With free agency looming (next Wednesday, if you can believe it), and the Atlanta Falcons trying to better their roster on a tight cap, it’s time to wonder who might be possible.
Well, we have our first indication of a free agent the team could zero in on, and it’s not necessarily a name you might’ve been expecting.
As the Falcons look to add bodies along the offensive line, keep an eye on Kevin Pamphile (6-5, 315). The offensive tackle started 31 games in Dirk Koetter’s system in Tampa, and there are whispers about the Falcons being interested in reuniting him with Koetter in Atlanta. Pamphile is set to become a free agent after spending last season in Tennessee with former Falcons QB coach Matt LaFleur. Pamphile had just two starts with Titans and went on IR due to an undisclosed injury. Ryan Schraeder’s status remains in limbo, and coaches and executives around the league view Ty Sambrailo as a backup, at best.
Pamphile has guard and tackle experience, and just recently filled in for the Titans in a starting role. Per the Tampa Bay Times, he started 29 of 32 games in 2016 and 2017 for the Buccaneers at guard before leaving for Nashville. He played all but one game on the left side for Tampa Bay in ‘17.
This might be an early indication the team is going to try to add a competent, cap-friendly veteran guard or tackle to its offensive line. Truth be told, this could be the team’s idea of what to do at left guard right now. Andy Levitre’s status remains in flux, and the team might not want to revert to Wes Schweitzer for that job right now.
If it’s tackle, the team just extended Sambrailo and has Schraeder’s contract firmly on the books, so it’d be a baffling investment unless a Schraeder release is imminent.
Per our sister site Bucs Nation, new Falcons OC and former Bucs coach Dirk Koetter had this to say about Pamphile in 2016:
“When we did the player evaluations at the end of five games, Kevin [Pamphile] had the highest overall grade, a five game average in the offensive line,” the Bucs head coach said. “So, what I like about his play is - what we like about his play - is he’s getting consistent movement in the run game and he’s doing a solid job in the passing game, but movement at the point of attack is what gets your run game started and Kevin’s doing a really good job of that.”
Though, it looks like Pamphile and Evan Smith did some rotating at the spot in 2017, and that there may have been inconsistency at play.
If we’re going to be honest with you, the Falcons’ plan on offensive line feels like a big old shrug right now. We’re a bit perplexed as to what exactly is going on, though Koetter may feel that Pamphile can come in and compete for one of Atlanta’s guard spots or win the starting right tackle role over Sambrailo and Schraeder.
If he’s depth, he’s sound depth. If he’s going to be the penciled-in starter at left guard, there’s promise and risk attached. If he’s a potential right tackle, buddy, I’ve got nothin’ for ya.
With Sambrailo the assumed starter at right tackle, Schraeder still on the roster, Brandon Fusco’s health and roster status a gigantic question mark, Ben Garland confirmed to leave, Schweitzer’s status in the air, news of Pamphile and the Falcons checking in on top-rated offensive lineman at the combine, there seems to be no firm commitment to anything in particular at the guard spots and at right tackle.
We’ll see if this happens, and what the ramifications could be, here very soon. It’s hard to prognosticate too much on the Falcons’ 2019 offseason. Every time we come to a conclusion, the Falcons seem to have other plans.