Could the Falcons select a player off that same offensive line this year? It's a possibility.
The Falcons recently hosted Aggies offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi at their facility, according to a league source. The 6-foot-5-inch, 306-pound Ogbuehi took over the starting left tackle spot after Matthews' departure.
Ogbuehi was well on his way to becoming a first-round pick until he tore his ACL in the Aggies' Liberty Bowl win over West Virginia. He had surgery on Jan. 16 and an ACL recovery is typically seven to 10 months. The belief is Ogbuehi will be ready for training camp based on his progress thus far. He only participated in the bench press at this year's NFL combine, completing 23 reps of 225 pounds.
Some draft projections have Ogbuehi going in the second or third round as a result of the injury. The Falcons, in need of athletic and versatile offensive linemen, might have to seriously consider the possibility of adding a player with first-round talent.
Former Texas A&M offensive line coach B.J. Anderson raved about Ogbuehi's abilities.
"I love the kid," Anderson said. "He's a really long, athletic kid. He plays with great athleticism. He's got great length. He's got the ability to play inside and out. In 2012, he was my starting right guard. He moved to right tackle, then he moved from right tackle to left tackle. So he's played a lot of positions, which will be very beneficial to him in an NFL camp. He's used to playing out of a right-hand stagger and a left-hand stagger."
Anderson utilized both outside and inside zone blocking schemes with his linemen, and Ogbuehi used to clear holes for Johnny Manziel. The Falcons are implementing an outside-zone blocking scheme under new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
"With his length and athleticism, he's perfect for that scheme," Anderson said. "Ced's like a long, athletic tight end who plays with power. He's very quick on his feet."
Anderson is confident Ogbuehi will come back stronger off the ACL tear.
"It killed me to see what happened to that young man in the bowl game," Anderson said. "I know he's been working his tail off to get ready for the draft. That's just the type of kid he is. He's a complete football junkie. He's got a great work ethic."
Right now, the Falcons have a handful of offensive linemen still on the mend from serious injuries: Matthews (Lisfranc ligament tear), center Joe Hawley (torn ACL, MCL), tackle Sam Baker (knee), tackle Lamar Holmes (toe) and center/guard Peter Konz (ACL). The team also released veteran Justin Blalock, leaving a void at starting left guard.