We’re in the depths of the offseason here at The Falcoholic, and there has been little to nothing in the way of interesting news in ages. So, we’ll have to make some content of our own in the meantime. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be bringing you a new Player Profile series where we’ll take a look at each of the players on Atlanta’s roster. I’ll break down their measurables, past production, and try to project their 2020 season with the Falcons.
After taking a look at the projected starters, we now turn our attention to the depth on the Falcons’ roster. Today, I’ll be discussing C/G Matt Hennessy—a third-round rookie who is slated to be the primary backup at center and the heir apparent to Alex Mack.
C/G Matt Hennessy
Age: 22 (23 during 2020 season)
Contract: $862K cap hit in 2020, rookie contract through 2023 ($1.17M APY)
Career Production: 35 games played | 79.0 overall PFF grade (College)
2019 Production: 12 games played | 86.5 overall PFF grade (College)
Previous Teams: Drafted in the 3rd round (#78 overall) by the Atlanta Falcons (2020)
The Falcons have been searching for a quality reserve center—and an eventual heir to Alex Mack—for a long time, but may have finally found the right player in Temple’s Matt Hennessy. Atlanta was linked to Hennessy throughout the draft process, with interest going all the way back to the Senior Bowl and continuing after his strong Combine performance. After turning on Hennessy’s tape and hearing his coaches rave about him, it’s easy to see why the Falcons fell in love.
For starters, Hennessy impressed early on in his college career. He was one of two freshmen to make the two-deep depth chart (he was the backup center) and wound up starting at left guard as a fill-in for injury. In his second year, he earned the starting job at center and started all but one game (due to injury). In 2018, he earned a coveted single-digit number at Temple—the single-digits are awarded to the toughest players on the team—and once again started every game at center, putting up an impressive season that saw him allow no sacks and only two pressures.
In 2019, he continued his run of dominant play at center, posting the highest PFF grade of his career and one of the highest at the center position in college football: 86.5. Hennessy has always been an elite technician and high-end athlete, but showed off improved anchor ability and strength at the Senior Bowl. He was one of only two OL who could consistently block first-round DT Javon Kinlaw one-on-one in practice.
Projection: Matt Hennessy is slated to be the primary backup at center and looks to be the future at the position when Alex Mack departs—either in 2020 or later. Hennessy will also be given an opportunity to compete for the starting LG job, but will have a difficult time beating out Jamon Brown and/or James Carpenter due to the truncated offseason.