Free agency kicks off next week, the Falcons will need to spend their money wisely with a tight cap and a dire need for better defense. Touchdown Wire’s Mark Scholfield projected a possible option, New England Patriots guard, Ted Karras.
Atlanta has the No. 16 pick in the first round and two second-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft. Karras would give the Falcons talent and room to spend money elsewhere.
Scholfield says Karras would make a good fit for both guard and center for Atlanta—the kind of versatile player the falcons are looking for.
Karras has been a steady presence in the New England offensive line room for a few seasons now. He has started for them at guard, and last year when David Andrews was lost for the year with health concerns he stepped into a critical spot and performed very well. He would provide depth at both guard and center, and could even be looked at as a potential starter at left guard coming out of training camp. With limited financial resources, the Falcons could still acquire an immediate contributor up front to protect Matt Ryan and help both Lindstrom and McGary develop. This would be a schematic fit as well, as Karras showed good footwork in New England’s zone designs.
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Karras’ NFL Career
The Patriots drafted Karras in the sixth round (221st overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft. Karras was the starting right guard in the opening game against the Cardinals. Once Shaq Mason was healthy again, Karras split time with him until Mason was able to take over the starting role fulltime again. Karras played a role in the Patriots finishing the 2016 season with a 14-2 record and top-seed for the AFC playoffs.
Karras also played a part in the Patriots team that won Super Bowl LI in 2017 against the Falcons with a score of 34-28 in overtime.
The Patriots released Karras at the beginning of the 2017 season and signed by the practice squad the next day. A few days later he was promoted back to the active roster and made his first start at center in week 11. Karras played in his second Super Bowl, Super Bowl LII but the Patriots lost to the Eagles 41-33.
In 2018, Karras was playing at both guard and center for the Patriots. He started two games at right guard in place of an injured Mason again. The Patriots reached Super Bowl LIII again where they beat the Los Angeles Rams 13–3.
Once the 2019 season began Karras started as the Patriots’ center after David Andrews was placed on season-ending injured reserve.
Other Draft Needs
The Falcons will be limited in what they can accomplish in free agency with a tight salary cap. They currently have just $4.3 million available under the 2020 salary cap. They have needs in various roles but especially on the defensive side. They’ll need to look for a cornerback and pass rusher through the NFL Draft. Top prospects such as K’Lavon Chaisson, A.J. Epenesa, Jeffrey Okudah, and CJ Henderson are Falcon targets.