Earning the 23rd-ranked distinction on the Falcons is offensive guard Garrett Reynolds. Click here to read the scoring system used to provide these rankings.
Total Score: 50
Player Grade: 50 out of 100
Teams he could start for: 8 out of 32
Teams he is best position player: 2 out of 32
Teams he could find role on: 28 out of 32
Peak-Year Bonus: +3
Positional Bonus: +3
Garrett Reynolds entered the 2012 season with a lot of questions about his ability to perform. And for the most part I believed he answered them. But ultimately an injury sidelined him after seven games, and just like in 2011 he did not finish the year as the starter.
Reynolds hopes to have better luck with his third opportunity to start. He will enter camp atop the Falcons’ depth chart at right guard. Reynolds probably will win the starting job with competition only coming from Joe Hawley to start things. If Mike Johnson loses the competition at right tackle quickly, then he might be moved inside to push Reynolds. But given the time frame of such a move, it appears that Reynolds probably wouldn’t be in any danger assuming he plays well in camp.
Reynolds has struggled playing inside at guard mainly due to his tall frame. At 6-7 and some change, it leads him to play fairly high. When facing powerful defensive tackles that are often only 6-2 or 6-3, it allows them to be in a better position to create leverage inside the phone both that is playing inside. Good technique is a must for a player with Reynolds’ size, as he must play with better balance and lower hands than what is natural for him given his height. He improved that technique in 2012 and was having a solid campaign before his injury.
His height also prevents Reynolds from being a “mover” as a run blocker as he’s not a guy that can get low enough to consistently drive defenders off the ball. But he is a decent position blocker that if he can be more consistent with his ability to get leverage can be an effective run blocker. Tyson Clabo, who also towered at a smidge under 6-7, was that type of player and the most consistent run blocker, so there is the potential for Reynolds to be far from a liability as a run blocker.
Reynolds is a solid player, but his upside might be less than players like Johnson and Lamar Holmes, who won’t have to overcome height issues as they continue to grow moving forward. The Falcons liked Reynolds enough to give him a two-year contract at low-end starter money, so they are clearly comfortable with him filling the starting lineup. But he may be viewed as more of a stopgap than a long-term solution at the position. How he performs this year could go a long way to change that perspective.