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NFL Network analyst: Falcons could get long-time starter at guard out of this draft class

INDIANAPOLIS – Falcons coach Dan Quinn talked about the guard position being one he and general manager Thomas Dimitroff are really "digging" into and most NFL mock drafts have Atlanta using their No. 26 draft pick to draft one.


The good news for the Falcons is if they decide to acquire a guard through the draft, this year's class is full of talent at that position.

"The good thing is in this class there are a bunch of guards that can play and come in and help right away," NFL Network and analyst Bucky Brooks said at the scouting combine on Thursday.

So who are some of those prospects Brooks seeing being potential fits in Atlanta's offensive scheme? Isaiah Wynn of Georgia, Will Hernandez of UTEP, Billy Price of Ohio State and Iowa's James Daniels for starters.

In fact, Brooks thinks so highly of these four prospects, he believes Atlanta could get an immediate impact player with any one of them.

"I think this is a year where they are in a position where they could get a good player and a long-time starter at the position on the inside," Brooks said.

Andy Levitre and Wes Schweitzer were the Falcons' starting left and right guard. Levitre's season was cut short with a season-ending triceps injury and Schweitzer won the job with no NFL experience. When Levitre went to IR, Ben Garland took over.

Overall, Atlanta's offensive line improved in their pass protection. Matt Ryan was sacked 13 times less than he was in 2016. But Quinn said he wants to see more explosive run plays which all starts with the play up front.

"In the run game, how do we find ways to get our guys big plays, even more? That's a real challenge for us," Quinn said. "We're so committed to the way we run it. That's a real challenge for us."

Brooks agrees with Quinn's assessment noting that even though the Falcons finished as the No. 13 ranked rushing offense, they should focus on continuing to strengthen their offensive line.

"You want to continue to beef that up. You want to be able to run the ball and run with dominance. That has been the key to success. When they went to the Super Bowl it was because the running game was top notch, that really made life easier for Matt Ryan and the passing game."

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