The Falcons added a ton of offensive line help in the 2019 NFL Draft, with two first-round picks bolstering the group. G Chris Lindstrom and RT Kaleb McGary will be the presumptive starters heading into training camp, giving Atlanta arguably the strongest starting five that they’ve had during Matt Ryan’s entire career. Depth at guard and tackle is also strong, with players like Ty Sambrailo and James Carpenter providing valuable veteran insurance.
A point of concern remains, however, at center. Alex Mack has been an awesome addition (arguably the best of Dimitroff’s tenure) who has been quite durable, but the Falcons have virtually nothing behind him. If Mack misses any time, who steps in? Atlanta has only a few options at this point, but let’s take a closer look.
The first of only two players that the Falcons added this offseason with actual experience at center, Adam Gettis has had a very unremarkable NFL career thus far. He’s managed to stick around the league this long after being drafted in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, which is deserving of praise, but Gettis only has one career start to his name and hasn’t seen NFL game snaps since 2016. Athletically, Gettis is clearly a fit for the Falcons. But as a journeyman who has failed to make a mark anywhere thus far in his career, he’d be an uninspiring option if he was forced to step in for Alex Mack.
The far more intriguing option, in my opinion, is UDFA addition Chandler Miller from Tulsa. Miller started a school-record 50 consecutive games, showcasing his durability, and was named to the 2018 Rimington Trohpy Watch List for the nation’s best center. While he’s a little on the small side for the NFL at 6’3, 297, Miller will have fewer issues at that size playing center. Miller is young and proven at center, which nobody else on the roster can claim at this point. I’d expect him to get every chance to earn a roster spot as Mack’s primary backup.
A cross-trained guard
Atlanta has a bevy of guards on the roster, so it might make sense for them to try and cross-train one (or more) at center. It was rumored that Sean Harlow had gotten snaps at center in previous training camps, and the Falcons mentioned that they believed rookie Chris Lindstrom could play center in a pinch. It’s worth wondering if James Carpenter—who I believe will wind up as the team’s primary interior backup—has any experience there, as that would make him even more valuable as a reserve. Still, trusting a cross-trained player with little real experience at a new position is a risky proposition at best.
A free agent addition or trade
Perhaps the most likely option if Gettis or Miller fail to impress, the Falcons could look to add another veteran option to serve as depth behind Alex Mack. This could come via free agency or via trade, but there are usually a number of interesting names that become available towards the end of training camp. Some interesting names that are still out there in free agency today: John Sullivan, Stefen Wisniewski, and Travis Swanson.
What do you think, Falcons fans? Who will be the Falcons’ backup center when the 2019 season starts?
Who will be the Falcons’ backup center in 2019?
This poll is closed
A cross-trained guard (Lindstrom, Carpenter, Harlow, etc.)
A free agent addition or trade