The Atlanta Falcons continue to fortify their offensive line. They made a deal with the Los Angeles Rams to acquire a second, first round pick. They used that pick on offensive tackle Kaleb Mcgary.
The 2019 NFL Draft class supposedly contains the deepest crop of defensive linemen in years. Instead of picking from that surplus, the Atlanta Falcons chose to concentrate on solidifying their offensive line. After taking Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom with Pick number 14, the Atlanta Falcons traded back into the end of the first round to select Washington tackle Kaleb Mcgary. Atlanta sent their second and third round picks to the Rams, for pick number 31 in round one and a sixth round pick to compete the transaction.
Kaleb Mcgary played his NCAA football at the University of Washington. The 6’7 317 pound offensive tackle is a right tackle by trade. After red-shirting as a true freshman, he started half of his team’s games at right tackle the following season. Mcgary started every game for the Huskies for the final three years of his NCAA career. He was rewarded for his play by being named to the All Pac 10 First Team, as both a junior and senior. He was awarded The Morris Trophy, an award given to the offensive lineman that the players vote as the best.
Pro Football Focus ranked Kaleb Mcgary as their tenth best offensive tackle in the 2019 draft class, but he was the fourth tackle taken in round one. PFF awarded Kaleb Mcgary with an overall grade of 78.8. He was solid as a pass blocker earning a career high grade of 80.6. As run blocker he was decent, grading 75.6. Kaleb Mcgary’s run blocking success rate of 90.8 percent, ranked number 54 in the nation. He pass blocking efficiency rate of 98.0 was number 32 among his peers.
Kaleb Mcgary is a physical player. He is known for having a nasty streak and irritates his opponents by playing to the echo of the whistle. Mcgary posses great lower body strength that helps him be a good drive blocker and hold up well against the bull rush. He also is decent as an open field blocker. He delivers a forceful blow to stun defenders at the snap.
The main drawback with Kaleb Mcgary is he does not possess quick feet. This has caused him to sometimes struggle against speed rushers. He does not have elite length. That combined with his height, could present leverage issues. Mcgary needs to improve his lateral quickness. He also needs to add strength, as evidenced by his 23 reps at the combine bench press event. Kaleb gets off-balance at times and will reach. The nine penalties he was called for last season is a cause for concern. Mcgary was diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia in his youth, but was cleared to play in high school and college. He did not miss a game in college for the heart issue or any other reason.
NFL.com Draft analyst Lance Zierlein compares Kaleb Mcgary to former New York Jets guard Matt Slauson in his scouting report. Matt Miller, NFL Draft expert for Bleacher Report, gave Mcgary a much more favorable comparison, liking him to Andrus Peat of the rival New Orleans Saints in this scouting report. He gave Mcgary a second round grade and offered this summary of his talents:
"At times, McGary was overshadowed by teammate Trey Adams before 2018, but he busted out into the spotlight on his own as a senior. McGary is a prototypical right tackle outside of his shorter arm length, which could mean a move inside to guard. At either position, he has the look of an early NFL starter."
As surprising as it is that the Atlanta Falcons took two offensive linemen in round one, I understand that they are trying to protect their 150 million dollar quarterback and strengthen a group that has not been a top unit in many years. I just hope that Atlanta has gotten the right guys to fill the positions. It is amazing how much NFL executive’s draft boards can differ from those of draft analysts. Particularly with the fact that many of the network experts are former NFL executives themselves. It was a surprise to many that Atlanta did not select LSU cornerback Greedy Williams after trading back up into round 1. The team currently has just four established cornerbacks. Read the Atl All Day scouting report on Greedy by clicking here.
While I don’t mind the pick of Mcgary, I did not like giving away a third round pick to move up and get him. While I can’t say for sure he would have made it to pick number 14 in round two, it’s a risk Atlanta should have taken. They could have used the third round pick that they traded away, to fill a pressing need at edge rusher, cornerback or defensive tackle. As it stands now, Atlanta will sit out day two of the 2019 NFL Draft. Instead they will hunt for diamonds in the rough, holding two picks in each of rounds 4-6 and one final selection in round seven. It also a little unsettling that the Alabama Falcons are now projected to start two rookies on the offensive line. Some rookie linemen have thrived, where as others have struggled. For the Atlanta Falcons offense to rise back to top ten status, the former and lot the latter, must be the case for Atlanta’s two new rookie offensive linemen.
Grade B –
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