Bill Fralic, a great competitor and a ferocious lineman, holds the distinction of being the highest drafted player to play guard for Atlanta. He was chosen number two overall in the 1985 NFL draft.
He is the most successful drafted guard ever drafted by the Atlanta Falcons. During his time in a Falcons uniform, Fralic had 115 starts, went to four Pro-Bowls and made two All-Pro teams.
Not bad for a player that was part of some very disappointing Atlanta teams.
I’d had always felt he should have been allowed to retire a Falcon but that is the nature of the business and it stung many of fans then, that he was allowed to leave. However, he took advantage of the new free agency rules and finished his career by playing 1 season in Detroit for 1.6 million dollars.
Bill Fralic, in my opinion, is one of the greatest draft picks the Falcons ever made for the offensive line.
The Atlanta Falcons over their entire history have drafted 38 players to play guard, with very little success. Other than Fralic, J.C. Thielemann is the only Guard drafted by the Falcons to earn a pro bowl in the last 40 years.
J.C. Thielemann, drafted in the second round of the 1977 NFL draft, started 148 games for the Falcons (which is the most by a drafted guard). During his time in the red and black, Thielemann earned three Pro-Bowl selections and one All-Pro.
Over the last 40 years, Atlanta has only drafted two other guards that have made any serious contributions to the organization. First, is Kynan Forney. The 7th rounder out of Hawaii in 2001, started 89 games for Atlanta in that time before his release. He is also the lowest drafted guard to start more than 20 games in the last 20 years.
The only other guard drafted by the Atlanta Falcons to have any impact on the field is Justin Blalock. When he was drafted in 2007 he instantly became a main stay on the offensive line. In 8 seasons with Atlanta, he started 125 games over his career and sits at number two for most starts for a guard drafted by the Atlanta Falcons.
The Dimitroff Era
Thomas Dimitroff has been with Atlanta for more than a decade. His record for drafting offensive lineman is abysmal at best. The only lineman who has had any true success is Jake Mathews at Tackle. (It’s Mathews, it was a “no brainer” selection for him).
Under Dimitroff’s regime, only one drafted guard has started more than 10 games. Wes Schweitzer who was drafted in the 6th round in the 2016 NFL Draft, has started 29 of the 31 games he has played in.
Dimitroff has shown a knack for drafting every other position except interior lineman.
The Falcons need to address the offensive line. The Falcons always seem to sign a free agent here and there, but its been its been more than 30 years since Atlanta has drafted a Pro-Bowler at the guard position and I am with the rest of the Atlanta fan-base when I say “We need to draft on the line“.
Here in Atlanta we need the next Bill Fralic.