Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Offensive line

122815 ATLANTA: Falcons tackle Jake Matthews takes the field to play the Panthers in a football game on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

122815 ATLANTA: Falcons tackle Jake Matthews takes the field to play the Panthers in a football game on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons offensive line coach Chris Morgan believes the unit can be much improved after a strong 2015 season.

Morgan, who was assisted by Keith Carter, made the rushing attack more potent after ranking 24th in the NFL while averaging 93.6 yards per game in 2014. The Falcons averaged 100.4 yards per game and were ranked 19th in the league.

The offensive line, which gave up 32 sacks and 89 quarterback hits, paved the way for running back Devonta Freeman to rush for 1,056 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns.

The likely starting line heading into to training camp will feature left tackle Jake Matthews, left guard Andy Levitre, center Alex Mack, right guard Mike Person or Chris Chester and right tackle Ryan Schraeder.

The Falcons drafted Wes Schweizter, a developmental interior player, in the sixth round (195th overall).

They re-signed veteran tackle Bryce Harris and added Tom Compton in free agency.

Morgan was pleased with the offseason work.

“They worked really hard to develop their style of play,” Morgan said. “The standard that those guys created and set. It’s fun. They have a clear vision of what they want to be.”

Mack was signed in free agency to a five-year, $47.5 million contract. He’s expected to add some moxie to the line.

“Alex brings a lot of experience,” Morgan said. “He’s played a lot of ball. He brings toughness. He’s a really smart and vocal guy.”

Levitre has to eliminate his penalties. He led the team with 11 penalties that led to eight stalled drives.

Levitre had five holding penalties, four false starts, one illegal block above the waist and one unnecessary roughness on the league’s official penalty report.

“I can definitely be a bigger part of that, you know what I mean and help with that,” Morgan said. “But Andy played his (butt) off last year. But that’s something that all of us can improve on, not just Andy.”

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Offensive line coach Chris Morgan

Schraeder had six penalties and Matthews had four.

The Falcons tried to sign J.R. Sweezy in free agency to play right guard, but the bidding escalated to five-year, $32.5 million deal from Tampa Bay. Person, who started at center last season, must beat out Chester at right guard.

“There will always be competition,” Morgan said. “There are some guys competing. It’s a cool deal. There is a cool mix of competition.

“We are looking at everybody. Mike’s done a good job over there. Chester has played. Tom Compton has (practiced) over there. Wes Schweitzer has (practiced) over there. It’s not just those guys either. We are going to play the best five for sure. It’s always about the competition.”

Schweitzer received some first-team practice snaps in the mandatory minicamp. They were impressed with his offseason flexibility.

“We don’t have the pads on yet, but he’s shown some really good toughness,” Morgan said. “We’ve moved him around early. He’s played left guard. He’s played right guard. He’s played center. He’s never done that before. He’s shown that nothing is too big for him right now.”

Morgan believes with the addition of Mack and continued improvement, the offensive line could make some major strides in 2016.

“You know, we have to continue to grow,” Morgan said. “Continue to develop a style of play. We should have a better understanding in Year Two.”

THE OFFENSIVE LINE

LT 70 Jake Matthews, 76 Tom Compton

LG 67 Andy Levitre, 71 Wes Schweitzer, 79 Shabaz Ahmed

C   51 Alex Mack, 63 Ben Garland, 69 Jake Reed

RG 65 Chris Chester, 68 MikePerson, 64 Collin Rahrig, Michael Huey

RT 73 Ryan Schraeder, 72 Bryce Harris, 66 Laurence Gibson



90-MAN ROSTER ANALYSIS — POSITION BY POSITION

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Quarterbacks

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Running backs

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Wide Receivers

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Offensive linemen

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Linebackers

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Specialists

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Shanahan thinks offense will change thrive with cut in turnovers

Matt Ryan’s film session with AJC columnist Jeff Schultz

Alex Mack, Falcons looks good for one another

PROJECT PASS RUSH

Dan Quinn pressing all buttons to create a pass rush

How does drafting Keanu Neal help the pass rush?

DL line coach Bryan Cox: Hageman needs to improve his play

LB coach Jeff Ulbrich: ‘Cream will rise’ at linebacker for Falcons

Defensive coordinator Richard Smith pleased with early progress of the defense

Falcons still have a spot for DT Jonathan Babineaux

Dwight Freeney 95 percent certain that he will play in 2016

Falcons working 80 percent of time on pass rush

Weatherspoon on Freeney: ‘He still has it’

FALCONS’ OFFSEASON SPOTLIGHTS

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: OG Wes Schweizter, sixth round pick

Falcons offseason spotlight: LB De’Vondre Campbell, fourth round pick

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: TE Austin Hooper, third round pick

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: LB Deion Jones, second round pick

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: SS Keanu Neal, first round pick

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: DE/SLB Vic Beasley

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: DT Grady Jarrett

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: FS Robenson Therezie

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: CB Jalen Collins

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: RB Tevin Coleman

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: WR Justin Hardy


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