The Atlanta Falcons first-round draft pick(s) addressed an area of need for the Falcons. The offensive line. The Falcons brought in a guard, Chris Lindstrom, at the 14th pick and a tackle, Kaleb McGary, with the 31st pick, a pick.
The Atlanta Falcons traded their 2nd and 3rd round picks to the Rams in exchange for another first rounder. The Falcons added quality players to positions that were in dire need of help. The Falcons are a better team today than the team that was there yesterday.
The offseason started with the Falcons bringing in two offensive guards, Jamon Brown and James Carpenter, to solidify the offensive line that plagued the Falcons so much last season. It was assumed by Falcons fans that these two would be the starting offensive guards for the upcoming season. With the drafting of Chris Lindstrom, all of that is now up in the air.
Chris Lindstrom, a Boston College senior, was the Falcons first choice of the night. Last season, for BC, Lindstrom started all 12 games at right guard, earning third-team All-American and first-team All-ACC honors for his work. Lindstrom has been described as one of the most athletic linemen in all of the draft. He’s been projected to become a starter as a guard/center in a zone blocking scheme, just like the one the Falcons run. This is a perfect fit for Dan Quinn and Falcons.
Kaleb McGary, a Washington senior, was the player the Falcons traded back into the first round to take. McGary played right tackle for his entire career while at Washington. It’s been said McGary could be moved to a guard spot if his lack of athleticism proves to be a problem. McGary’s strengths come from his ability to generate movement in run blocking, an area the Falcons can use all the help they can get. Last night, Dan Quinn stated he intends to player McGary at right tackle.
Drafting two offensive linemen in the first round means they will most likely be playing as soon as they show up to Flowery Branch. It was initially thought Jamon Brown and James Carpenter were signed to start at guard. After last night, it seems Brown and Carpenter will be competing for those starting spots we assumed would be theirs. That would mean McGary, the right tackle in college would slide over to one of the guard spots. Brandon Fusco, a player who was signed last offseason to come to start at guard, would be off the team when June cuts come around.
Whoever the starters on the offensive line are doesn’t matter. It matters that this team got better with last night’s choices. Thomas Dimitroff, who, in the past, has been wary of drafting offensive lineman in the first round, decided to take a chance on improving this line right now and finding two players who can potentially start for the Falcons for the next 5-8 years. Protecting Matt Ryan, the Falcons biggest investment, and Julio Jones, also a big investment should be priority number one for Dimitroff and Dan Quinn.
Drafting these two players gets the Falcons what they need when it comes to the offense. It came at a steep price to move back up but there is no cost too high when it comes to protecting your team’s most important investments.