Can rookies solve the Falcons’ offensive line woes?

Stanford Cardinal center Drew Dalman (51) in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Boulder, Colo. Colorado won 16-13. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Credit: AP

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Stanford Cardinal center Drew Dalman (51) in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Boulder, Colo. Colorado won 16-13. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Credit: AP

Can rookies Jalen Mayfield and Drew Dalman solve the Falcons’ woes at left guard and center, respectively?

Dalman, who was taken in the fourth round of the NFL draft, will compete with Matt Hennessy, who was drafted in the third round last season. The Falcons must replace former Pro Bowler Alex Mack, who did not re-sign as a free agent.

“Just with Drew and what he brings in when you watch his film, how he led that Stanford offense,” new offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford said. “Being a captain and just the things that he showed on film. He’s got some great traits at that center position as well. It’s going to be a fun competition that you’re going to see there.”

Mayfield likely will be in an “all-comers” battle for the left guard spot.

Hennessy, Matt Gono, Josh Andrews all were mentioned as possible left guard candidates by Ledford, who’s preaching position “fluidity.”

He didn’t rule out Dalman, who played at Stanford, starting as a rookie.

“When you look at that center position, that’s somebody that’s used to running the show, used to going out there making the calls, getting everybody on the same page, really taking charge,” Ledford said. “Knowing the offense inside and out and getting everybody on that same page.”

Dalman, who’s father, Chris Dalman, played in the NFL and was an assistant coach with the Falcons, made the calls at Stanford.

“He’s coming in running a system that was very similar to a NFL system,” Ledford said. “It’s a lot of similarities there, so they are used to that. Now, obviously everything is going to get sped up. The guys that you are going against are bigger, faster and stronger and everything happens a lot faster.”

Ledford believes Dalman has the leadership skills to get everyone on the same page.

“I don’t feel, I’m not apprehensive at all in saying that ... feel good about saying yes, a rookie can go in there play center in the NFL his first year,” Ledford said. “I think that obviously you have to see that, once they get here. Once you put them in certain situations and see how they kind of progress throughout our offseason and in camp to see how they handle all of that.”

Ledford noted that Mayfield also played in a pro-style offense at Michigan.

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