In my opinion, this was one of the most important hires of the offseason. I think Arthur Smith nailed it.
The #Falcons are expected to hire Louisville OC Dwayne Ledford as their offensive line coach, sources tell me and @RapSheet. Ledford, a former NFL center, got into coaching in 2005 at North Carolina … where Arthur Smith was a senior on the o-line.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 22, 2021
SOURCE: The #Falcons are set to hire @Louisville OC/OL coach Dwayne Ledford to become their new offensive line coach. Ledford has a great rep among coaches he's worked with everywhere he's been for developing talent. NFL Network first reported the move.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 22, 2021
Great hire! The man responsible for the development of Mekhi Becton. Congrats @Coach_Ledford. https://t.co/YktEggpK4d
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) January 22, 2021
Before this, Ledford was a finalist for Marshall’s head coaching position. From his bio on GoCards.com:
Considered one of the top offensive line tacticians in the country, Dwayne Ledford was named the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at the University of Louisville on Dec. 18, 2018.
Ledford joins the Louisville staff after three seasons as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator at NC State, where he helped construct the Wolfpack’s offensive lines into one of the best units in the ACC. Senior Garrett Bradbury was a consensus All-American earned Associated Press All-America honors and won the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s top center. Bradbury and left tackle Tyler Jones both made the All-ACC team this season. It was the first time since 1974 the Pack had two from the offensive linemen on the first-team.
The Wolfpack had a 1,000-yard rusher in each season of Ledford’s tenure. NC State went from 2002 to 2015 without a 1,000-yard rusher, which was the longest drought in the country.
In three seasons directing the offensive line, the Wolfpack saw their sack total decrease, ranking among the top 20 in the country. NC State ranked third nationally this season in sacks allowed, giving up just 0.75 per game, while they finished tied for fifth in 2017 and 20th in 2016. State also saw its sacks allowed dramatically reduced under Ledford. The Wolfpack allowed 39 sacks in 2015 and then 17, 13 and nine in the subsequent seasons.
Chris Lindstrom has been fantastic, and Jake Matthews is solid — but the rest of the offensive line is a massive question mark. James Carpenter will likely be cut. Matt Hennessy did not have much of a rookie offseason, and he was whipped at guard and center all offseason. Kaleb McGary had a good start to 2020, but was awful down the stretch.
The Falcons are at their best when they can run the ball and protect Matt Ryan. Hopefully, Ledford helps the Falcons get back to more of that.
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