The next NFC franchise building blocks

Sam Baker could hasten Atlanta's arrival at the elite level

Originally Published: June 11, 2009
By Bill Barnwell | Football Outsiders

In the NFL, the ascension of a player to household-name status is often sudden and unexpected. Take 2008, for example. If we'd told you that Matt Cassel, DeAngelo Williams and Darnell Dockett would emerge as essential building blocks for their teams, you would have laughed us out of the room. Then again, had we told you Miami and Atlanta would make the playoffs, you might have called for a psych consult.

Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) is a staff writer for Grantland.