The 2020 NFL Draft is over. The Atlanta Falcons drafted 6 players but in all, they’ve added 26 rookies to the roster when you combine undrafted free agents. Their goal is to make the Falcons practice squad or better yet, make the Falcons’ final 53-man roster. Under head coach Dan Quinn, UDFAs like Brian Poole, Olamide Zaccheaus and Sharrod Neasman have all beaten the odds against them by making their way onto the Falcons roster.
Recently, I’ve been focused on providing an opportunity to Falcons’ fans to get to know some of these young talents. Last week, I spoke with fullback Mikey Daniel, which you can read here. This week, I had the privilege to speak with newly signed offensive tackle Evin Ksiezarczyk out of the University of Buffalo.
The 6’6, 310 lb Ksiezarczyk was an All-MAC Second Team selection as a Junior and was a All-MAC First Team selection the following year as a Senior at Buffalo. In 2019, the Bulls’ offensive line allowed an all-time program-low of only 8 sacks. This offseason, Ksiezarczyk participated in the East-West Shrine Bowl in which Falcons’ tight end coach Ben Steele served as a head coach in.
I asked Evin Ksiezarczyk some questions about his time at Buffalo, his offseason and ultimately signing with the Falcons.
How would you overall describe your time at the University of Buffalo?
My time in Buffalo was really great. Overall it was really amazing having a hand in turning the program around into being competitive so that they are consistently competing for championships. I grew a lot during my time there, and every year I felt like I took major strides in improving my game. It’s a credit to the whole staff there and coach Leipold. They do a great job in trying to make us better everyday and also the program better, so that it’s a better experience for the players as well.
With everything going on right now with COVID-19, how has it impacted your offseason and preparing for your NFL career?
When it comes to COVID-19, it has affected myself a little but not much. I’m still able to get my work in, which is important — it’s just not as ideal but that doesn’t matter because if you really want something you’ll find a way. The biggest thing for myself though is just not being able to get in an actual weight room and be with coaches and have all the equipment I need to do the exercises, but there’s other ways I’ve adapted to still be able to do similar movements. Also, it’s tough not being able to actually be down in Atlanta for rookie mini-camp and the rest of the offseason. This time right now is crucial for being able to learn as much as possible before camp, but I think with what is planned as long as I do what I have to do I will come down there very prepared to hit the ground running.
Did you receive any other offers? What made you decide on signing with the Falcons?
I did have other offers, but the biggest thing for me was just the opportunity. I think in Atlanta, that’s the best situation for myself to be able to make the roster and help the team any way possible.
Have you discussed what your role would be with the Falcons’ staff?
When it comes to my role, I’ll be coming in as a tackle but I want to be able to compete and show that I can play both tackle and guard so that I can be put in at any position and help out.
How familiar were you with the Falcons franchise prior to signing?
My familiarity with the franchise was not much. I know maybe the basic things that every football fan knows but other than that, not much more.
Is there any certain players you model your game after?
I wouldn’t say I model my game after other players. I’d usually watch film on several different players in the NFL and just watch what they were good at and try to work on those techniques.
What do you want Falcons fans to know about you as a person?
I’d want the fans to know I’m going to come down there and just work everyday to compete to make the roster and help make the team better in some way. Also, that I’m just a laid-back guy. I’d consider myself to be someone who never thinks they’re too good for anybody, I’m very humble. With that being said, I’ve never been to Atlanta before so I’d love to get recommendations on what to go see or things to do around the city whenever I have a little free time.
Now that you’re a Falcon, how do you prepare for the upcoming season? Virtually working out?
And now that I’m a Falcon, I plan on taking it one step at a time and to learn the playbook as much as possible. It starts with learning as much as I can during the virtual meetings with coaches, and that means studying and working on techniques everyday to come down there and be in the best position I can be to succeed.
The video above is of Buffalo vs. Northern Illinois in 2018. Ksiezarczyk is in at left tackle wearing No. 67 — he’s a big guy. You’ll notice he uses his strength well and controls opponents once he gets his hands on them. Last season, Ksiezarczyk went up against Carolina Panthers’ rookie defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos who at the time played for Penn State. Aside from a half-sack, Ksiezarczyk did well against the Panthers’ second-round pick who had 2.5 sacks the week before against Idaho and 3.5 sacks later in the season against Ohio State.
Including the newly added Falcons, the current roster has 6 total offensive tackles. With Ksiezarczyk’s willingness to play at guard if needed, that’ll be a welcomed position flexibility for a team that has struggled at left guard. A well-known offensive tackle named Ryan Schraeder was undrafted in 2013 and went on to have a successful career in Atlanta — is Ksiezarczyk next?
Be sure to give Evin Ksiezarczyk a follow on Twitter, as he stated, he’s new to the Atlanta area and will need some recommendations on getting the full Atlanta experience.