We move to the lines, those massive men who keep the offense humming and get very little of the recognition for doing so. Salute!
Tackle is the first position to...er, tackle...along the line. On paper, at least, it goes from being a massive liability featuring Lamar Holmes and Jeremy Trueblood to potentially a mild strength, which is mighty encouraging. We'll have to see if the "on paper" thing holds up once Sam Baker and Jake Matthews get on the field, but I'm bullish.
There's obviously not much in the way of stat lines here, so I'm just going to project the two tackle positions along with backups.
Projected 2014 Tackle Depth Chart
LT: Sam Baker
RT: Jake Matthews
The first two choices are obvious, but you'll have questions. Baker is being announced as the incumbent left tackle and barring injury, I think that's the route the Falcons will go. Matthews will have absolutely no trouble winning a job at right tackle if he's healthy, so you can go ahead and write these ones in very heavy pencil.
Holmes, of course, just started several games a season ago, still has the physical tools to be at least a useful backup and still has a cheap, affordable contract. His draft status, those glimmers of quality play and the size you can't teach will make him a project for Mike Tice to tinker with in the year ahead.
Carimi is, supposedly, fully healthy. He has a history with Tice, the positional versatility to be a guard and tackle in the Falcons' offense and an affordable one-year deal.
Ryan Schraeder is an obvious contender here, and the Falcons have said multiple times they like him. I have a hard time leaving him off the roster, but them's the breaks. Mike Johnson, in my eyes, has an uphill battle to beat out Holmes and Carimi. Terren Jones is ticketed for the practice squad or a release, in all likelihood.
Your projections, friends?