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Who were the biggest surprise Falcons roster cuts?

There were a handful of names that were a little surprising, though nothing truly stunning.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

If you were fretting about Jonathan Babineaux getting cut, dreaming about the day Tyson Jackson leaves this roster, or wondering about longtime special teams stalwart Eric Weems, it turns out you waste some valuable worrying/wondering time. Sorry about that.

The Falcons cut down to their 53 man roster earlier today, and while there were a handful of small surprises, there simply wasn’t anything shocking this year. That’s partly a product of having a well-defined group of starters and partly just because the coaching staff’s way of divvying up preseason playing time didn’t leave a ton in doubt.

Here are three players who qualify as at least mild surprises, though.

Akeem King

King seemed like a virtual lock to be the team’s third or fourth cornerback, so it was surprising to see him land on injured reserve. It’s anyone’s guess whether the injury is really going to keep him out for the entire season or if the Falcons saw an opportunity to stash a player who didn’t stand out this offseason, but either way, King isn’t around.

The Falcons have only four cornerbacks, so this is a position to keep a close eye on.

J.D. McKissic

The undrafted rookie receiver was this year’s preseason darling after a few huge returns and some quality play at both receiver and generally on special teams, so it was a mild surprise to see him cut while Eric Weems and Nick Williams stuck on the roster. Both Weems and Williams have some return value, special teams value, and value as receivers within this offense, though, so this is simply Kyle Shanahan going with fit and experience above all else.

McKissic is this year’s Bernard Reedy, and I don’t mean that in a dismissive way. Reedy, you’ll recall, was also a preseason darling who showed well as a receiver and special teamer and didn’t make the final roster, sparking outrage that lasted (and I am not exaggerating) years. Reedy has never made a catch in the regular season and just got cut by the Buccaneers, and it’s worth keeping in mind that UDFA wide receivers do come and go. We’ll just hope McKissic is different.

Joey Mbu

From a positional standpoint, it’s not surprise the Falcons would elect to carry more players at wide receiver, along the offensive line, and in the secondary, and thus it’s not shocking that Mbu lost out. I thought he played quite well this summer, though, and hopefully he’ll at least hit the practice squad.

There really weren’t many other surprises along the way, I have to say, even if I didn’t quite nail my 53 man roster projection (sigh). The most intriguing thing of all might be where the Falcons go from here, because players like Williams, Ben Garland, and Mike Person may not be 100% safe if the team elects to get a fifth cornerback.