If you were to make a list of the Atlanta Falcons biggest needs, you could argue that offensive guard is number one on that list. The Falcons had the same five offensive lineman start all 19 games they played this season, a rare occurrence with all of the injuries that occur in the trenches. That continuity could be tested next season if right guard Chris Chester decides to retire.
Even if Chester does return, he is 34 and the Falcons know a replacement is needed soon. There are some internal options on the roster in last years sixth round pick Wes Schweitzer and reserve center Ben Garland. Even so, the Falcons value competition and depth and could select an offensive guard with the 31st overall pick.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Falcons had a formal meeting with Western Kentucky offensive tackle Forrest Lamp. Lamp, 6’4 and 305 pounds, is an athletic tackle who is expected to convert to guard at the NFL level. At the combine, Lamp bench pressed 225 pounds 34 times and ran a 5.0 second flat 40 yard dash.
Here is an overview on Forrest Lamp’s strengths and weaknesses as a prospect:
Positives: Light on his feet and does an outstanding job of mirroring edge rushers. Bends well at his hips and gets good leverage. Uses good hand positioning in both pass and run blocking situations. Has the athleticism to get to the second level in the run blocking game. Intelligent player who reads defensive line movements well.
Negatives: Lack of ideal bulk and arm length to stick at tackle in the NFL. Lamp does not have overwhelming strength to drive blockers back, instead relying on technique and effort. Rarely faced the bull rush in college and NFL defensive lineman will try and overpower him to get him off balance.
Summary: Lamp has drawn comparisons to Zach Martin, the Dallas Cowboys all-pro right guard. He has the size, athleticism, and technique to make a successful conversion to guard at the NFL level. He would be an ideal fit in a zone blocking scheme.