Acquiring a new, young guard is a rite of spring, right up there with leaves budding and getting drenched in a rainstorm because you're way too cool to carry an umbrella.
Okay, so maybe you have to squint a little. In the last four drafts, the Falcons have acquired five players in the draft who were either primarily guards or ended up getting playing time there. Those are Garrett Reynolds (2009), Mike Johnson and Joe Hawley (2010), Andrew Jackson (2011) and Peter Konz (2012). That's not to mention the calvacade of undrafted free agents who have had at least some time on the roster, and currently Harland Gunn and Phillipkeith Manley are hanging around as UDFAs.
Consider, if you will, that all of these guards have been brought in with Justin Blalock nailed to a starting job at left guard. The Falcons have been trying for this entire time to find a reliable right guard, one who could provide the skills of a Harvey Dahl on the salary of a rookie mid-rounder. The results of those efforts up to this point have been, to put it delicately, mixed.
So why don't I want the Falcons to sink another draft pick into the position? Because the team has finally reached the point where the amount of talent on the roster would seem to guarantee they can find a viable starting option for 2013 and beyond, all of it young. Let's take a quick look at the possible scenarios for next year:
The point is, the Falcons have five and a half legitimate possibilities here. None of these guys are necessarily going to be elite right guards in 2013, but the opportunity cost of sinking a high-round pick into another guard when the defense needs work and the Falcons may need a tight end of the future is rather large. You're also not guaranteed to get a Week 1 starter, which is what this team sorely needs. I would prefer they prioritized other positions and went with one of these in-house options, unless a truly terrific player becomes a possibility.
I expect some of you will disagree, so let's discuss. Which of these options would you prefer, or would you rather go with a draft pick?