False. I don’t think the Falcons will go into next season with Wes Schweitzer starting at guard, but I also don’t think that they turn to the draft to immediately replace him. They may even select a guard in the draft, but that doesn’t mean that they’re likely to go into the new season with a rookie starting on the interior of the offensive line either. That leaves free agency, which is where I think Atlanta will look to sure up the interior of the O-Line. The guard position will probably be the most closely looked at position for the Falcons in free agency, and they should end up signing a veteran to start before the end of spring.
Somewhat False. Dan Quinn & Co. will enter the draft seeking to fortify the trenches immediately—it will just be on the opposite side of the ball. With Dontari Poe’s contract situation up in the air and a pending need for a long-term playmaker adjacent Grady Jarrett, my gut tells me that the Falcons spend their draft capital on a first-round defensive tackle. I ultimately think they come away from the draft with another guard, but I’m not convinced it relegates Wes Schweitzer to the bench immediately. Atlanta caught a glimpse of what it has in Schweitzer at the NFL level last season, and Sean Harlow is still a relative unknown. I think you’ll see another body brought in via the draft and a three-way camp battle on the horizon.
False. The Falcons have been defensive-minded since Dan Quinn arrived, and figure to once again draw from the pool of defensive talent early in this draft. Dontari Poe may slip away with the team tight on the cap, leaving an immediate need at DT. Andy Levitre is the true question mark here -- his contract is in flux as the cap number raises this season, and the team could opt to cut him and replace him with their 26th pick or a free agent. Schweitzer was most definintely the weakest link on the offensive line this season, but he showed enough to make you think he will get better. The team has moneyballed the right guard position since Harvey Dahl left town. That doesn’t figure to change now.
False. The problem with the guard position is Atlanta has a lot of young players not quite worth starting. A rookie guard will likely have some of the same problems adjusting to the speed of the game, but probably with some better physical traits than Schweitzer and Sean Harlow. I’ve got to think the team adds a guard for multiple reasons, but free agency seems like the better place for an offensive lineman.
True. I want to say false, because I’m not sure that the team will actually draft a guard specifically to replace Schweitzer. I do believe they will draft a guard, either in the first round or on Day 2, and that player will have every chance to compete with Schweitzer during camp. Andy Levitre is getting older and Schweitzer had just a so-so inaugural campaign--the team would be wise to continue investing resources to shore up one of the few weak points on the roster.
Trualse. I do believe the Falcons will walk away from the draft with a rookie guard but where that particular guard is drafted will tell me the team’s intentions going forward. If the Falcons select a guard early (rounds 1 or 2) in the draft, I will get a sense that may be the next starter at right guard. Selecting one in the mid-round and the Falcons may be setting the table for a 2- or 3-man training camp battle where the best man wins.