Falcons: Schraeder anchoring the right side
It’s been a surreal season for the Falcons, few could have imagined they would enter the final week competing for an NFC South Championship with a six win record. However one pleasant surprise has been the second half of the season emergence of right tackle Ryan Schraeder. Schraeder, a 2013 undrafted free-agent out of Valdosta State, has solidified the right tackle position for the Falcons since taking over as the starter in Week 8.
Just how good has Schraeder been? Since week 8, his +8.6 overall grade trails only Sebastian Vollmer (+10.5) for the top right tackle spot. Schraeder has been excellent in pass protection; his 96.9 Pass Blocking Efficiency since Week 8 leads all right tackles , and ninth-best left tackles are included.
As a fitting way to end the season, Schraeder will face off against the Panthers’ leading pass rusher Charles Johnson. Johnson has seven sacks and 67 total pressures, giving him an 11.9 Pass Rushing Productivity score, third-best among 4-3 defensive ends. With Johnson lining up primarily on the left (he does so 77.8% of the time), the responsibility for stopping him will largely fall to Schraeder. Whether or not he succeeds, will have a major impact on the outcome of a game that will decide the destination of both division title and playoff berth; so this is one key matchup to watch with such high stakes on the line.