The Atlanta Falcons’ 2012 draft addressed their most pressing need from a year ago: the offensive line. Matt Ryan was constantly under duress last season due to inadequate protection. Injuries took a toll on the Falcons’ depth at the position, leading to 26 sacks and 84 quarterback hits.
“We accept that as a challenge,” veteran C Todd McClure said to Orlando Ledbetter. “We know that Matt had too many hits on him last year.” With that in mind, the Falcons spent their top two picks on RG Peter Konz out of Wisconsin and LT Lamar Holmes out of Southern Mississippi.
Top pick: RG Peter Konz (second round, No. 55 overall)
Konz has impressed the coaches with both his versatility and his short-yardage blocking ability. Konz is expected to take over at C once 14-year veteran Todd McClure retires but for now, he’s pushing RG Garrett Reynolds for starting duties. As of last Thursday, the Falcons second preseason game, Konz was still working with the second team line.
No. 2 pick: LT Lamar Holmes (third round, No. 91 overall)
Holmes was drafted as insurance at the tackle position, where starter Sam Baker played six games last season before sustaining a back injury. Holmes is listed as both the third-string LT and RT behind Will Svitek and Michael Johnson, respectively. Holmes didn’t dress for last Thursday’s game vs. Cincinnati.
No. 3 pick: FB Bradie Ewing (fifth round, No. 157 overall)
The fullback from Wisconsin’s season was cut short when he tore his ACL against the Ravens in Atlanta’s first preseason game. He was expected to compete against Mike Cox for the starting fullback duties.
No. 4 pick: DE Jonathan Massaquoi (fifth round, No. 164 overall)
The Falcons’ second fifth round pick, Massaquoi, is a hybrid defensive end, linebacker combination. In his first preseason game vs. the Ravens, Massaquoi had a team-high six tackles, including two tackles for loss. Against the Bengals on Thursday night, he recorded just two tackles.
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