Keeping Matt Ryan upright could get the Atlanta Falcons back into title contention.
Drafting a big-time offensive lineman could do the trick.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Falcons visited Alabama State offensive tackle prospect Tytus Howard.
Howard has 16 scheduled visits with the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings next. A potential addition of Howard could see him holding down the open right tackle position, after Ryan Schraeder was released by the team on March 13.
Schraeder, 30, played all six of his NFL seasons with the Falcons after signing as an undrafted free-agent from Valdosta State. He was the starting right tackle since 2015.
Howard is one of the most agile offensive lineman in the upcoming draft. While at ASU, he played both right and left tackle.
Like many small-school prospects, development, experience and coaching are all a need. Howard could get all of those in Atlanta, as expectations won’t be as high early in his career.
He will be able to sit and gain practice-time reps from veteran Falcons like Austin Pasztor, Alex Mack, Brandon Fusco and others.
Sending the entire offensive line staff out to a small school to view one player is very rare, but it shows the immense interest.
In terms of offensive lineman in the upcoming draft, Jawaan Taylor, Jonah Williams, Andre Dillard and others sit atop the rankings.
Howard could find himself being picked in rounds 2-4. If a team falls in love with the potential gem, he could sneak into the back end of the first round.
The Falcons pick No. 14 in round one. Howard is not in play for that pick, as some believe the front office will look to grab a defensive player.
Assuming the Falcons keep their zone blocking scheme, Howard could be a starter early in his career.