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 OT Matt Gono—a former UDFA who nearly won the starting RT job last season and appears to be the heavy favorite to take over swing tackle in 2020.
T Matt Gono
Contract: $752K cap hit in 2020, RFA in 2021
Career Production: 5 games played | 57.3 overall PFF grade | 0 penalties, 0 sacks allowed
2019 Production: Same as above
Previous Teams: UDFA signed by the Atlanta Falcons (2018-present)
Measurables: 6’4, 316 | 34 3/8” arm length, 9 7/8” hand size | 5.21 40-yard dash, 1.74 10-yard split | 7.76 3-cone | 118” broad jump, 27” vertical jump | 26 bench reps
The Falcons have had a pretty solid track record of finding quality OTs in the ranks of the undrafted. Ryan Schraeder began his career as a UDFA in 2013 and wound up starting 73 games for Atlanta from 2014-2018, many of those at a high level. The latest diamond-in-the-rough for the Falcons is Matt Gono, a UDFA added in 2018. Gono played his college football at Division III Wesley College, where he was a dominant force in the trenches and didn’t allow a single sack during his senior season in 2017.
Gono—who has good size and above-average athleticism for the position—immediately made an impression upon the coaching staff during training camp in 2018, earning a roster spot on the offensive line. Considering he was coming from a D3 program, that’s pretty incredible. While he didn’t play in any games during the season, the team clearly valued Gono highly enough to avoid risking him on the practice squad. Fast forward to 2019, and Gono was once again a force in training camp. After rookie first-rounder Kaleb McGary had to sit out the majority of camp with a heart issue, it appeared as if Gono would win the starting RT job after an impressive preseason.
Unfortunately, Gono suffered an injury just before the season that sidelined him for Week 1. Ty Sambrailo wound up starting—poorly—and the Falcons handed the starting job back to Kaleb McGary when he returned healthy. However, Gono remained on the roster and appeared in 5 games—playing some snaps as a reserve guard, where he looked like an average starter. Heading into 2020, Atlanta has shown considerable trust in Gono once again by moving on from Ty Sambrailo and bringing in very little competition at OT.
Projection: Matt Gono appears to have the swing tackle job all but locked up heading into the 2020 season, with very little serious competition on the roster. His versatility to play both tackle and guard adds to his value, as does his considerably low price tag this season and next.