PFF ranks Falcons offensive line in elite territory

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One of the most miraculous turnarounds in franchise history is the Falcons offensive line’s transformation from 2021 to 2022.

In Matt Ryan‘s final year, Atlanta was as porous as any unit in the league. Ryan was beat to hell throughout the 2021 campaign, in what was one of the most depressing moments of his illustrious career. He consistently made plays despite never having the time of day to make a throw.

It featured Jalen Mayfield, whose rookie season is regarded among the worst in league history. There was also a center rotation that never made much sense. Fast forward to 202 with a couple of personnel changes, and it became one of the best units in football.

Drew Dalman replaced Matt Hennessy full-time, and Mayfield never saw the field. Despite the left guard position being a revolving door all season due to injuries, anything was better than Mayfield in 2021.

Heading into 2023 with four of five starters returning has the Falcons’ offense primed to be one of the most productive in football. It’s well regarded around the league, ranking as the seventh-best unit, according to PFF.


Projected Starting Lineup

LT Jake Matthews
LG Matthew Bergeron – Rookie
Drew Dalman
RG Chris Lindstrom
RT Kaleb McGary

  • Atlanta’s offensive line benefits hugely from the most run-heavy offense in football, but since that’s not going anywhere, they belong at the sharp end of the rankings.
  • Rookie Matthew Bergeron has the chance to upgrade the biggest problem spot on the line last season. None of the three players who played significant snaps at left guard had a PFF grade above 75.2.
Best Player: Chris Lindstrom
  • Guard Chris Lindstrom was the best-graded run blocker in the NFL this season at any position. He allowed just nine pressures and finished with a 93.1 PFF run-blocking grade.

Lindstrom isn’t only the best player on Atlanta’s offensive front but also in the conversation for the best lineman in football. He’s the highest-paid guard in the league and is only ascending.

Jake Matthews is criminally underrated and consistently one of the best tackles in the league. What’s most impressive about the stalwart left tackle is his improvements in the run game, where he has always struggled.

Drew Dalman didn’t wow me in pass sets, but his strengths lie in the run game, which is a focus of the Falcons. Hopefully, he can take another step after his first full season as a starter. Elite center play can dramatically elevate an offensive line.

Kaleb McGary struggles in pass protection but is a mauler in the run game, forming one of the most menacing duos with Lindstrom.

The big question surrounds the left guard position. Will it be Matthew Bergeron or Matt Hennessy that secures the starting job? Obviously, the Falcons would like the second-round pick to separate himself, but it’s been Hennessy to get first-team reps in OTAs. As always with this regime, the rookie will have to earn his playing time; it won’t be given.

Either way, the Falcons are primed to have one of the best offensive lines in football again.

Photographer: John Byrum/Icon Sportswire


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