The Falcons return four of five starters along the offensive line from Week 1 of the 2022 campaign. The new regime has made it a priority to have consistency along the front.
They signed Jake Matthews to an extension last year and made Chirs Lindstrom the highest-paid guard in football this year while also re-signing Kaleb McGary via free agency. Drew Dalman was a fourth-round pick from the 2021 NFL Draft and has several more years on his rookie deal.
It was one of the best groups in football last year and is primed to be one of the best in 2023, but there’s one position vacant — left guard. It’s been a revolving door since the new regime took over and was last year.
Well, the Falcons have a couple of intriguing options. They traded up and selected Mattew Bergeron in the second round of April’s draft. Despite playing exclusively tackle at Syracuse, the Falcons plan to move him inside to guard, obviously thinking his skill set translates.
Then, there’s Matt Hennessy, who has actually been taking first-team reps throughout OTAs. The Temple product is a holdover from the former regime’s draft classes, but he started at center in 2021 and performed admirably in 2022 as a fill-in at left guard.
Ideally, the Falcons would like Bergeron to take a stranglehold of the position battle, but as we’ve seen before, it’s not going to be given to him. Former second-rounders Richie Grant, Troy Andersen, and Arnold Ebiketie played sparingly during their rookie campaigns.
There is no telling who is going to come out of training camp as the starter, but the Falcons better hope this experiment works better than the last. Jalen Mayfield has already flamed out as a guard and moved back to his college position; it would be quite embarrassing to fail twice.
Photographer: John Byrum/Icon Sportswire