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Where Does Drew Dalman Rank among NFL Centers?

Atlanta Falcons center Drew Dalman was a first-year starter last year, and according to Pro Football Focus (PFF), he more than held his own.

PFF ranked all of the centers in the NFL, and Dalman starts the 2023 season as the No. 13 center in the NFL.

In only his second year in the league, Dalman ranked 11th among centers with a 69.5 PFF run-blocking grade. There’s room for improvement in pass protection, where his 27 total pressures allowed were the fifth most at the position, but if he can do that, then he is set for another impressive season.

Gordon McGuinness, PFF

It was no surprise to see the second-year player struggle with his first extended action in the NFL last season. Dalman beat out incumbent-starter Matt Hennessy in the preseason and experienced predictable growing pains.

Dalman had grades of 42.5 in Week 2 and Week 10 against the LA Rams and Carolina Panthers respectively, but then the light came on against the Chicago Bears in Week 11.

He had a sky-high 86.4 grade against the Bears and was terrorizing the second-level of the Bears defense. He followed up that showing with a 74.3 against the Washington Commanders and was graded above 67.0 in each of his last three games.

Dalman’s improvement through the season mirrored that of struggling right tackle Kaleb McGary. McGary went from a liability in his previous-three seasons to a Top 5 offensive tackle according to PFF.

A lot of credit for the development of the offensive line should go to head coach Arthur Smith, a former lineman himself, and offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford.

With four of the five offensive line positions solidified heading into the offseason, the Falcons used a second-round pick on Matthew Bergeron to complete the set.

Flanked by Bergeron and PFF’s highest graded player at any position Chris Lindstrom, Dalman is in a good spot in the Falcons line.

He can be expected to take the next step from just above average as an NFL starter to possibly a Pro Bowl nod in Smith’s offense.

Scott Kennedy
Scott Kennedy is an Atlanta native and 20 year media veteran including time as Director of Scouting at Scout.com, Managing Editor at 247Sports, VP Content Operations at Sports Illustrated and more. Scott has appeared as a recruiting and NFL Draft analyst on dozens of media including ESPN, NFL Network, USA Today, NY Times, and more.