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2011 NFL Draft: Falcons Could Target Derek Sherrod, Anthony Castonzo To Fill Offensive Tackle Need

The NFL Draft is over two months away which gives us lots of time to opine on the many directions the Falcons' front office may go with this year's rookie class. I'll offer up my position-by-position thoughts and choices on what the biggest needs are and which players are most suited to fill those needs. First up is the offensive line, specifically the tackle position.

Current Starters: Sam Baker, Tyson Clabo (FA)

Reserves: Garrett Reynolds, Will Svitek

Clabo has to be re-signed. He's been the best Falcons lineman for four seasons now and it would be a huge loss to this team if he leaves. Baker isn't a fan favorite but he's played well enough to keep the job. This offseason creates an interesting dynamic if a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is not reached by March 4. Since there can be no free agency without a CBA, the Falcons could be making decisions about who to draft without knowing if Clabo will return.

The Falcons went heavy on the interior line in the 2010 draft and will need to address the tackle position this season. Here's some early round options from Mocking the Draft's top 200 they may consider. Their overall rank is shown below and you can see their entire offensive tackle rankings here.

20. Derek Sherrod | 6'6, 300 pounds | OT | Mississippi State

Projected round: 1-2

28. Anthony Castonzo | 6'7, 308 pounds | OT | Boston College

Projected round: 1

36. Gabe Carimi | 6'7, 315 pounds | OT | Wisconsin

Projected round: 1-2

41. Nate Solder | 6'9, 305 pounds | OT | Colorado

Projected round: 1

48. Tyron Smith | 6'6, 285 pounds | OT | Southern California

Projected round: 1

70. DeMarcus Love | 6'5, 315 pounds | OT | Arkansas

Projected round: 2-3

72. Danny Watkins | 6'4, 310 pounds | OT | Baylor

Projected round: 1-2

90. Lee Ziemba | 6'8, 310 pounds | OT | Auburn

Projected round: 4-5

111. James Brewer | 6'8, 331 pounds | OT | Indiana

Projected round: 4

Of that group, Castanzo (so close to Costanza!) gets the highest marks from and he was SB Nation's choice for the Falcons but it's Solder who has the highest Scouts, Inc. grade. Mocking the Draft's Mock Draft (yeah, that's right) has the Falcons taking Florida Guard/Center Mike Pouncey at No. 27 if they choose to forgo a tackle in the first round.

I know there's some demand for a receiver - and we'll get to that soon - but for the first pick, establishing an offensive line that could see a lot of upheaval seems like the right move from the slow and steady Thomas Dimitroff-Mike Smith tandem.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.