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Making sure they avoided any hint of a holdout, the Atlanta Falcons locked up what they hope is their future franchise quarterback. Boston College product and #3 overall NFL Draft selection, Matt Ryan, agreed to a six-year, $72 million contract. He will get $34.75 million of that guaranteed in a bonus. The Falcons certainly seemed eager to sign Ryan, who will battle Joey Harrington and Chris Redman for the starting QB position, as they continue to move past the Mike Vick scandal.
Matt Ryan had a great career at BC under two coaches, Tom O’Brien and Jeff Jagodzinski, who had vastly different coaching styles, and more importantly, different offensive philosophies. O’Brien preferred to control the line of scrimmage and run the ball, while Jagodzinski executes a more wide-open offense. Ryan showed no problems adjusting to the change as he had a fine season, leading BC undefeated deep into the season and to the ACC Championship game, while topping midseason Heisman Trophy lists.
While at BC, Ryan had a subpar recieving corps and suffered many drops, though he showed that he has an accurate arm and can place the ball where he wants it. While he showed an ability to thread the needle, that same skill leads to his biggest deficiency, which is sometimes forcing the ball. Aside from that, and an inability to beat you with his legs, he has a very well-rounded game. He has an above-average arm, can make all the throws, is a student of the game, and is remarkably tough.
Having earned his degree early, Matt was able to reduce his class load in the just completed season and spent extra time studying film and game planning. He eschewed the combine workouts, opting instead for interviews, which, based on comments from executives, showed his football intellect, poise, and maturity. As for his toughness, he played part of the 2007 season with a broken foot and was nearly decapitated in a 2006 game at Clemson and missed only a single down. Once he takes the starting job, which I expect to be no more than a month into the season, his backup better get used to carrying the clipboard.