While most fans are ready for the regular season to begin, I thought it might be worthwhile to take a look back at the overall performance of individual players during the preseason based on their PFF scores. After all, there were several surprises when the wave of cuts came through, with still more possible. These scores may provide some insight into why some guys made the roster while others didn't.
Of the top performers this preseason, none was more impressive than WR Nick Williams, who earned an overall +3.1 for the preseason. Some key guys on the offensive line scored positively as well, including OT Jake Matthews (+1.4), OG Jon Asamoah (+1.6), and OL Mike Person (+1.6). Other notable scores: Julio Jones (+1.6), Leonard Hankerson (+1.2) and WR Carlton Mitchell (+1.3).
On the flip side, no one had a worse preseason than James Stone, whose -9.4 is 3.5 points "ahead" of second runner up HB Jerome Smith (-5.9). RB Terron Ward's -5.5 doesn't inspire confidence either. On the offensive line, some scores were really offensive starting with OL Jared Smith (-4.8), Jake Rodgers (-4.6) and OT Ryan Schraeder (-4.5). Other notable scores: QB TJ Yates (-3.7), WR Justin Hardy (-3.1), TE Jacob Tamme (-1.8), OT Tyler Polumbus (-1.5) and C Joe Hawley (-1.5).
If free agency is more about finding value than signing big names, the Falcons may have hit it out of the park with Adrian Clayborn and O'Brien Schofield. The DE/DT and DE/OLB have notched a +7.0 and +4.1 overall scores, respectively. Their +7.2 and +2.6 pass rush scores bring hope that the Falcons will improve on their woeful sack performances in 2013 and 2014. Other notable scores: LB Paul Worrilow (+3.8), DT Paul Soliai (+2.8), DT Jonathan Babineaux (+1.7) and DE/OLB Kroy Biermann (+1.3).
On the opposite side of the spectrum, LB Allen Bradford (-8.5) showed he may stay a special teams player for now. DE Malliciah Goodman also struggled with an overall -4.9. Other notable names: DB Jalen Collins (-4.2), DT Joey Mbu (-4.5), DT Grady Jarrett (-2.1), DB Charles Godfrey (-1.9) and DB Kemal Ishmael (-1.3).
For many of these guys, their special teams performance was their key to making the roster. Guys who helped their case included Kemal Ishmael (+3.0), Kevin White (+2.5) and Allen Bradford (+2.5).
Guys whose special teams scores may have hurt them include: Travis Howard (-2.5), Sean Baker (-2.5) and Carlton Mitchell (-2.0).
As for the "core" guys, Josh Harris netted a -1.5, Matt Bosher +8.4 and Matt Bryant +14X∞
Are there any scores you were surprised by?