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Falcons roster cuts 2016: Breaking down Atlanta’s road to a 75 man roster

The Falcons made nine cuts yesterday. What do they mean for the roster?

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons went ahead and trimmed their roster all the way down to 75 players on Saturday, leaving them all set on cuts unless they sign Dashon Goldson, in which case another player will be heading out the door.

Here’s the list, in case you forgot:

  • QB Sean Renfree
  • S Sergio Brown
  • RB Gus Johnson
  • G Michael Huey
  • WR Jordan Leslie
  • DE Brandon Williams
  • CB Ryan White
  • TE Arthur Lynch
  • LB Ivan McLennan

With those cuts, the picture is a little clarified at these positions, as we’ll discuss below. Obviously the big cuts are still to come, but we now know who is truly left and competing.


Who is left: Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, Matt Simms

This is all sort of a no-brainer at this point. Ryan is the starter, Schaub is the obvious backup, and Simms is the guy they’re going to stash on the practice squad as a third quarterback. Renfree simply fell out of favor with this coaching staff.

Running Back

Who is left: Tevin Coleman, Devonta Freeman, Terron Ward, Cyrus Gray, Brandon Wilds

Freeman and Coleman are locked in as the top two backs, and both are going to get a ton of touches in 2016. That leaves the third spot between Wilds, Gray, and Ward. I have to think Wilds is the favorite, given his production, though Ward looms because he appears to be a Kyle Shanahan favorite, even though he hasn’t played at all this preseason.

Wide Receiver

Who is left: Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Justin Hardy, Aldrick Robinson, Devin Fuller, Eric Weems, Nick Williams, Corey Washington, J.D. McKissic

This is still a crowded position group, but things have clarified greatly. We can pen in Julio, Sanu, Hardy, and Robinson as the top four, with McKissic, Weems, Fuller, and Williams competing for 1-2 spots at the bottom of the position group. Right now, McKissic and Fuller have to be considered the favorites.

Tight End

Who is left: Jacob Tamme, Austin Hooper, D.J. Tialavea, Levine Toilolo, Josh Perkins

Again, this is pretty settled at the top, with Tamme and Hooper locked in. The third spot is likely going to come down to Tialavea and Toilolo (with Tialavea as the favorite at the moment) and Perkins should hit the practice squad.


Who is left: Andy Levitre, Chris Chester, Wes Schweitzer, Laurence Gibson, Tom Compton, Ben Garland, Mike Person, Collin Rahrig

This is a crowded position! Levitre, Chester, and Schweitzer are in, Compton is likely to make the team as a backup tackle/guard hybrid, and Garland and Person are competing for a spot. I wouldn’t say that Gibson or Rahrig is likely to make the roster.

Defensive End

Who is left: Vic Beasley, Dwight Freeney, Derrick Shelby, Adrian Clayborn, Ra’Shede Hageman, Nordly Capi, Malliciah Goodman

There’ll be a lot of switching here, but the first five names on this list have roster spots. Goodman is probably out, and Capi is set for a practice squad spot at this point with both Williams and McLennan on the way out.


Who is left: Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford, Jalen Collins, Akeem King, C.J. Goodwin, Brian Poole, Demarcus Van Dyke, Devonte Johnson

It’s crowded here, too, but things are less clear at the bottom of the depth chart. Devonte Johnson won’t be here, Van Dyke hasn’t shown enough to hang around, and Goodwin, King, and Poole should be competing for two spots.


Who is left: Keanu Neal, Ricardo Allen, Robenson Therezie, Kemal Ishmael, Damian Parms, Sharrod Neasman

A Dashon Goldson signing could change everything here, but right now it’s Neal, Allen, Therezie, and Ishmael during the regular season (once Neal is healthy) and Parms and Neasman fighting over a temporary reserve role. I’d like Neasman to hang around, but I think it’ll be Parms if Goldson doesn’t wind up here.