It’s often said that if you’re on the roster bubble, one of the best ways to play yourself onto the roster is to be a useful special teamer. The logic here is obvious: If you’re going to make the team and you’re not going to get many snaps on offense or defense, you have to make an impact on teams.
That’s why it’s noteworthy that Keith Armstrong took the time to praise four rookies for their play on special teams. Three of those players are not surprising choices, and one kind of is.
Special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong said Duke Riley, Eric Saubert and Jermaine Grace are a few players who have stood out so far— Kelsey Conway (@FalconsKelsey) August 23, 2017
Riley is making this team and likely starting, so his special teams play is just a nice bonus. Grace has been one of the most impressive undrafted free agents, and has a legitimate chance of making the team as the last linebacker. Davis has been a stellar wide receiver, and if the team keeps six at the position, he’s as good of a bet as anybody.
The surprise here is that Saubert has been singled out for special teams play, because I didn’t see a lot of standout plays when I watched him over the last two weeks. Armstrong has a better eye for that than I do, obviously, but this is a hopeful note for a player who has struggled to make an impact on offense thus far, and it greatly increases his chances of making the 53 man roster when all is said and done.
The Falcons have an excellent problem at the moment, which is a talented roster that barely has any room for rookies like these who could legitimately contribute. I’m hopeful all four of these guys will at least stick on the practice squad—besides Riley, who is again a lock—and find a way to contribute down the line.