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Falcons will have trouble replacing Chester in the draft


It’s not a good year for the Falcons to try to find a starting offensive lineman in the draft.

The Falcons must replace right guard Chris Chester, who elected to retire. The draft is set for April 27-29 in Philadelphia.

“I talked to an offensive line coach this week who said this is the worst offensive line class that he’s seen in 15 years,” said NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah during a conference call Wednesday. “I started in ’03, I go back to there and it’s not a good group of offensive linemen.”

Alabama’s Cam Robinson, Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk, Utah’s Garett Bolles, Indiana’s Dan Feeney and Western Kentucky’s Forrest Lamp are considered the top offensive linemen in the draft.

The Falcons have heavily scouted Lamp and worked out Bolles in Salt Lake City.

“The offensive line depth in this draft probably isn’t as good as it has been,” said Kevin Colbert, Pittsburgh’s vice president and general manager. “Traditionally, interior lineman, for whatever reason, guards and centers — there’s never a great number. There are always great players, but just not a lot of numbers. The tackle numbers are down this year, for whatever reason. There are some great players in the class, just not as many as maybe there have been in recent years.”

The Falcons signed Hugh Thornton in free agency. He didn’t play last season but has 32 NFL starts with the Colts. Wes Schweitzer and Ben Garland will also compete for the open right guard spot.



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