The Atlanta Falcons are nearing the time for cuts. They'll be joined by 31 other NFL teams, and somewhere amongst the flotsam of jetsam of the jettisoned players will be some players with potential.
It doesn't guarantee the Falcons will go and pick anyone up, but there are a few names out there that might be worth a look. Some of them are former Falcons who might have a little familiarity with the system, while others are guys with talent who simply haven't shown it or have proven to be a terrible fit for their current teams.
It goes without saying that we're not talking about starters here. Even a veteran nickel back is going to be hard to come by, no matter how many inflatable shrines to Thomas Dimitroff you may build between now and the end of the week.
After the jump, I'll supply you with a few names worth checking out. Share yours, as well.
CB Bryant McFadden: This would answer your prayers, Falcons fans. McFadden has started, is still on the right side of 30--although only by a little bit--and piled up 81 tackles, two sacks, 10 pass deflections and two interceptions. If you want a veteran presence at nickel cornerback, McFadden's about as good as you're going to get.
The major questions that come to mind are whether the Falcons would be interested in bringing in a veteran, given their reluctance to do so up to this point, and whether McFadden will be cut. That's the rumor going around Pittsburgh, but I'll believe it when I see it.
RB Dmitri Nance: Last year's UDFA running back for the Falcons won a Super Bowl with the Packers last season. Nance isn't incredibly talented, but he's a strong runner with a little bit of shiftiness for a big guy. The Packers are likely to release him given the presence of Ryan Grant, James Starks and Alex Green.
If the Falcons decide to carry four backs, Nance would seem to be a superior option to Antone Smith and Gartrell Johnson, neither of whom have impressed thus far in 2011. I could definitely see the Falcons kicking his tires.
CB Justin Rogers: The Bills corner has barely seen the field yet, but that's life for a seventh-round pick in the NFL. He's fast and has decent size, and has the ability to be a factor on special teams. If the Falcons decide Darrin Walls and Kamaal McIlwain won't cut it as a fifth corner, they can take a shot at Rogers.
DE Jerry Hughes: Yes, the Falcons don't need any more bust defensive ends. But Jerry Hughes could be a decent outside linebacker, as he's got a ton of physical talent, and he's still extremely young. In terms of pure talent, he's probably an upgrade on most of the reserve linebackers on the roster, and the team could afford to stash him as a backup and let him grow. An intriguing possibility, if perhaps an unrealistic one.
OT David Mims: I would love to see this guy make it to the Falcons. He's a huge tackle, and even though he's a UDFA, Mims has considerable upside. The Chiefs seem to like him, too, so this is no sure thing. But I sure would like to see him get a chance to develop in Atlanta.