Harlow, whom many believed to be a 7th Round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, started to move up many teams draft boards as the Draft approached this April. Many mock drafts had Harlow going as early as the mid 5th Round in the more recent mocks, but Atlanta took the OSU standout in the 4th Round at #136 overall.
The former Captain and leader of the OSU Offense, Sean Harlow is picking up where is Father, Pat (former NFL 11th overall pick and USC standout) left off. Like his father, Sean will bring the type of physicality, aggression, and leadership to the NFL, something that the Falcons have lacked and could use moving forward.
So Oregon State's Sean Harlow is a pretty impressive player. pic.twitter.com/xoOLrySM7K— Kyle Crabbs (@NDTScouting) March 17, 2017
The Falcons strong Offensive Line play in 2016, was a major part of their Super Bowl run a season ago (ranked 6th in the NFL by Pro Football Focus). It’s easy to forget about offensive line play when you have the offensive skill players Atlanta does, but without the big ugly’s up front, I doubt they would have been able to have such an explosive offense in 2016, led by MVP Matt Ryan.
The Falcons OLine is anchored by arguably the best Center in the League, Alex Mack, whom of which will be an excellent mentor for the young Harlow entering his rookie season.
One of The Falcons biggest needs heading into the draft was to add to their offensive line, for both depth purposes and for a long-term quality starter. Many believed they would use their #31 overall pick on an interior offensive lineman, but instead they traded up to #26 and went with Pass Rusher Takkarist McKinley:
Falcons trade up for pass rusher McKinley https://t.co/ja7PMD53wS— Rotoworld Football (@Rotoworld_FB) April 28, 2017
The only Offensive Lineman the Falcons selected in the 2017 NFL Draft was Harlow, showing their commitment to and confidence in the former Beaver. The Falcons are returning the majority of the Line in 2017, but our good friends over at The Falcoholic let us know that longtime starter Chris Chester was retiring from the NFL following the 2016 Season. As the article notes, the Falcons are in need of a new Right Guard heading into 2017, which will be the spot that Harlow will be competing for. He is not alone however, as returning players Ben Garland and Wes Schweitzer will be competing for the position along with newly acquired Hugh Thornton from the Colts who was signed this offseason to a one-year deal. Both Garland and Schweitzer have never started a game in the NFL however, with former 6th Rounder Schweitzer being a healthy scratch in every contest a year ago. This makes Harlow’s biggest competition for a starting role as a rookie, Hugh Thornton whom of which has some experience starting in the NFL. At the very least Harlow could find himself as a key backup as a rookie and the “6th” man for an already solid Offensive Line, with the ability to be the long-term option in Atlanta.
Harlow will have the ability to be eased into the lineup in Atlanta and be groomed into becoming a long-term starter for the Falcons. And has the luxury of being able to learn from one of the games best in Alex Mack. We may very well see an Andy Levitre (OSU Alum), Alex Mack, and Sean Harlow interior Offensive Line in Atlanta this year.
Read more about his combine numbers and his accomplishments while he was at Oregon State here. And read my previous article about how Harlow is the versatile lineman the Patriots (I was wrong on that part) were looking for.