FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The acquisition of veteran Brandon Fusco this free agency period means the competition for Atlanta's starting right guard spot is expected to be even more competitive this year than it was in 2017.
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"There's going to be a really hot competition at right guard," Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. "Given his experience and knowledge and understanding of the game, for us it was an important pick up."
The Falcons signed Fusco in hopes to continue to bolster their offensive line. Fusco started all 16 games at right guard for the San Francisco 49ers in 2017 and has played in 83 games in his career – starting 80 of them. And now he'll compete with Wes Schweitzer, Ben Garland and Sean Harlow for the Falcons' starting right guard spot.
Not only does Fusco bring experience and a veteran presence to the Falcons offensive line, he's comfortable with the zone-blocking scheme Atlanta runs on offense.
"We were really excited to have an opportunity to get him," Dimitroff said. "He's a guy who has a lot of experience starting in this league. We know that our offensive line continues to need an amazing amount of competition there. Given his experience and knowledge and understanding of the game, for us it was an important pick up."
Experience was just one of the many things that made Fusco attractive to the Falcons.
When asked what part of Fusco's game stood out to Dimitroff when he watched his tape, he didn't just mention one thing, he listed several things.
"He's a guy who has a really good understanding from a mental standpoint from pass protection," Dimitroff said of what stood out. "He's a focus guy and loves football. We like the fact that he can come in here and be a nice addition to that line. He'll be a good mix with our group in there -- they're all about the same thing and we like that he has that focus."
Fusco will join an offensive line unit that has a lot of stability. The Falcons return all five starters from the 2017 season and will have left guard Andy Levitre back healthy for the start of training camp.