Anyone with two functioning eyes and higher brain functions could tell you that the Atlanta Falcons put an awful offensive line on the field in 2013. Pro Football Focus just confirms that for us, ranking the Falcons as the 31st overall line in the NFL.
It's a brutal, brutal statement, putting these Falcons just one spot above the always embarrassing Arizona Cardinals offensive line. It's also well-deserved. The Falcons allowed more quarterback pressures than any other line in football, were distinctly below average in run blocking much of the year and got their best performance from Justin Blalock, whose +6.8 grade from PFF was worse than 7th round Seattle Seahawks rookie Michael Bowie (+7.1). Just a terrible year all the way around.
The good news is that you don't have to make sweeping changes to get something resembling competency out of this unit. A healthy Baker—I know, I know, it's a punchline—upgrades left tackle significantly. Blalock is fine at left guard. Lamar Holmes looks to be league average at right tackle. Upgrading at center and especially right guard through free agency and the draft would probably drag this unit up into PFF's low 20s or high teens, and that would go a very long way.
The bad news is that turning this into an elite unit is going to take much more time. Baker and Blalock are known quantities who don't approach great, and there isn't a single lineman on the roster today who screams upper echelon. The Falcons should absolutely take concrete steps to drag the unit back up to respectability, but you can't work magic in a single season.
Your thoughts on this ranking?