The Atlanta Falcons today announced that they have promoted guard Ben Garland to the 53-man roster from the practice squad. They have also signed wide receivers R.J. Harris and Jordan Leslie, defensive end Dontay Moch, and linebacker Curtis Grant to the practice squad. The Falcons have also placed safety William Moore on injured reserve, waived wide receiver Leonard Hankerson off of injured reserve, and waived wide receiver Devon Wylie off the practice squad.
These are the kind of moves you make when you're out of contention and you want to add a few guys worth a look over the last three weeks and into 2016. Garland is the headliner here, a 27-year-old guard who played in eight games with the Broncos a year ago and has been on the practice squad most of the season. With Chris Chester on a one year deal and Andy Levitre looking shaky, the relatively young guard could be a future option for the Falcons as at least a reserve, and Atlanta's smart to take a look.
Harris is a 23-year-old wide receiver who spent a little time with the Saints and came to the NFL as an undrafted free agent who drew praise for his ability to make plays on the ball, even if he doesn't have a superb all-around skill set. With a pretty weak receiving corps, this is another flyer that makes some sense, and he's from my alma mater!
Leslie is a 24-year-old receiver hailing from the stacked receiver land of Jacksonville, where he was unlikely to get run any time soon. He's pretty tall, came out of college with a fairly polished ability to run routes, and has enough speed and physicality to be dangerous. Maybe he'll develop into something.
Dontay Moch is a blazing fast defensive end who once ran a 4.4 40 yard dash, but his production has been disappointing ever since he was selected in the 3rd round back in 2011. Now 27, Moch will hope a new coaching staff can unlock some ability we just haven't seen yet, though I'm skeptical.
Finally, there's Grant, an undrafted linebacker from this year's class who brings a reputation as an aggressive, physical linebacker without the ability to swiftly change direction. As is the case with wide receiver, linebacker is such a weakness for the Falcons that it's possible Grant will carve out a small role down the line.
These are all underwhelming moves, but they're the right kind of moves for a Falcons team that has floundered so badly that the future's all that's left. Garland will get a chance to prove he belongs on the active roster next year, the team's young safeties will get the opportunity to play for jobs without William Moore here, and these four practice squadders give the Falcons some young talent to at least attempt to mold. Given the state of the team, any young talent is welcome.