We’re a ways away from knowing what the incoming crop of Falcons undrafted free agents will look like, but we do know this: We’re likely to see at least one of those players make the final roster.
Of the four UDFAs who have made the roster out of the gate in the Dan Quinn era, two have had major roles (Brian Poole, Terron Ward) and two others have carved out playing time (Josh Perkins, Robenson Therezie). The reality of roster building in the modern era is that filling out the back end of your roster with some high-upside, low-cost players, particularly in years when you have limited draft resources. The Falcons will almost certainly do so again.
The question is, how many will they carry?
Here’s a look at the rookie undrafted free agents the Falcons kept over the past five seasons.
Falcons UDFAs by year, 2012-2016
2016: CB Brian Poole, TE Josh Perkins
2015: RB Terron Ward, S Robenson Therezie
2014: C James Stone
2013: LB Joplo Bartu, LB Paul Worrilow, RB Josh Vaughan, T Terren Jones
2012: LS Josh Harris, WR Kevin Cone
You’ll note that by and large, the Falcons haven’t kept more than two UDFAs on the roster in a given year in recent history, and they’re averaging exactly two in Dan Quinn’s tenure. The outlier year is 2013, when the Falcons kept four UDFAs, with Bartu and Worrilow landing major roles right out of the gate. So I’d say, particularly with a largely finished roster, that the Falcons won’t keep more than two this season.
If I had to make a bet on which positions, I’d wager cornerback (where the Falcons are always tinkering) and linebacker (where they seem unlikely to add the multiple players they need). How about you?