FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Although he'll likely be younger and less experienced than most of the players he'll face during his rookie season, don't expect Kaleb McGary to be intimidated by anyone.
"I take tremendous pride in being on offensive lineman," McGary said. "My quarterback and tailback are important to me. They are like family to me. Nobody hurts those guys. I want defenders to be afraid of me. When I step to the line, [I want] for them to be afraid. I don't want that quarterback or running back to ever worry if they come near my side."
That's the exact mindset Dan Quinn has said he wants of his players at the line of scrimmage. McGary will play right tackle for the Falcons.
The Falcons, Quinn said, want to be a team that plays with an edge in 2019.
Quinn and general manger Thomas Dimitroff grade every player based off two traits: Competitiveness and toughness.
And McGary exemplifies both of those traits.
After selecting guard Chris Lindstrom with the No. 14 overall pick in the NFL Draft, Atlanta traded back into the first round to acquire McGary with the 31st overall pick.
Dimitroff said they were targeting him as their second-round pick, but as the night went on, they were starting to believe he might not make it to the No. 45 pick.
"We were aggressive, we were not going to be sitting on our hands we wanted to make sure that we were coming away with two big guys that were going to protect a major investment and part of our team that we feel can be obviously very good." Dimitroff said.
The Falcons gave the Los Angeles Rams their second- and third-round picks in exchange for the No. 31 overall pick in the first round. Atlanta also got a sixth-round pick (No. 203) in return.
Following the season, Quinn said he was comfortable with just two positions on the offensive line, center and left tackle. With the additions of Lindstrom and McGary in addition to the free agents Atlanta signed, the Falcons' offensive line has underwent significant upgrades this offseason.