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Breaking down roster battle implications from Falcons-Cardinals

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There’s a ton of roster battles which haven’t officially been settled, but we’re seeing more clarity.

Arizona Cardinals v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The starters got more run than usual against the Cardinals, but the roster battles raging up and down the depth chart were all addressed in Saturday night’s game, nonetheless. We’re getting awfully close to getting clarity into these battles, which is exciting after a long summer of waiting.

Here’s our update on every roster battle we’ve been tracking. You’ll note that swing tackle is still considered settled, I no longer think Alek Torgersen is genuinely in play as the third quarterback, and returner is going to Andre Roberts, so none of those are on this list.

Here’s what’s left.

Running back

To me, this is more or less settled. If the Falcons keep three running backs, Terron Ward is probably the guy, and Brian Hill is probably headed to the practice squad or injured reserve, depending on the status of his ankle. Ward has been impressive as a runner, has shown the ability to catch the football, blocks well, and offers special teams value, so I’d be surprised if he found himself out of a job. If the team decides to keep four backs, Hill should make the active roster.

Wide receiver

This is extremely unsettled. Marvin Hall and Reggie Davis has been impressive and both have proven useful on special teams, Anthony Dable looks strong and fast as a wide receiver, and Nick Williams is still lurking as a useful special teamer and short receiving option. If the Falcons keep six receivers, which is a distinct possibility, my bet is still on Hall or Davis, but I genuinely don’t know who will win this. It adds a little intrigue to that last preseason game.cons keep six receivers,

Tight end

Eric Saubert had his best preseason game yet, and given his upside, that’s probably enough to stick around. If the Falcons don’t keep four tight ends, he’s probably it, but Josh Perkins is still my bet for fourth tight end despite his quiet preseason.

Right guard

Still nominally unsettled, though my bet continues to be Wes Schweitzer, who is younger and continues to play very well. Garland hasn’t done anything to play himself out of the battle, but given that he’s seven years older, on a one year deal, and has more experience playing center, he seems like the logical choice to be a reserve when all is said and done.

Defensive end

Courtney Upshaw continues to play well, Brooks Reed is a useful player, and Adrian Clayborn is legitimately good, so there’s just not much room left for the likes of J’Terius Jones and Chris Odom. If there’s one more spot left—or the team is looking to clear out a little cap space—my bet would be on Jones.

Linebacker

Josh Keyes and Jermaine Grace are competing for a sixth linebacker spot, if one exists, or a fifth one if LaRoy Reynolds turns out to have a long-term ailment. Keyes has shown his value on special teams, while Grace has more upside. I think Grace is the better bet.

Cornerback

C.J. Goodwin played better last night, despite allowing a touchdown, and I still think his special teams value makes him a logical choice for a roster spot. If the Falcons keep five cornerbacks (or even more), it’s going to come down to Deji Olatoye, Akeem King, and Jarnor Jones. Olatoye is more experienced and I think has more talent than the other two, but he hasn’t distinguished himself to this point, which should make things interesting. I’d still go Goodwin and Olatoye.


Who do you have winning these battles?