Just yesterday, I listed Daniel Brunskill as a tackle who might be competing for the team’s swing tackle role. It seemed logical to do so—he is listed by tackles on the team’s website, after all—but I’m having some second thoughts after additional research. I also think I overlooked Robert Leff, the Auburn offensive lineman.
Why? At this point I find Pro Football Focus’s grading system to be hit or miss, but they do spend the time scrutinizing some prospects that are off the average draftnik’s radar, and have some very nice things to say about Leff (their #3 guard) and Brunskill (#11 tackle) and their pro prospects. This writeup on Brunskill is particularly interesting, as it makes it clear that while he’s got to put on significant weight at the NFL level, PFF believes he was a run-blocking force in college. He’s also a plus athlete, which makes him a potential fit at guard for Atlanta.
Leff, meanwhile, is just a remarkably solid offensive lineman who doesn’t particularly excel at anything, but being a solid guard will get you jobs at the NFL level. It seems fair to think that at least one of these guys will ultimately land on the practice squad to marinate for a bit—guard has plenty of bodies already for 2017, at least—and that the team’s next crop of starters and reserves could all be sharing the field at Flowery Branch this summer, between Wes Schweitzer, Sean Harlow, Ben Garland, and the new guys.
If these players do indeed fit better at guard, then the Falcons are even thinner at tackle than we would have initially guessed, which means Andreas Knappe has an even better shot at making the team than I first thought. It also could mean the team has their hands on some talented, young guard depth, something that is always welcome as the team tries to build cheap, effective backups along the line.