5 breakout stars to watch for Atlanta Falcons in 2020

Hayden Hurst, Baltimore Ravens. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Hayden Hurst, Baltimore Ravens. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /
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Kaleb McGary, Atlanta Falcons
Kaleb McGary, Atlanta Falcons. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

Pick Analysis. RT. Kaleb McGary. 4. 44. Scouting Report. Atlanta Falcons. player

In the 2019 NFL Draft, the Falcons doubled-down in the first round by taking a pair of offensive lineman. One of the picks was at the tail-end of round one, as Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff dialed up his buddy Les Snead of the Los Angeles Rams to move up to No. 31. Atlanta took a talented, but a bit of a developmental project in right tackle Kaleb McGary with that pick.

McGary earned consecutive First-Team All-Pac-12 nods in 2017 and 2018, taking home the Morris Trophy during his redshirt senior year with the Washington Huskies. Despite being a baptism by fire as a rookie, McGary played in and started all 16 games with the Falcons last year. He beat out former second-round pick Ty Sambrailo for the starting role.

It wasn’t just a rookie year for McGary, but it was an entirely new offense for many Falcons to learn. Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter was back for a second stint as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator last year. Though quarterback Matt Ryan made Pro Bowls under Koetter, the offensive line had one holdover from 2014: Left tackle Jake Matthews.

Down the stretch, there were moments where it seemed like McGary really started to figure things out. It was reminiscent to Matthews’ rookie year out of Texas A&M back in 2014. Atlanta drafted McGary to be a better version of Ryan Schraeder at his peak. Entering his age-25 season, now is the time for McGary to put it all together for the Dirty Birds.