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Falcons 2015 roster review: guards

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If you can put on a helmet and have a good pair of cleats, you have an outside shot being a starting guard for the Atlanta Falcons.

Could this converted defensive tackle be Atlanta's starting guard?
Could this converted defensive tackle be Atlanta's starting guard?
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Falcons have one guard spot solidified, but did little to replace long-term starting guard Justin Blalock. Generally, it is believed to be easier to plug in zone blocking offensive linemen, and the new coaching staff is going to push that belief to the limits with the left guard position.

Who is on the roster?

Jon Asamoah

Asamoah appears to be far and away Dimitroff's second best free agent signing ever, after only Michael Turner. Atlanta's free agency is what nightmares are made out of. Asamoah was impressive in 2014, and finally solidified Atlanta's struggling right guard position. He is only 26, has good size, is well-balanced, and plays near a Pro Bowl level. Asamoah is the only clear starter at guard and should face zero competition in camp.

Mike Person

As mentioned yesterday, newly signed Person is running with the starting offensive line. The team clearly likes him, as he was signed at the very start of free agency to a multi-year deal. But the player that many assumed would provide quality depth may be the team's week one starter. Person is the only interior lineman picked by the new coaching staff, and is likely a good schematic fit. However, it is difficult to get a great read on him thanks to his zero NFL starts. He must have made a great impression on Dan Quinn while in Seattle. . . before he got cut.

Person's biggest competition remains unclear.

Harland Gunn

Gunn has seen playing time the last two seasons thanks to unending injuries across the offensive line, and has appeared to be serviceable depth. While some think Peter Konz would be a better fit for a zone blocking scheme, you do not hear that about Gunn. There should be little surprise Gunn is not running with the starters. He has shown slow feet, tends to struggle in space, and has the athleticism you would expect from an undrafted guard. He lacks nearly everything you would want to look for in a zone blocking scheme.

If Gunn wins the starting guard spot, I will eat my hat. He may keep his roster spot thanks to a complete lack of depth at the position.

Adam Replogle

I am required by one of my alumni associations to talk up former Hoosier football players. Luckily for me there are so few of them that it never comes up. Every year we talk about Replogle as a player who could potentially make the final roster, but has always ended up on the practice squad. He is a project, making the move from defensive tackle to offensive guard. At Indiana, Replogle showed questionable athleticism but has the mobility and feet to be a potential dark horse for a backup guard spot. The staff clearly likes Replogle enough to keep bringing him back, and this looks to be his best chance to get on the active roster. He will need to continue to develop, but seems to be a much better scheme fit than Gunn.

Eric Lefeld

A college tackle, the undrafted free agent fills out the bottom of Atlanta's depth chart. Under his Atlanta Falcons official roster summary, the team simply says: "No data." Scouting reports all suggest he could have success in a zone blocking scheme, but needs to improve his strength and technique if he wants to cut down on his sacks allowed. He may be a better fit at guard, but seems extremely unlikely to make an impact in 2015, or make the roster.

Oh man, there are no more guards left

The Atlanta Falcons official roster only list these five guards. After the draft, Thomas Dimitroff said the team was targeting some guards in the 2nd round that were selected prior to their selection. Instead of reaching on another guard, the team seemed fine either with their current options or finding a quality starter in free agency or via trade.

They have since signed Tyler Polumbus, who has previously played guard but is listed as a tackle. The team kicked the  tires on Joe Barksdale, who could have also been plugged in at guard, but ultimately passed.

Ultimately, I would expect Person to battle with any number of different position players for the left guard spot: Sam Baker, James Stone, Peter Konz, Lamar Holmes, and Polumbus. The team will likely try to get their five best offensive linemen on the field, and hope that throwing 10 players at the guard position will find them one decent starter.

Depending on how that works out, do not be surprised if they grab a veteran player that gets cut at the end of preseason.