Atlanta Falcons Training Camp Battles: Right Tackle

Kevin C. Cox

A contentious battle at right tackle between a veteran and a second-year tackle.

We move one spot to the right on the offensive line for today's battle, which pits a pair of young right tackles against one another for a starting gig.

This is one of the best training camp battles, in my humble opinion, because it pits two promising young players against each other. It helps that right tackle is also an important, if underappreciated position, one where the Falcons had enviable stability for years between Tyson Clabo and Todd Weiner.

As I see it, this comes down to two players. Let's take a look at the race.

Lamar Holmes

Bio: 24 years old, second year Falcon, did not start last year

Tyson Clabo has some big cleats to fill. Fortunately, Lamar Holmes has enormous feet.

Holmes was a surprise third round pick a year ago, but the second year tackle would seem to be the early favorite outside. The size, the physical tools and the work ethic you'd want from your starting right tackle are all there in spades with Holmes. He was just a little raw and not a great run blocker coming out of college.

With a year under his belt and a huge opportunity, the hope is that Holmes is ready to step up big and seize the job. He'll need to show he's honed his footwork, that he can stay healthy and that he's up to the task of keeping Matt Ryan safe and opening up holes for Steven Jackson. I'm willing to bet he can do it.

Mike Johnson

Bio: 26 years old, fourth year Falcon, started one game a year ago

This is Holmes' chief competition. He's an interesting case.

While Hawley got to soak up some real starts in years past, Johnson has been limited by injury, lack of opportunity and having at least slightly more talented players right in front of him.

This is probably his best shot. Johnson was a mauler in college but came into the league as a right guard. At 6'6" and 304 pounds, he's plenty big enough to hold down the right side of the line, and his ability as a run blocker is not in question. Pass protection is.

Basically, you have two players who will fight for this position, each one with a reputation for pass or run blocking and no solid track record of the other. We're about to find out how accurate that is.

The Expected Winner

Lamar Holmes


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