Julio Jones, WR (25): Jones has as much raw ability as any receiver -- and maybe any player at any position -- in the entire league. Durability and drops are a bit of a concern, but his talent more than makes up for it -- and he is still learning the nuances of playing the position.
Desmond Trufant, CB (24): A true bright spot on the Falcons' defense, Trufant should now be considered a Pro Bowl-caliber corner, if not one of the very best players at the position in the NFL. Trufant not only had an outstanding season as a coverage player but also was a major force against the run.
Jake Matthews, OT (22): Matthews appeared to be an extremely safe draft prospect, and despite his major struggles as a rookie, I still see him as a long-term, high-end starting left tackle in the NFL. He should be a foundation player for Atlanta.
Devonta Freeman, RB (22): Freeman isn't the biggest back, but he has skills in the passing game and runs with great aggression. He might never be a true featured back (Ahmad Bradshaw is a good comp), but expect Freeman's touches to increase significantly in 2015.
Paul Worrilow, LB (24): Worrilow isn't the biggest or fastest linebacker, but he has racked up a lot of tackles in his two NFL seasons and is always around the football. He should be a solid piece of Atlanta's defense for the foreseeable future.
ESPN says seven teams with equal or worse records than the Falcons last season have more young talent: the Rams (ranked No. 3), Saints (15), Jaguars (22) , Giants (25), Titans (26), Raiders (27) and Jets (28).
There also isn't much regard for Atlanta's roster as a whole. Pro Football Focus analyzed the teams that played in conference championship games from 2007 through 2013 and determined that, on average, it evaluated 40 percent of the qualifying players (at least 250 snaps) on those rosters as "good" or "elite." According to Pro Football Focus, the Falcons currently are 10 good/elite players short of the 13 required to reach the talent threshold of recent Super Bowl contenders.