Oct 26, 2014; London, UNITED KINGDOM; Atlanta Falcons center James Stone (62) defends as quarterback Matt Ryan (2) drops back to pass against the Detroit Lions in the NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
For a player that started his NFL career as an undrafted rookie, James Stone was perhaps the most inspiring offensive linemen for the Falcons in the 2014 season. Stone began the year as the third-string center and ended up starting nine games for Atlanta after both Joe Hawley and Peter Konz went down with season-ending injuries.
Stone obviously impressed the coaching staff enough to earn a roster spot last season, and his play on the field surely opened some eyes.
While Stone didn’t set the NFL on fire, he held up better than expected for an undrafted rookie. He was particularly good in run blocking, which should help him hold onto a roster spot this season, and showcased his excellent football intelligence by adjusting quickly to the NFL game.
With Joe Hawley likely to reclaim the starting position due to his fit in the zone blocking scheme, Stone could be relegated to back-up duty once again. Or, could he slide into the open position at left guard?
Dave Choate at The Falcoholic explained the reasoning behind the potential switch quite well:
"“Stone’s play wasn’t great in 2014—he was a third-string center thrust into starting duties in his rookie year, after all—but at 6’3″ and 290 pounds, he’s about thirty pounds lighter than Blalock and has good athleticism, functional strength and the ability move around.”"
Stone obviously impressed the coaching staff enough to earn a roster spot last season, and his play on the field surely opened some eyes. He may not be the most exciting choice to start at left guard, but he deserves to be a part of the competition all the same.
Now let’s move on to the Falcons new free agent acquisitions at the offensive guard position.
Next: Mike Person and Jared Smith