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Thursday, July 18, 2013
NFC South Top 25: No. 2

By Pat Yasinskas

We continue my NFC South Top 25 with No. 2:

Matt Ryan, quarterback, Falcons

What he did in 2012: Ryan completed 422 of 616 passes (68.8 percent) for 4,719 yards, 32 touchdowns and 14 interceptions while leading the Falcons to the NFC Championship Game.

Why he’s No. 2 in 2013: Ryan is coming off the best season of his career, and it’s not hard to picture him taking another step forward. He’s surrounded by top-notch talent in Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez, and the arrival of Steven Jackson should give the Falcons a solid running game, something they lacked last season. Ryan also should benefit from the fact that this will be his second season in coordinator Dirk Koetter’s offense. I believe there’s a good chance this will be the year that Ryan firmly puts himself on the same level as Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. These rankings are based mostly on what I think players will do in 2013, but the past also figures in a little bit. That’s why I can’t quite bring myself to put Ryan ahead of Brees. Ryan doesn’t have a Super Bowl title. Brees does, and that speaks volumes.

For previous entries in the NFC South top 25, click here.