When Arthur Smith spoke for the first time in his introductory press conference after being hired as Atlanta's new head coach, he identified the three staples of his program: Toughness, accountability and competition.
Smith and his coaching staff will enforce competition at every position and the Falcons' offensive line will be a position group that will has several battles heading into the 2021 season. Left tackle, right guard and right tackle are the only three spots that have a player who started every game at the position returning. Center and left guard are two spots along the offensive line that have yet to solidify a starter.
Falcons offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford addressed the media on Wednesday and listed the players who will compete for both spots. At left guard, the competition will be between Jalen Mayfield, Matt Gono, Josh Andrews and Drew Dalman.
At center, Matt Hennessy and Dalman will battle it out. Hennessy, a third-round pick in 2019, started two games in 2020 at center. Dalman, the Falcons' fourth-round pick this year, started 22 games at center while at Stanford.
"A lot of guys will be rolling around in a lot of different positions," Ledford said. "We'll be trying a lot of different pieces at different times and throughout our evaluations this offseason going through camp, then it will be determined who those five will be."
Ledford comes to the Falcons from Louisville where he was the offensive coordinator/offensive line coach from 2019-20. Before that, he spent three seasons at N.C. State as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator. Prior to getting into coaching, Ledford played seven years in the NFL.