#2 Matt Ryan 6’4” 221 9th Year, Boston College.
Nobody and I mean nobody throws a prettier pass than Matt Ryan. From the quickness of setup to the natural ball carriage during his drop to the way his feet work in unison with his eyes, Ryan is purely text book in all things fundamental to playing the position at the NFL level. Not to mention he is tough as nails. Ryan consistently displays a rhythmic feel to his game and is one of the better anticipatory throwers in the league. Ryan also falls a close second behind Tom Brady in terms of his Pre-Snap Decision Making prowess.
For all the good with Ryan comes some bad. Matt has a tendency to lock on to his primary read and at times becomes frazzled when he has to take an extra beat in the pocket and work to his secondary options. Ryan sees the field very well and throws with excellent touch to all levels of the field but all too often in 2015 he made costly errors in the RedArea that signify a frenetic at times feel to his game which came in spades albeit in the worst possible moments.
Ryan should continue to grow in the Kyle Shanahan led attack in 2016 and has become the vocal and inspirational leader for the entire Falcon team entering his 9th year as a pro. If Ryan can gel with new WR Mohamed Sanu and continue to refine his game in year two of the system, the Atlanta Falcons could make a Super Bowl Run.
NFL veteran Matt Schaub was brought in to add depth at the position and will compete with 3rd year pro Sean Renfree for the backup job with Chris Simms joining the battle as a dark horse candidate. Simms will have to make the most of his opportunity during PreSeason to potentially beat out Schaub.
#8 Matt Schaub 6’5” 240 13th Year, Virginia.
Schaub is entering his 13th year in the league and from 20072013 was an every week starter and fringe Pro Bowl player for Houston. Those glory years seem very distant now for Schaub as he has presently found himself fighting to sustain a backup role the past two years. The 2016 version of Schaub is a limited one. Matt did however have an opportunity in 2015 to start two games for Baltimore and he can still make NFL throws down the field when he is presented with a clean pocket. The 2015 tape showed a QB who can still throw with elite level touch but one who possesses an elongated throwing motion and who showed inconsistent decision making. Schaub can still make NFL level throws but inconsistency is lowering his overall appeal. If Matt Ryan were to go down, Schaub would get the first crack at the job but he would certainly be on a short leash if he were to underwhelm.
#13 Sean Renfree 6’3” 220 4th Year, Duke.
Atlanta selected Renfree in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL draft and this young signal caller has been working hard to show he belongs in the NFL. Renfree has looked good to very good during exhibition action essentially forcing the Falcons hand in making him their developmental prospect. He outplayed both Rex Grossman and T.J Yates during the 2015 PreSeason and excelled with short game accuracy and decision making. Renfree has shown decent athleticism for the position and boasts a quick release. Do not be surprised if Renfree makes the backup job his at some point in 2016.
#4 Matt Simms 6’3” 214 4th Year Tennessee.
Simms spent 2015 on the practice squad. He has thrown a total of 39 regular season passes as an NFL QB yet is intriguing enough to garner a long look during exhibition play. Although relatively inexperienced he has been afforded a handful of opportunities to showcase his skills during the preseason. Simms has a strong arm and can make stick throws but when we turn on the tape we see a QB who is athletic but lacks NFL pocket presence, which contributes to some short and intermediate game accuracy issues. Simms clearly has the arm strength needed to make NFL throws but he is not a refined enough passer in terms of timing and touch which will
limit his ceiling and could ultimately derail his chances of making the 53 man roster. He will definately be on the roster bubble but could once again end up on the practice squad.