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Falcons roster review: Center belongs to Alex Mack

I mean, of course it does. The Falcons just ponied up big money for one of the league's best centers.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons went out and signed Alex Mack, one of the best centers in football, and massively upgraded the position. That's more or less the story at this position, but that would be a very short article, so we'll take a longer look at the position.

The only intrigue at the position involves just how well Mack will play, and who the Falcons ultimately keep as his direct backup. The only two other players listed as centers on the current roster are 2014 UDFA James Stone and 2016 UDFA Jake Reed out of Indiana, but I'm willing to bet one of them will stick, especially since the team seems to predictably have little interest in bringing Mike Person back to center in any capacity.

Starter: Alex Mack

The Falcons went out and gave Mack a gargantuan deal because they clearly felt that merely decent blocking combined with a handful of truly back-breaking snaps was not the way forward at the position, and Mack is such a massive upgrade over what the Falcons have had since Todd McClure left.

While his run blocking has never been the best in the NFL, Mack's ability to call protections and effectively pass block are crucial, and he's a reliable snapper, as you'd expect. The long-term concern here is that injuries or advancing age may rob him of some of his powers, but on a line with two stalwart tackles, he should be very good in 2016, at least, and having him at the pivot helps mitigate a middling guard situation, as well. He's the single biggest upgrade Atlanta added, and I look forward to seeing him in action.

Backup: James Stone

He's a good athlete who doesn't always move his feet like one, and there was at least one cringe-worthy snap off his own nuts that made everyone briefly very angry with Stone. He's no lock to keep the backup job, but Stone has a year in Kyle Shanahan's system under his belt, is one of the few players on the roster with any meaningful center experience who is not named Mike Person, and at 24 years old may still have some upside. He's the presumed direct backup to Mack.

Potential backup: Jake Reed

Solid measurables for a center and solid production at Indiana, so I'm not willing to dismiss Reed out of hand, here. He's just competing against a player with more experience, as fresh UDFAs often are, and doesn't look to me to have any particularly standout attributes that would lead me to believe he can steal the backup gig away. Now that I've said that, though, he has a fighting chance.

I think center's going to be a genuine strength for the Falcons in 2016, but that all depends on Mack. If he's healthy, he'll be one of the league's better centers again, and the entire offense will benefit from that.