The Atlanta Falcons can’t keep Matt Hennessy out of the lineup.
The Atlanta Falcons made a trade up in the 2020 NFL Draft to select Temple center Matt Hennessy, one of the rarest early entries to the NFL Draft you will see.
Not that interior linemen don’t declare early for the NFL Draft, but you rarely see early entries from the interior line of Temple’s football program.
That Hennessy felt comfortable with the feedback he received from the NFL Draft advisory committee speaks volumes to what he was able to put on tape at Temple as the man in the middle of the offensive line, and NFL scouts and talent evaluators loved his toughness, smarts, and mobility at the position.
The Atlanta Falcons targeted him with the 78th overall pick and as a three-year starter at the center position in college and an All-American at that position, it seemed almost a foregone conclusion that Hennessy would have to sit a season behind the grizzled veteran Alex Mack.
That’s not the case, apparently.
Hennessy came into Falcons camp a center, and he’s going to likely leave it the starting left guard. The Falcons let go of veteran guard Jamon Brown, paving the way for Hennessy to take the position and give the Falcons a very strong starting five of (mostly) home grown talent up front.
From left to right, with Hennessy projected the new starting left guard, the Falcons’ offensive line looks like this:
- LT Jake Matthews
- LG Matt Hennessy
- C Alex Mack
- RG Chris Lindstrom
- RT Kaleb McGary
Everyone on this list but Hennessy was a first-round draft pick at some point or another, but Hennessy didn’t need first-round draft status to bring ‘immediate starter’ vibes with him into his first NFL training camp.
Hennessy didn’t give up a sack last year at Temple on his way to 2019 2nd-team All-American honors.
He now joins a very decorated Falcons offensive line in terms of draft status, and certainly is now a key piece on an interior offensive line with Alex Mack and Chris Lindstrom that will be instrumental to protecting Matt Ryan and paving the way for Todd Gurley.
If the Falcons are to have a resurgence in 2020, Hennessy will undoubtedly be part of the solution and it’s great to see that he has so quickly been able to seize the left guard spot.
Perhaps that will be where he makes his home permanently in Atlanta.