The Falcons haven't always drafted well, and not every signing has been a brilliant one. In some instances, the team realizes that fairly early and cuts ties, a la Ray Edwards. Sometimes it takes a little longer.
With all the additions to the roster this off-season, however, it's fair to wonder if a few familiar Falcons will be moving on in the next couple of months.When teams can get younger and cheaper while getting just about the same value, they tend to do so, and that could spell doom for more than a couple of players.
Here's my list of possibilities:
RB Jason Snelling
Big Snell has been a fixture on this team since 2008, when he was a seventh-round pick. His blocking, pass-catching and short-yardage running kept him on the team this long, and in a perfect world he'd be with the Falcons for a few more years.
Unfortunately for Snelling, the Falcons brought in a couple of promising young UDFA types who might be able to approximate his value on the cheap. Ronnie Wingo in particular seems like a possibility, given his well-rounded set of skills.
I hope this one doesn't happen, but don't rule it out.
G/C Joe Hawley
This is also a bit of a longshot, but it's a possibility.
The Falcons have been building talent at guard with some savvy UDFA signings and picking up guys like Jacques McClendon off the scrap heap. Hawley flopped as a starting right guard two years ago, got that four game suspension a year ago and has to be looking over his shoulder at the likes of Philipkeith Manley right about now.
In the end, his versatility and the fact that he's the only established backup option at center will probably keep him on the roster, but the Falcons could let him go if they really like Harland Gunn.
DEs Cliff Matthews/Jonathan Massaquoi
This is a numbers game. Matthews and Massaquoi have Osi Umenyiora, Malliciah Goodman, Stansly Maponga and Kroy Biermann ahead of them on the depth chart at this point, given draft position and past production. Biermann could get some time at linebacker, which would open up a spot, but the Falcons are still unlikely to carry six defensive ends.
Massaquoi has more upside than Matthews, but Matthews is excellent on special teams and has already shown he can be a contributor as a run-stopping end. I don't expect both of them to make the final roster.
CB Dominique Franks
Maybe the most obvious choice.
Franks was let go briefly last year before the injury to Brent Grimes brought him back. He has a nice blend of size and athleticism, but has never harnessed it into anything more than flashes at cornerback. Franks was also putrid as a punt returner last year, and now has Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford ahead of him, not to mention Peyton Thompson and Terrance Johnson hanging around and offering at least some competition. I don't think he'll make the final roster.
Who are your picks for players who might get the axe?