If you're going to have a capable passing offense in the NFL, you're best served by having a good set of tackles on your offensive line. Yet, it's a position that teams struggle to fill every year. Fortunately, the Falcons have two good - arguably very good - tackles anchoring their line in Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder.
After an injury-marred rookie season where Matthews failed to live up to expectations, the 2014 first round pick bounced back nicely in 2015. The wide-zone blocking scheme fit his athleticism well, as he proved to be a very capable run blocker in space. He also showed great technique in pass blocking, though he was still often susceptible to bull rushes. Jake showed considerable growth between years one and two and if the trend continues, he will be manning the left tackle position for years to come. Given the number of first round busts at left tackle in recent years, the Falcons did well by getting Matthews. He still has room for growth, but all signs are pointing upwards.
The un-drafted free agent out of Valdosta State has consistently gotten better every year he's been in the league. Schraeder had his best season yet in 2015, ranking as one of PFF's top-10 offensive tackles on the year. He's a feisty competitor who plays well in pass protection and the running game. The Falcons currently only have him under a restricted free agent tender for 2015, but don't be surprised if the team looks to lock him up for the long-term. At just 28 years old, he's just now hitting his prime.
The 5 year veteran out of Fresno State has gotten opportunities with the Falcons and Saints and proven that he's a useful rotational backup at best. If you're counting on Harris to start for an extended period of time, you're going to have a bad time. Let's hope Matthews and Schraeder stay healthy.
A former 6th round pick of the Washington Redskins, Compton proved to be exactly what you'd expect out of a sixth rounder. At 27 years old, we pretty much know what Compton is at this point: a backup on his best day, a fringe roster player on others. Like Harris, if we see him on the field for too long, we'll all be raging alcoholics.
The Falcons are one of the few NFL teams fortunate enough to have good, young starters at both offensive tackle positions. So long as Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder can stay healthy, they can be a solid book-end pairing for this offensive line for the next several years.