Is Matt Hennessy the center of the Falcons of the future?
The offensive line has been a problem in Atlanta since their Super Bowl run in 2016, and this year is no different. Kaleb McGary appears to have regressed from last season; Rookie Jalen Mayfield has shown progress since his dismal Week 1 performance, but he is still a long way from being a starting caliber keeper. It also looks like it could be the beginning of the end for Jake Matthews. The Falcons’ offensive line mainstay for years is still formidable in passing, but his run blocking so far this year has been mediocre to say the least.
Atlanta has an elite-level goalie on Chris Lindstrom’s right side, but he might not be alone. After a tough start to the season, first-year starter Matt Hennessy has performed wonderfully. At the start of Week 6, he was the 13th ranked center in the league out of 35 qualifying centers, in front of a familiar face.
A pleasant surprise in the five-week PFF rankings is that Matt Hennessy currently ranks 13th out of 35 crosses qualified. Some notable crosses he’s ahead of: Ryan Jensen, Alex Mack, Rodney Hudson and his 2020 classmates Cesar Ruiz, Lloyd Cushenberry and Tyler Biadasz.
– Matt Karoly (@mattkaroly) October 14, 2021
The center is one of the most important positions in the game, and at first it looked like the Falcons could have a gigantic hole there with Alex Mack, who was one of the best free agent signings in the world. history of the team, leaving for San Francisco. However, it is starting to look like their 2019 third-round pick is the center of the future in Atlanta.
Even though Hennessy was slightly undersized, he was a highly coveted prospect coming out of Temple due to his exemplary athleticism, which can be seen early in his run blockage. Like most of Atlanta’s offensive line, he needs to improve in the passing heats in order to take the next step. Still, in his first five starts as a full-time starter, he performed exceptionally well against some of the best inside defensemen in the league. This is a development that deserves to be watched as the season continues. The Falcons may not be a playoff-caliber team yet, but that shouldn’t be the primary focus. This season it’s all about finding more building blocks, and they might have found a fairly stable one in Hennessy.
Thanks for reading Matt Hennessy’s progress as a center for the Falcons. If you liked this post, take a look at another recent post from Chase on Kyle Pitt’s quest for the tight end rookie receiving record.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein / Icon Sportswire