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Falcons Sign Seven Players To Reserve/Future Contracts

In the immortal words of Radiohead, this list offers no surprises.

Basically, a reserve/future contract allows the Falcons to sign their practice squad to a contract that covers the 2011 season. That allows them some degree of control over the futures of these magnificent seven, all young players who spent all or part of the year as squadders.

A quick rundown of each? Don't mind if I do! Check it after the jump.

Center Rob Bruggeman: A big ol' center with some degree of run-blocking skill, Bruggeman is an in-house option to back up to Joe Hawley when and if Todd McClure retires. Until then, he's not extremely likely to sniff the active roster.

Guard Jose Valdez: Maybe the most intriguing prospect to spend time on the team's practice squad in 2010, Valdez is a hulking guard who has drawn some attention as a sleeper for a roster spot in 2011. My understanding is that he's a coat of polish away from winning a roster spot, especially if Harvey Dahl, Justin Blalock or both leave. Expect to hear his name again.

Defensive End Emmanuel Stephens: Stephens is a sort of low-upside defensive end who can, according to scouting reports, do a little bit of everything you like a defensive end to be able to do. That smells like a decent deserve to me.

TE Marquez Branson: Here's an interesting one. Branson actually has quite a bit of upside but is still rough around the edges as an NFL football player. The Falcons are going to be looking for a long-term replacement for Tony Gonzalez, and they may be inclined to give Branson a crack at breaking the depth chart as soon as 2011. He's the only guy the Falcons currently have under team control (Justin Peelle and Michael Palmer being the others) that might be able to start, in my opinion.

WR Tim Buckley: At 6'1", 185 pounds, Buckley's an average-sized wide receiver with an average pedigree from the proud institution of Alcorn State. He's supposed to be pretty sure-handed, so he could sniff the roster if the Falcons end up cutting ties with Brian Finneran in the off-season.

WR Brandyn Harvey: The other guy on the practice squad that I think has a real shot to contribute in the years ahead. Harvey's a big, physical wide receiver with average wheels, a guy who more so than Buckley might be the heir apparent to Finneran. Drops issue and route running kept him from making the team in 2010, but he'll get another shot.

WR Andy Strickland: More in the mold of Eric Weems. If the team ever decides they want to move Weems to a full-time receiver role, they could try Strickland out on returns, and the lanky receiver could be an option as a fifth or sixth receiver. I like Harvey's chances better, though.