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Dimitroff talks top offensive tackles

The debate will continue all the way up until next Thursday night concerning whether the Atlanta Falcons should target an offensive tackle or pass-rusher in the first round of this year's NFL draft.

The team is, of course, impressed with the three players touted as the top three offensive tackles in this draft class: Auburn's Greg Robinson, Texas A&M's Jake Matthews, and Michigan's Taylor Lewan. All three visited the Falcons' facility within the past two weeks.

It was no surprise what Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff had to say when he offered his thoughts on the trio.

"Interestingly enough, they're all big, they're all strong, they're all athletic, they're all really good football players with upside," Dimitroff said during his pre-draft news conference on Wednesday. "They all come to the table with something a little bit different, as we all know -- any of us who have watched them or evaluated them.

"Those three tackles that you are referring to are obviously being touted as top-10 players. That's an amazing thing because rarely does that happen. Over the years, there's probably one or two. But to have three that are truly considered, that's a positive. ... They all have a really even-keeled approach to how they play the game; differently but even-keeled from the standpoint of understanding the game. And I think there's a lot of upside there."

Robinson seems to be ahead of the other two in terms of upside, although Matthews has been touted as the most NFL-ready and Lewan, the nastiest. Robinson was the last of the three the Falcons put through a private workout. The one question mark about him, if there is one, is how he'll transition to pass-blocking after coming from such a run-dominated offense at Auburn.

"The biggest thing for us, when we're looking at any position, is to make sure we evaluate their true athleticism, their movement," Dimitroff said. "We put them in spots, through any of our drills and through any of our assessments, to challenge them in a spot. For instance, if you're looking at an offensive lineman who has only played on the right side versus the left side, we slide him a lot off the left side to see if he's adept at the physical movement of moving off the left side.

"Again, nothing is truly like seeing them when the bullets are flying. That said, we make sure that we really home in on their physical skills and how they actually move and how they adjust to different spots along the offensive line. I've said this time and again: It is about versatility along the offensive line."

Most believe the Falcons should be able to land one of the top three offensive tackles if they remain at the sixth-overall pick.