowl run in 1998. He finished with 22.5 sacks in his Falcons’ career.

Mack Guest, Georgia, 1975-78

Guest was the captain of Georgia’s 1978 “Wonder Dogs” team that went 9-2-1. He earned All-SEC honors that same year, and he also played on the Bulldogs’ SEC title team in 1976.

Jimmy Harper, Georgia, 1980-83

The Eastman native earned second-team All-SEC honors in 1981 and landed on UPI’s All-SEC first team in 1982.

Chris Hinton, Falcons, 1990-93

Hinton had his best years with the Colts’ franchise, but he still managed 60 starts over four seasons with the Falcons. He made the Pro Bowl in 1991 and earned All-Pro honors in 1993.

Jeff Merrow, Falcons, 1975-83

Merrow played his entire career with the Falcons, starting 101 games in nine seasons. He's still eighth in franchise history with 36 sacks.

Eddie Prokop, Georgia Tech, 1942-44

This former quarterback was SEC Player of the Year in 1943, rushing for 1,440 yards and passing for 806 to finish second in the nation in total offense and lead the Yellow Jackets to the SEC title.

No. 76 Mike Gann, Falcons, 1985-93

Bio: Taken with the Falcons’ second pick of the 1985 draft, Gann became an instant starter at defensive end. He started 117 games over the next nine seasons and finished his career with 23.5 sacks. He scored two touchdowns in his career on fumble returns.

Why we picked him: Gann was a fixture on the Falcons’ defensive line for nearly a decade, and most Falcons fans would have a hard time picturing the team’s defensive line from the 1980s without thinking of Gann.

Others we considered:

Dennis Franklin, Georgia Southern, 1985-88

Franklin was a two-time AP All-American, and he earned consensus All-America honors in 1988. He started all four years, including the back-to-back national championship seasons in 1985 and 1986.

George Patton, Georgia, 1964-66

Patton was a two-time All-SEC first-team selection and earned AP All-America honors in 1965, and he helped lead the Bulldogs to the SEC title in 1966.

Rock Perdoni, Georgia Tech, 1967-70

Perdoni was a two-time All-Southeastern Independent selection and he earned consensus All-America honors in 1970. He was also a third-team selection by the AP in 1969.

No. 77 Bill Stanfill, Georgia, 1966-68

Bio: The Cairo native was a force for the Bulldogs, making an all-conference team for three straight years – two of those selections were to All-SEC first teams. He was named a consensus All-American in 1968 after leading the Bulldogs to their second SEC championship in three seasons. He became Georgia’s only Outland Trophy winner following the 1968 season. Stanfill later started on two Super Bowl championship teams with the Dolphins and accumulated 67.5 sacks before injuries cut short his pro career. He was inducted into both the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.

Why we picked him: Stanfill is one of Georgia’s true legendary players, joining a select group of elite players who won national individual honors for success. He may have been headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame had his career not been derailed by injuries as at 27 years old after making five Pro Bowls in his first six NFL seasons.

Others we considered:

Rick Bryan, Falcons, 1984-93

The seventh-overall pick from Oklahoma spent his entire career with the Falcons. He started 93 games in Atlanta and finished his career with 29 sacks.

Tyson Clabo, Falcons, 2005-12

An undrafted free agent from Wake Forest, Clabo caught on with the Falcons and started 101 games in Atlanta. He made the Pro Bowl in 2010.

Joe Suk, Macon Whoopee, 1996-2001

Only Todd MacIsaac played more games for the Whoopee than Suk, who ranks in the top three in franchise history in assists and points and fourth in goals.

Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech, 2009-12

Uzzi made consecutive All-ACC teams as a junior and senior and earned third-team All-America honors from CBS Sports as a senior.

Mike Wilson, Georgia, 1974-76

“Moonpie” helped lead the Bulldogs to three consecutive bowl games and the 1976 SEC championship. He was an AP All-American in 1976 and later an inductee into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.

No. 78 Mike Kenn, Falcons, 1978-94

Bio: A first-round pick out of Michigan in 1978, Kenn played his entire 17-year career on the offensive line for the Falcons. He played in more games than any other Falcon, starting all 251 games he appeared in. Only Jeff Van Note played more seasons with the franchise. Kenn made five consecutive Pro Bowls beginning in 1980 – only Claude Humphrey played in more Pro Bowls as a Falcon. Kenn earned All-Pro honors twice, and he landed on the second team three other times.

Why we picked him: Kenn is one of only eight Falcons in franchise history in the team’s Ring of Honor. He and Jeff Van Note are the two most recognizable offensive linemen in the history of the franchise.

Others we considered:

Kent Hill, Georgia Tech, 1975-78

Hill was an honorable mention All-American as a senior in helping the Yellow Jackets to the Peach Bowl. The Americus native peaked as a pro, making five Pro Bowls as an offensive tackle with the Los Angeles Rams.

Jon Stinchcomb, Georgia, 1999-2002

The captain of the 2002 SEC and Sugar Bowl champions earned All-America honors in 2002 from Playboy and Walter Camp.

No. 79 Bill Fralic, Falcons, 1986-93

Bio: Fralic was a two-time All-America at Pittsburgh and quickly became one of the top guards in the NFL. He made four straight Pro Bowls from 1986-89 and landed on All-Pro teams in 1986 and 1987. Claude Humphrey, Mike Kenn and Deion Sanders are the only other two-time All-Pro picks in franchise history. Only Kenn and Humphrey have made more consecutive Pro Bowls than Fralic. He was selected to the 1980s NFL All-Decade second-team by Hall of Fame voters. Fralic started 125 games in his eight years with the Falcons.

Why we picked him: Fralic’s Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors make him worthy of inclusion at almost any number. Matt Stinchcomb, however, is a very deserving choice as well, but Fralic’s two All-Pro selections and four Pro Bowls outweigh Stinchcomb’s All-American selection.

Others we considered:

Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech, 2006-10

The agile center earned All-ACC honors as a junior and won the inaugural Burlsworth Trophy – given to the most outstanding college football player who began his career as a walk-on – as a senior in 2010.

Tom A. Nash, Georgia, 1925-27

Nash earned All-America honors in 1927 before playing on three NFL championship teams with the Green Bay Packers. He was elected to the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1972.

Matt Stinchcomb, Georgia, 1995-98

Stinchcomb is the toughest omission thus far in the Numbers Game II. He was a rare two-time All-American, earning consensus honors in 1998. He was a finalist for the Lombardi Award in 1998 and later a first-round draft pick of the Raiders.

Wilbur Strozier, Georgia, 1983-86

Strozier played three different positions (tight end, defensive tackle and offensive tackle) in Athens. He was a Football News All-American in 1986.

Jim Wilson, Georgia, 1962-64

“Big Jim” Wilson earned All-America honors from four different services (including the AP) in 1964. He was a fourth-round draft pick by the 49ers and later earned induction into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.

Jeff Yeates, Falcons, 1977-84

Yeates started 83 games for the Falcons from 1978-83.

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