The Austin Pasztor signing was big news in a lot of ways. Pasztor was a player we mentioned way back in March as an option for starting guard or backup tackle, and while it took months for Atlanta to actually get around to signing him, he’s joining the team with an obvious path to a swing tackle gig.
What does it mean for the rest of the roster, though?
The Falcons, simply. It’s possible that Andreas Knappe or Daniel Brunskill or even D.J. Tialavea would emerge as a valuable swing tackle if they were given the time, but the Falcons haven’t liked what they’ve seen thus far enough to keep pursuing that possibility. The team gets a veteran option with starting experience and a decent skill set, which means if an injury to Jake Matthews or Ryan Schraeder does strike, they’re not completely up a fecal creek without a paddle.
Pasztor struggled a lot as a starter in 2016 with the Browns, so I don’t want you to think it’d be anything less than a significant dropoff if we had to go down that road. It’s still probably better than the options the Falcons had, and the Falcons certainly will feel more comfortable with a known quantity. I just hope they don’t lose out on a good player or two in the process.
Oh, and Pasztor wins because he goes from an unemployed tackle to an important reserve on a Super Bowl-caliber team. Former Browns seem to do well here, right?
The other options, of course. Knappe and Brunskill were the early favorites, because Knappe has the size and power to be intriguing, and Brunskill has the technical ability to be very interesting. Now those two guys are competing for, at best, one spot, and it’s probably on the practice squad. If Brunskill can make his case for a spot at guard, maybe that calculus changes, but it’s an obvious blow to both players, as well as Kevin Graf, Tialavea, and Will Freeman, all of whom were in the mix in one way or another.
We’ll see how this whole thing shakes out, but it would be a shock if Pasztor wasn’t the swing tackle come Week 1. For a team with genuine Super Bowl aspirations, the safer option is probably the best one.