Neither I nor seemingly the Atlanta Falcons employees is aware of what this offensive line will appear like come week one of many 2021 season. Nonetheless, there are a variety of intriguing choices on the roster and dozens of various combos the staff can play with to seek out what offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford is in search of, one of the best 5 gamers.
In a tweet from D. Orlando Ledbetter, Atlanta Falcons proper guard Chris Lindstrom mentioned he could be completely satisfied and keen to change to left guard if the teaching employees requested it of him.
This very minor remark in the midst of a minicamp interview is kind of probably insignificant however, it might add a bit twist to what many had been anticipating from this group
.When the Atlanta Falcons drafted Jaylen Mayfield within the 2021 NFL draft the speedy expectation was that he would compete for the left guard spot, which he has been seen doing throughout rookie minicamps and the primary spherical of OTAs.
Nonetheless, at this early stage, there’s loads of time for this employees to proceed to maneuver gamers round and discover the proper mixture.
The left guard place is the obvious gap on this line, and doubtlessly on your complete roster. Mayfield will likely be anticipated to compete with veterans Josh Andrews, Matt Gono, and whichever heart doesn’t win the beginning job between Matt Hennessy and rookie Drew Dalman also needs to be within the combine.
There are points with all of these choices. Josh Andrews is a profession journeyman and whereas he has the flexibility to play all three inside spots and supplies good depth, he’s by no means been greater than a median starter.
Gono is primarily a sort out, and whereas he has taken some reps at guard he’s nonetheless inexperienced and struggled on the place. Hennessy struggled at guard in restricted reps as a rookie, although he did face stiff competitors, and needs to be anticipated to win the beginning job at heart.
Dalman and Mayfield are each rookies and could be going by means of a place change proper out the gate. Beginning your first NFL recreation not solely at a brand new place but additionally with zero professional expertise might spell catastrophe.
Shifting Chris Lindstrom to the left could possibly be the reply for the Atlanta Falcons
Stick with me right here of us, Lindstrom is one of the best inside lineman on this roster, doubtlessly one of the best lineman interval with Jake Mathews as the one competitors.
Lindstrom possesses the skillset and the professionalism to entrench himself able change and whereas altering sides is way from straightforward if anybody had been to have the ability to deal with such a transfer on quick discover I’d put my cash on Lindstrom to get it performed.
Effectively, then who begins at proper guard for the Atlanta Falcons?
“There’s quite a bit to love about his uncooked energy and tenacity as a blocker so there’s hope if he embraces a progress mindset and learns new methods whereas forgetting unhealthy habits. A transfer inside to protect could also be his finest probability to stay.” – Joe Marino
“He would profit from a transfer inside to protect the place his energy and skill to generate motion as a run blocker would outweigh his points with lateral quickness.” – Lance Zierline
With the discuss shifting Mayfield from Deal with to protect quotes like this needs to be anticipated, besides these aren’t about Mayfield, as a substitute, they’re pre-draft profiles for Atlanta Falcons proper Deal with Kaleb McGary.
McGary has proven enchancment on the proper sort out spot early in his younger profession however nonetheless receives criticism for each his bodily limitations, “quick arms” and his athletic profile. Various analysts and content material creators have speculated that McGary’s ultimate touchdown spot could also be on the within.
Every thing strikes quicker on the within and McGary would have quite a bit to be taught for the transfer however heading into the third 12 months he at the least has expertise on the NFL stage. His ceiling without any consideration sort out might by no means be greater than a strong league-average starter, at guard he could possibly be higher if in a position to embrace the transition.
That leaves the proper guard place open, enter Jaylen Mayfield and Matt Gono. Gono stuffed in for an injured McGary for the Atlanta Falcons in 2020 and has seemed serviceable in restricted motion all through his time with the staff. He ought to have a chance to compete for a beginning position on this line.
Mayfield performed at proper sort out at Michigan and his finest match as a rookie for the Atlanta Falcons could be within the place he’s aware of. Whereas it’s his school place, he nonetheless solely has 15 video games underneath his belt.
With such restricted enjoying expertise anticipating him to step in a play instantly is a tall activity, to start with, add in switching sides and shifting to the within and the transition feels excessive.
If the Atlanta Falcons wish to trot out one of the best 5 gamers on this offensive line, making some positional modifications could also be one of the best ways to do it. It’s not as straightforward as merely lining up otherwise and as retired line Geoff Schwartz factors out, changing positions is hard in the NFL and does not always work out for the best.
With all that being mentioned, shifting Lindstrom to the left, McGary to the inside however the identical facet, and letting the proper guard be somebody pure on the place could possibly be the most suitable choice.
It’s early within the low season and we are going to see a ton of various alignments and groupings alongside the offensive line.
With the Julio Jones commerce, there’s cash potentially add to this position group, additional muddying the waters.
Whereas there could be a variety of shifting items within the above choice an offensive line of Jake Mathews, Chris Lindstrom, Matt Hennessy, Kaleb McGary, Jaylen Mayfield could possess the dimensions, ability, and athleticism wanted for Arthur Smith and the Atlanta Falcons to achieve success in 2020.