The Atlanta Falcons relied on solid blocking, Matt Ryan’s MVP season, and Dan Quinn’s man satchel full of fairy dust to fuel what was arguably the NFL’s best offense in 2016. If we want Dave to stay sober for the foreseeable future, the Falcons need to field a similarly capable offensive line in 2017. That’s a task they should be able to complete, but there’s a small wrinkle. That is, they need to figure out who will play right guard.
Chris Chester has been the starter; he’s, in a word, “reliable.” But Chester confirmed to ESPN’s Vaughn McClure what we already knew earlier today: he is officially retiring. That means the Falcons are (officially) in the market for a new right guard. The options are endless!
Quinn expressed confidence in returning players Ben Garland and Wes Schweitzer, although neither has started a game in the NFL ... Schweitzer, a sixth-round draft pick last season, was inactive for every game during his rookie year. The Falcons also added former Indianapolis Colts starting guard Hugh Thornton during free agency one a one-year contract. The Falcons are doing work on draft prospects, including top guard Forrest Lamp out of Western Kentucky. They hold the 31st overall pick and could target either an offensive lineman or pass-rusher.
I don’t really care how they address the need. I’m confident a capable option is either already on the roster or within the Falcons’ reach with the 31st pick in next month’s draft.
Meanwhile, Carter Bykowski, an offensive tackle the Falcons signed right after the Super Bowl, also made the decision to retire today.