After QB Matt Ryan was sacked a career-high 26 times last season, the Falcons made the offensive line their focus in the draft. They plan to hold an open competition for starting spots up front and the club is hoping new O-line coach Pat Hill can get more out of a unit that struggled in 2011.
Ryan gave his blockers a vote of confidence in a recent interview with PFW.
“We have had continuity on our offensive line, but you have to understand that in this league it doesn’t last forever,” Ryan said. “I think competition will be a good thing. I like the guys we have up front. They play hard. They play physical. I think Pat Hill will do a great job. He’s got a lot of energy and I think our guys feed off of that. I’m looking forward to it.
“Whoever we have up front, I know the character of those guys and I know the heart that they play with and I’ll take those guys any day of the week.”
Atlanta’s only veteran free-agent addition on the O-line this offseason was OG Vince Manuwai, who was out of the league last season. The club spent its first two draft picks on O-linemen, selecting OG-C Peter Konz in the second round and OT Lamar Holmes in the third.
Follow Dan Parr on Twitter