The Atlanta Falcons used a fifth round draft pick on hard-charging running back Brian Hill, likely with an eye on making him a long-term backup option behind Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, or both. They took a risk when they cut him and signed him to the practice squad, but with Freeman suffering a concussion Sunday against the Cowboys, it seemed inevitable that the Falcons would find a way to get him on the roster as their third running back for as long as Free was out.
Instead, they’ve lost him to the Cincinnati Bengals, who signed him off the team’s practice squad. The team’s willingness to gamble with Hill now looks a bit costly, especially if they liked him as much as his draft status indicates they did.
NEWS: #Bengals make the following roster moves:— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) November 14, 2017
-Sign RB Brian Hill
-Sign CB Sojourn Shelton to practice squad
-Waive LB Hardy Nickerson
The Falcons are down to Tevin Coleman and Terron Ward now, and while Coleman can carry the load and Ward is a perfectly legitimate backup, they’ll have to go snag another option to ensure they have healthy bodies. That could be a familiar face like Jhurrell Pressley to the practice squad, or it could be a veteran back like Chris Johnson joining the active roster. It likely depends on how comfortable the Falcons are with just Coleman and Ward, and how long they suspect Freeman will be in the league’s concussion protocol.
Either way, it’s disappointing to lose an interesting young back the Falcons invested some draft capital in, no matter how unready he looked during preseason. We’ll hope the decision to carry him on the practice squad doesn’t haunt the Falcons down the line, and we’ll hope they figure out their Freeman injury contingency plan sooner rather than later.