Falcons’ Matt Hennessy held his own against the champion Chiefs

Falcons rookie center Matt Hennessy loosens up for the second scrimmage on Monday, August 24, 2020 in Flowery Branch.    Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com
Falcons rookie center Matt Hennessy loosens up for the second scrimmage on Monday, August 24, 2020 in Flowery Branch. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Falcons rookie Matt Hennessy, subbing for Alex Mack (out with a concussion), played all 68 offensive snaps against the Chiefs.

“You put Matt Hennessy out there on a tough day,” Falcons interim coach Raheem Morris said on Monday. “You put him out there against the Kansas City Chiefs and some really great (defensive) tackles.”

Even though Hennessy was called for three penalties, the Falcons were pleased with his overall play. He was drafted in the third round (78th overall) out of Temple.

“He was playing his (behind) off,” Morris said. “He was playing hard. He was playing physical. He drew a couple of penalties, which is always tough, but he did show signs of him becoming the heir apparent to Alex Mack.”

The Falcons’ running backs average 4.6 yards per carry against the Chiefs.

“He can go out there and be productive in this league,” Morris said. “He’s one of the guys that you put out there that really didn’t have a (exhibition) season. He’s really not had much live work at center.

“So, for him to go out and get his first live work against the champs and hold his own, he’ll get better and better every time that he goes out. We’re excited where he’s going to go.”

DRAFT PROFILE

Third round (78th overall) -- Matt Hennessy, C, Temple

Height: 6-foot-3. Weight: 307 pounds. Arm Length: 32-1/4 inches. Hand size: 10 inches. 40-yard dash: 5.18 seconds. Bench press: 23 reps of 225 pounds. Vertical jump: 30 inches. Broad jump: 9 feet, 2 inches. Three-cone drill: 7.45 seconds.

Overview: Hennessy, 22, is from Bardonia, New York and played at Don Bosco Prep in New Jersey. Hennessy was a three-year starter for the Owls, where he started his career with Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins. He never played center until getting to Temple. He projects as a starter in a zone-blocking scheme. Hennessy played in 38 games and made 36 starts for the Owls. He was named second-team All-American last season and was first-team all-conference in the AAC. He was also a finalist for the Dave Rimington Award, which goes to the nation’s top center. Hennessy’s brother Tom was a long-snapper at Duke and is with the New York Jets. Matt Hennessy graduated with his degree in finance and had a 3.7 grade-point average. He elected to bypass his senior season and enter the draft. He played in the Senior Bowl, where he was heavily scouted by the Falcons. He is the fourth player the Falcons have selected from Temple in franchise history and the first since 1981 (Mark McCants).

Falcons’ 2021 draft position

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

2. New York Jets

3. Miami Dolphins (via Houston)

4. Atlanta Falcons

5. Cincinnati Bengals

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