We're getting all meta up in here today. For those of you who haven't seen it, D. Orlando Ledbetter took an educated guess at what the final roster will be.
Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't plug the fact that I'll be doing my final roster guess after the final pre-season game. But given how far off I'm likely to be on that guess, looking at what DOL came up with is probably more instructive.
Essentially, I'm going to ignore the widely prognosticated stuff—Matt Ryan, Chris Redman and John Parker Wilson for quarterback seems like an easy one—and dive into a handful his most intriguing predictions. If you care to join me on this little journey, hit the jump. Be sure to read his whole article, too.
DOL plays this one vanilla, going with Tony Gonzalez, Justin Peelle and Keith Zinger. I certainly don't think you can bet against Gonzo and Peelle, but I think Zinger might have a little competition.
He mentions Michael Palmer as a long shot, but he's a guy I've come to think of as a legitimate competitor. The Clemson tight end has flashed some pass catching chops against backup defenses, and he's got a little bit of blocking ability from what I've seen of him. Zinger is a very capable blocker, but he offers little offensively. One more good performance could mean Palmer's edging out Zinger, or at least grabbing a spot on the practice squad.
I present you a quote:
Trey Lewis has made it tough for the Falcons to cut him. He arguably has had the best preseason along the defensive line.
DOL goes on to predict that Lewis will make the final roster, with Vance Walker and Thomas Johnson very much on the roster bubble. This is interesting to me for any number of reasons.
First of all, Lewis is not a Mike Smith guy. He was drafted by Bobby Petrino & Co. back in 2007, and he's battled injuries ever since. Thomas Johnson was solid enough last season, with a couple of exceptions, and Vance Walker showed considerable promise. Ledbetter also has us keeping only four true defensive tackles, with Jamaal Anderson presumably serving in his swing role as the fifth.
But it's striking to see DOL praise Lewis so highly. From what I've seen of him thus far this pre-season, he's performed well and looked like he's playing against the run with alacrity, but Lewis has hardly been a standout in my eyes. I do like the idea of someone his size occupying multiple blockers and freeing up our edge rushers, though. If he's earning it, I'm more than happy to welcome Lewis into the fold.
Six linebackers in all, and most of them are guys you'd expect. There's one interesting note here: No Bear Woods.
I'll wait for your screams of outrage to pass. DOL lists him as a long shot, and predicts that savvy vet Coy Wire and young speedster Spencer Adkins will both make the final roster. I've been predicting Adkins will stick for a while now, but it's suprising to see both he and Wire making it when Woods has looked like a pretty good value for an undrafted rookie.
Personally, I'd hope to see Woods and Adkins both make it, though I'll be the first to acknowledge that leaves us dangerously thin on experience. I do believe talent should win out, and I think both have the ability to develop into quality reserves and guys who can contribute on special teams. Wire should only win if he's truly outplaying those guys, and not just because he's got an older number on his birth certificate.
I couldn't possibly end this anywhere else.
Cornerback has been a debate point for years now, and there's been a sharp divide between those who believe Brian Williams was a good cornerback in 2009 and those of us who have working optic nerves. Whether it's for quality of play, injuries or age, DOL has B-Will firmly on the roster bubble.
With Sean Weatherspoon likely to start over Stephen Nicholas and not Mike Peterson—we'll get into that later today, I promise—it's a relief to see the team's beat writer pushing Williams off the roster. I don't wish him badly and I don't believe he's awful, but he's at best average, and the Falcons have a lot of young cornerbacks who could be a lot more than that. Crossing my fingers on this one, and hoping Williams will land on his feet elsewhere.
Ledbetter also locks in Chris Owens as the nickel back....which I find a little puzzling. In my honest opinion, nothing he's done on the field thus far has put him below Brent Grimes, and while Grimey's been solid, he hasn't distinguished himself. I still believe you'll see Dunta Robinson, Owens, Grimes, Chevis Jackson and Dominique Franks, in that order.
Also, he's not exactly stacking the depth chart at safety. You have Thomas DeCoud, Erik Coleman, William Moore and Shann Schillinger. I'd much prefer the versatile Schillinger makes the roster over Matt Giordano, if for no other reason than the fact that Schillinger hits like a steel train.
So those are my thoughts. Add yours to the conversation!