We are well into July, and quickly approaching the start of training camp. In April, the Atlanta Falcons added 26 rookies to the roster, including six via the 2020 NFL Draft. In recent weeks, I’ve spoken with undrafted rookies such as fullback Mikey Daniel, offensive tackle Evin Ksiezarczyk, linebacker Jordan Williams, defensive end Austin Edwards, defensive tackle Sailosi Latu and defensive tackle Hinwa Allieu to allow fans to get to know them better.
Today, we’ll be getting to know center Matt Hennessy from the Temple University. Hennessy was selected in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft with the 78th overall pick. He’s listed at 6’3, 307 lbs and brings good size and flexibility to the Falcons offensive line where he can play both center and guard. Hennessy started 12 games at center for the Owls as a redshirt junior and was named First team All-AAC, and 3rd team All-American and was named a finalist for the Rimington Trophy, which is awarded to the best center in college football. Hennessy also participated in the 2020 Senior Bowl.
I was able to speak with Hennessy and ask him some questions about his background and being drafted by the Falcons.
Did you see yourself being selected by the Falcons? How was your draft experience?
Pre-draft, I thought the Falcons were definitely a possibility, but it was hard to gauge the likelihood of it. I had a chance to meet with the Falcons formally at the combine and left so excited about the idea of ending up there. The draft experience was incredible but nerve-racking and felt especially unpredictable due to the lack of pre-draft visits and workouts.
Have you discussed with the Falcons’ coaching staff what your role will be in Atlanta?
My role will be along the interior offensive line, with an emphasis on position flexibility.
Although only virtual, have you gotten to know any of your new teammates?
I’ve gotten to know the other offensive linemen pretty well throughout the virtual program and couldn’t be more grateful to be a part of the group.
What has your virtual team workouts/training been like?
The virtual program was awesome and I feel like I made progress throughout. While we missed out on the actual practice reps, it felt like we got as close as possible to simulating that in different ways.
Are there any NFL players you model your game after?
Throughout college, I watched a good amount of Alex Mack’s film. So being able to watch it with him throughout the virtual program was awesome.
Hennessy, in the video above wearing No. 58, will likely play both guard and center in Atlanta, the former this year and the latter going forward. He brings excellent pass protection ability and athletic traits, which is sure to benefit the Falcons’ pass-heavy offense. Additionally, he has football in his DNA, as his older brother, Thomas Hennessy, is the longsnapper for the New York Jets.
For the last four seasons, All-Pro Alex Mack has manned the center position in Atlanta. Even though he’s been one of the best centers in the league in recent years, Mack is currently 34 and will turn 35 towards the end of the 2020 season. The selection of Hennessy shows that the Falcons staff, although likely in win-now mode, also has their eyes on the future, specifically at the center position.