For the last couple of years, Jose Valdez has been a training camp darling.
The Falcons have been notoriously poor at compiling offensive tackle depth in recent years. Will Svitek was a pleasant surprise this last season, but Valdez was basically it for tackle prospects in the system with any upside. This is a guy who began his career as a guard, too.
With quality size and decent footwork, Valdez looked like a possible reserve, if not an eventual starter. We tend to inflate our young players to match up with our dreams, and I'm as guilty as anybody of projecting. Because Valdez was big and the team was grooming him as a tackle, it seemed like a lock
Unfortunately, the Falcons are saying goodbye to one of the few pieces of depth they had at tackle. If Garrett Reynolds moves back to OT and Sam Baker is retained, the Falcons could make a go of it, though it's hardly ideal. I always hate to lose players the Falcons have been grooming, but it's telling that Valdez never made an impact during his time in Atlanta. The Vikings will probably find better use for Valdez as a guard, frankly.
Ultimately, it's probably no great loss. What do you think?