With Michael Vick as quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons in 2005, the team was looking to add a big impact wide receiver to let him stretch the field. They decided that Roddy White might have been the guy they were looking for and used the 27th overall pick in the draft to select White out of UAB. White didn't have the immediate impact on the Atlanta offense, but as he has grown and matured, he has become one of the best receivers in the league. How has his career fared through his first seven seasons and what can Atlanta fans look forward to in 2012?
White played four seasons at University of Alabama-Birmingham, but didn't have a major impact on the team until he was a senior. In his fourth season, he made 71 catches for a NCAA-best 1,452 yards. He had 208 yards less as a senior than he did in his first three seasons combined; making it easy for the Falcons to select him to be the playmaker they were in desperate need of.
In his first two seasons as a professional, White played well, but was still only able to start 13-of-32 games. He made 59 catches in his first two seasons, but had a breakout campaign in 2007, making 83 catches for 1,202 yards. In his first season with Matt Ryan at quarterback, White exploded for 88 catches for 1,382 yards and seven touchdowns.
He had the best season of his short career in 2010 when he made 115 catches for 1,389 yards and 10 scores. He led the league in receptions that season and followed it up with a 100 catch performance last season. The biggest downfall early in his career and even last season has been his issue with dropped passes. He will never be mentioned with the names like Calvin Johnson, Greg Jennings, Victor Cruz or Mike Wallace until he learns to concentrate more and limit his drops.
If White and Ryan stay healthy and each play all 16 games this season, the duo should easily be able to connect for more than 100 passes together. The two men have a great chemistry together and the fact that this offense is stacked at every position should make it easy for both men to reach new heights this season.
For a look at season recaps for the Atlanta Falcons, go here for easier access.
More from this contributor:
Hobson Lopes is a fan of the Atlanta Falcons, thanks to Deion Sanders and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.