At this point I probably sound like a broken record, but the Falcons offensive tackles are underrated. Sam Baker and Tyson Clabo are not household names, nor do they inhabit vaunted position rankings when judged by the national media. One thing they do really well though is block- and to this end they're one of the better units in the NFL.
Football Outsiders ranks the Falcons' offensive line as 7th in the NFL in pass protection- allowing just 26 sacks on the season. Given the issues with the team's interior offensive line in 2011 this is a testament to just how good the pairing of Baker and Clabo was.
It's easy to forget the talent in the NFC South at the defensive end position. Whether it's Will Smith, Charles Johnson or Adrian Clayborne there's no 'easy out' for an offensive tackle in the division. Couple this with Matt Ryan, who's not the most mobile QB and you have a formula that could be a disaster; however the line remained resolute, which is a large reason for the team's success.
In order to keep the position strong the Falcons invested their 2012 third round pick in Lamar Holmes out of Southern Mississippi. It's tempting to project him as a left tackle, but really he's far better on the right side where he can use his large frame to his advantage in the running game. At 31 years old Clabo isn't getting any younger, and this ensures the Falcons have a plan for when he finally hangs it up.
The battle behind Baker will be fascinating between Will Svitek and Garrett Reynolds. Ultimately I can't help but feel like Reynolds is the better long term option, and will win the job.
Projected Depth Chart
LT: Sam Baker/ Garrett Reynolds
RT: Tyson Clabo/ Lamar Holmes
It's smart of the organization to start looking at long term answers at tackle, but this is still a very good unit out of the gate. Baker and Clabo have another 2-3 years left as a pair, and they are good enough to solidify the Falcons' offense for another year.