The Falcons haven’t even broken into their first organized team activities session yet, and they’re still tinkering with the roster. Such is the way of Dan Quinn.
This signing is a bit more noteworthy than most because the man in question isn’t an undrafted free agent or a regular free agent. He’s arriving in Atlanta from a different country and a different sport.
Craziest feeling right now. Words can't describe. I've signed for the @AtlantaFalcons !!!!! pic.twitter.com/7m5RNAWPHJ— Alex Gray (@AlexShaggyGray) May 25, 2017
Gray, who is listed at about 6’4” and 231 pounds, will apparently attempt to play tight end at the NFL level. He joins a crowded depth chart that features Austin Hooper, rookie fifth round pick Eric Saubert, steady veteran Levine Toilolo and intriguing youngsters like D.J. Tialavea and Josh Perkins. That’s a long-winded way of saying he’s guaranteed nothing, but you knew that.
What Gray does bring to the table is speed and physicality, two things Dan Quinn relentlessly covets, and two things that will always give him a shot. Besides Hooper and Toilolo, nobody’s guaranteed a spot on this roster, though Saubert should be able to hang on as a high-upside draft selection. If the Falcons choose to once again keep four tight ends, maybe we’ll see Gray make the cut.
Let’s see if the team confirms this move today. In the meantime, if you’ve ever seen Gray play rugby, let us know what you think!
Update: It sounds like the NFL is testing another international player program. We all remember Noriaki Kinoshita and him ever so briefly returning some kicks.
Interesting: NFL announces that each NFC South team gets an extra 11th practice squad spot for an international player who cant be activated pic.twitter.com/yJXmMm7u9z— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) May 25, 2017
Sounds like Gray will have a chance to develop, but doesn’t expect him to play in the regular season anytime soon.