Matt Ryan thankful Falcons bolstered O-line in draft

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The draft grades for the Atlanta Falcons might not look great from a fans' or media perspective, but if you stand in Matt Ryan's shoes for a few plays, you might give it an A+.

The Falcons went into the offseason targeting an offensive line upgrade and went full-throttle fixing the positions. The team signed two guards in free agency -- James Carpenter and Jamon Brown. More importantly, they used two first-round picks on offensive linemen: Chris Lindstrom, a guard from Boston College with the 14th selection, and traded up to the 31st overall pick to snag Kaleb McGary, a right tackle from Washington.

It was more of a meat-and-potatoes than hot sauce draft for Atlanta. Matt Ryan appreciates the team's efforts to keep him upright.

"He texted me, and actually, he just said, 'Thanks, I appreciate that a lot, wow,'" GM Thomas Dimitroff said of Ryan's response to the picks, via ESPN's Vaughn McClure.

Protecting their $150 million investment was a no-brainer. Ryan was sacked 42 times last season, second-most in his career, and was pressured many more times.

"Make no mistake about it: We knew what we needed to do this offseason and that was to continue to fortify that line and make sure that we were protecting Matt," Dimitroff said. "And we weren't going to run into what we ran into last year."

If Lindstrom and McGary win starting jobs, the Falcons would boast a starting five all selected in the first round, joining left tackle Jake Matthews, center Alex Mack, and guard Carpenter.

Stocking up on offensive lineman isn't sexy and rarely generates headlines, but keeping Ryan clean will go a long way towards the Falcons bouncing back in 2019. Atlanta finally has some depth along the O-line to withstand potential injuries this season.

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