The Atlanta Falcons pared their roster down about ten minutes shy of last night's deadline, leaving them with 53 players. That could be the end of it, but it won't be.
With teams cutting dozens and dozens of players before 6 p.m. last night, there's a raft of available players out there. The grand majority of those players are not worth considering for the Falcons, but given roster needs and some of the talent that did wind up in the street, it's a safe bet the Falcons aren't done making moves yet.
The likeliest cuts come at the two deepest positions. The Falcons don't really need five backs, and could trim Antone Smith or Josh Vaughan to make room. It also seems unlikely that the Falcons will carry five safeties into the season, meaning Kemal Ishmael, Zeke Motta or Shann Schillinger could be out of work soon.
Here's a look at where the Falcons might be looking to upgrade, and a couple of possibilities at each position.
I'm fairly convinced the Falcons are rolling with Dominique Davis behind Matt Ryan, but I'm not 100% certain. Davis had his ups and downs in preseason, and there's a few veteran options out there who might represent a safer selection.
Unfortunately, all those guys have flaws. The Falcons could kick the tires on John Skelton, who has a big arm and starting experience but pretty brutal numbers. They could also shoot for a Brady Quinn or David Carr if they want the experience, but Davis has more upside than either.
Don't rule it out, in other words, but don't anticipate it.
Kevin Cone isn't necessarily a lock. If the Falcons like the special teams prowess of a guy like Tavarres King or Chris Harper, two 2013 mid-round picks who found themselves on the chopping block.
Otherwise, the Falcons are probably fine here.
By far the likeliest spot for an upgrade.
The Falcons like Harland Gunn and Joe Hawley on the interior, but if Sam Baker or Lamar Holmes should go down, online UDFAs Ryan Schraeder and Terren Jones would be left standing. Jones is a major long-term project, so that's frightening.
If they're simply looking for players who have been around a little while and have some upside, guys like Andrew Datko and Zebrie Sanders are available. If they're looking for experienced veteran depth, someone like Tony Pashos might just fit the bill. Either way, I'd be stunned if the Falcons didn't ink a tackle at some point in the next few days.
There's also a chance, albeit small, that the Falcons pursue a starting right tackle. Given the options available, they would probably need to trade to find an upgrade, but a healthy Max Starks could be useful.
As it stands, the Falcons have just four and Cliff Matthews, who is capable of kicking over from end when called upon. That's not a ton of depth, especially considering that
Adam Replogle should be on the practice squad, but the Falcons may want to add another piece to the rotation. There are a few decent options, including former Seahawk Clinton McDonald and Alameda Ta'amu. Unfortunately, aside from McDonald, many of these guys come with significant red flags due to injury or ineffectiveness. The Falcons should be praying Travian Robertson steps up.
I'm a huge Joplo Bartu and Paul Worrilow fan, but the Falcons need to at least take a closer look at the pile out here. I'd rather the team carried six linebackers than five safeties, all things considered, and guys like Thomas Keiser, Dontay Moch and Jermaine Cunningham do have upside.
File this one under relatively unlikely, however.
Where would you like to see the Falcons looking for free agent help, if anywhere?
More from The Falcoholic:
- 2013 NFL Roster Cuts: The Atlanta Falcons 53 Following The Deadline
- Falcons Roster Cuts: Atlanta Down To 53 After Nine Cuts
- 2013 NFL Roster Cuts: Noteworthy Cuts From Around The League
- Falcons Roster Cuts: Deadline Day Open Thread
- Brian Banks Cut Was Inevitable, But The Falcons Will Find A Way To Keep Him Around