The Atlanta front office, Thomas Dimitroff in particular, absolutely butchered the bolstering of the offensive line. Instead of using a model based on production, he decided to add as many bodies as he could. Through the draft and free agency, he acquired four new offensive linemen last year. Kaleb McGary and Chris Lindstrom via the first round of the NFL draft and Jamon Brown and James Carpenter were obtained via free agency.
Both free agents are not starting-caliber guards in the NFL. If the Falcons were to cut their losses on one, it would be Carpenter due to his lower cap hit. Chris Lindstrom is viewed, around the league, as a starting-caliber guard as his floor, with the ceiling being somewhere around an all-pro honor. The jury is still out on McGary, and though he showed promise early in the season, his sample size is too small to form a fair evaluation of the selection.
This leaves the Falcons missing a starting guard, assuming the pair of second-year first-round picks are healthy. There will be those who claim that Brown is a formidable starter, and to those people, I say ask Matt Ryan. Brown should — at most — be a backup, which leaves the Falcons once again dipping into the draft to find offensive line talent. I will highlight prospects that could potentially fill this hole. These prospects range from 2nd/3rd-5th round grades.
Logan Stenberg, G, Kansas
My offensive line draft crush is Logan Stenberg. At Kansas, he was a bulldozer in the run game. Last year, he was crucial to Benny Snell breaking multiple rushing records. It was no different during the Senior Bowl. Stenberg shined in one on ones, moving opponents with ease. His pass protection is limited and will be exposed against speed rushes and other finesse techniques, but he could potentially be a day two steal for a team.
Ben Bredeson, G, Michigan
Bredeson has started in Ann Arbor since he was a freshman and been a mainstay ever since. He is a sort of jack of all trades, master of none, consistent in both run and pass blocking, assisting in Shea Patterson’s best protection as a Wolverine. Bredeson was solid at the point of attack last year and sustains those blocks well. He possesses some quickness and flexibility in his knees, bending in pass protection.
Calvin Throckmorton, G/OT, Oregon
Like Ben Bredeson, Calvin Throckmorton has been a pillar on the Oregon offensive line since starting as a redshirt freshman. He has accumulated almost 40 consecutive starts at a variety of positions. Throckmorton played snaps at center, guard, and tackle this past season, proving his flexibility. This could potentially be a need for the Falcons, as they must soon address the aging Alex Mack. Though he played tackle in college more than guard, the consensus on Throckmorton is that he will be kicked inside.
Ben Bartch, G, St. Johns
Being completely honest, I had never even heard of Bartch before the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile. While there, he showed precisely why the bowl game exists in the first place. The purpose of allowing smaller-school players to play in the NFL. Bartch’s skillset transfers will transfer well to the next level. Proving just that, as he held his own against NFL caliber players in Mobile. Competing with quick, strong, and athletic defensive lineman was all scouts had to see. Bartch could potentially fall into a backup role, but I believe he can start eventually and maybe even immediately depending on some minor technique flaws.