Falcons rookie Drew Dalman showing value in versatility

dho19090750294 stan at usc

There are multiple position battles along the offensive line that Falcons fans are following, and as we progress through the preseason, things will become much clearer at left guard and right tackle. Beginning the offseason, most Falcons writers believed the positions up for grabs would be left guard and center. The offseason acquisitions seemed to address those specific holes as Terry Fontenot drafted Jalen Mayfield and Drew Dalman, signed Josh Andrews in free agency, and brought Matt Gono back after extending a second-round tender.

As we know, things change. Matt Hennessy is firmly in position to win the starting center position, and now our attention has shifted to right tackle while left guard is still concerning. Journeyman Willie Beavers, who has played on more teams than he has years in the league, will have the first crack at right tackle against the Titans this Friday while Kaleb McGary works back from an unexplained absence, though I do believe he will eventually win the starting job.

Jalen Mayfield is still listed as a tackle, so I have absolutely no idea where he will end up playing. He was drafted to inevitably kick inside to guard, but with the injuries to McGary and Gono, the staff adjusted. However, even though players are returning from their absences, Mayfield seems to be still getting reps at tackle. So his outlook is much more cloudy than the rest of the offensive line.

At left guard, Josh Andrews would be the starter if the season began today. He’s competing with Drew Dalman, who was originally drafted to compete at center. This is where things get interesting. Dalman has been cross-training at guard and center, certainly competing for a starting spot, but the long-term outlook is what we are focusing on. The former fourth-round pick will not only be able to provide depth at two interior positions, but in a future without Andrews, Dalman could find the field as early as next season. Hennessy will be with the team until 2023, so Dalman’s fastest way to play in the regular season could be as a guard opposite of Chris Lindstrom.

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