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Final Atlanta Falcons 53 man roster prediction before cutdown

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One final guess.

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

We should know what the Atlanta Falcons roster is going to look like sometime within the next 36 hours or so, and while that may seem like a long wait at the moment, the time will fly by. Atlanta will end up with a final roster and practice squad that will likely turn out to be anything but as they tinker with its construction via free agent and waiver additions in the days ahead.

So long as we get to the strongest possible Falcons roster considering circumstance and salary cap, we’ll all be happy. That doesn’t mean we don’t want one more bite at the apple when it comes to guessing the final roster, though.

I’m going to borrow Kevin Knight’s formatting here because his 53 man rosters have been so good and so thorough. You should check out his pre-Week 4 of preseason prediction, which will probably turn out to be more accurate than my own.

OFFENSE - 25

QB - 2

QB Matt Ryan
QB Matt Schaub

Matt Ryan is elite, Matt Schaub is capable of holding a clipboard with a look of steely determination in his eyes. The Falcons may not even carry a third option on the practice squad initially.

RB - 3

RB Devonta Freeman
RB Tevin Coleman
RB Terron Ward

I have a feeling Brian Hill’s going to hit injured reserve today or wind up on the practice squad. I like his long-term outlook a lot, but Ward is a do-everything back who had an excellent preseason and has experience with this team, so he deserves the spot. I can’t see the team rolling out four backs.

FB - 1

FB Derrick Coleman

Coleman’s a steady veteran with connections to Dan Quinn from his Seattle days, and the Falcons simply didn’t give him a ton of competition. He should do a fine job as the lead blocker for this team.

WR - 6

WR Julio Jones
WR Mohamed Sanu
WR Taylor Gabriel
WR Justin Hardy
WR Andre Roberts
WR Marvin Hall

In the end, the margin between Reggie Davis and Marvin Hall is a razor thin one, but the Falcons had to like what they saw from Hall as a receiver more than Davis on Thursday night, and Hall has pretty consistently played well as a receiver and special teamer aside from a mistake here and there. They’ll keep him around as insurance for Andre Roberts, and Davis should make the practice squad.

TE - 4

TE Austin Hooper
TE Levine Toilolo
TE Josh Perkins
TE Eric Saubert

Four tight ends again! The Falcons got Josh Perkins quickly into the game and back out, which makes me think he’ll probably make this roster. Saubert is a project with a ton of upside, and the Falcons will carry him as a gameday inactive initially until he’s ready to move by Perkins, who will play sparingly as well.

OL - 9

LT Jake Matthews
LG Andy Levitre
C Alex Mack
RG Wes Schweitzer
RT Ryan Schraeder

T Austin Pasztor
G/C Ben Garland
G/C Cornelius Edison
G Sean Harlow

This is the spot where the Falcons should and probably will end up signing an additional player, which could put one of Marvin Hall, Josh Perkins or Eric Saubert off the roster. These four backups are all steady enough and give the Falcons some workable depth, and the team should keep a couple guys on the practice squad, but this is no one’s idea of an ideal situation. Then again, if you’re talking about starting offensive linemen being hurt, nothing is an ideal situation.


DEFENSE - 25

EDGE - 3

EDGE Vic Beasley
EDGE Takkarist McKinley
EDGE Brooks Reed

Reed isn’t anyone’s favorite player, but he’s a solid rotational end who can rush the passer and is solid against the run. Beasley and McKinley could become one of the NFC’s deadliest pass rushing duos sooner rather than later.

DE/DT - 5

DE/DT Adrian Clayborn
DE/DT Jack Crawford
DE/DT Derrick Shelby
DE/DT Courtney Upshaw
DE/DT Chris Odom

Odom has been stellar, and if there’s any justice and any room on this roster, he’ll find his way on it. J’Terius Jones will be a tough cut, but he should make it to the practice squad. Otherwise, this is a strong inside/outside group that gives the Falcons a ton of options up front.

DT - 3

DT Grady Jarrett
DT Dontari Poe
DT Ra’shede Hageman

No surprises here. Jarrett and Poe should be dominant, while Hageman provides quality depth in addition to the dudes above who can all rotate inside if they need to.

LB - 5

LB Deion Jones
LB Duke Riley
LB De’Vondre Campbell
LB Kemal Ishmael
LB Jermaine Grace

I’m concerned LaRoy Reynolds is going to need to go to IR, which opens up a spot for Grace. He had a couple of shaky moments last night but has consistently been one of the team’s better UDFA defenders throughout the summer, and should be a fine addition to this roster, at least temporarily. Outside of Grace, this is a stellar group of linebackers.

CB - 5

CB Desmond Trufant
CB Robert Alford
CB Brian Poole
CB C.J. Goodwin
CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson

Jarnor Jones and Akeem King had bad nights, which more or less paves the road for Goodwin and Wreh-Wilson, who looked quite good and fulfills his destiny as the Charles Godfrey Memorial Veteran who the team just won’t get rid of. Aside from the offensive line, this is the position group where the Falcons seem likeliest to add a veteran player, because they’ll be without Jalen Collins for ten games and Goodwin and Wreh-Wilson are solid but not stellar players.

SS - 2

SS Keanu Neal
SS Sharrod Neasman

Neal is great, Neasman is a talented player who can grow into a nice backup. Easy choices.

FS - 2

FS Ricardo Allen
FS Damontae Kazee

Kazee looked like he might be immediate competition for Allen, but he’ll wait until 2018 to get his turn unless injury hits. Allen easily held on to his job, and Kazee is the obvious choice as a backup.


SPECIAL TEAMS - 3

K Matt Bryant
P Matt Bosher
LS Josh Harris

Mike Meyer looked good this summer, but he was never going to beat out a healthy Matt Bryant. This is a terrific group, as you’d expect, and Andre Roberts is the easy choice as the team’s returner.


PRACTICE SQUAD - 10

  • QB Alek Torgersen - The Falcons will probably go get a quarterback from elsewhere if they really want a third one on their practice squad, but hell, maybe Torgersen sticks around. I’m holding out hope because I think he can eventually become a solid backup.
  • RB Kelvin Taylor - Presuming Hill hits injured reserve, which I think is a strong possibility at this point, the Falcons will want to keep a fourth back around. Taylor ran well since joining the team and had a particularly strong effort in the fourth preseason game running behind a wall of garbage. He stays.
  • DE J’Terius Jones - The Falcons aren’t keeping a lot of true EDGE-type players in this roster construction, and Jones was about as impressive as anybody this preseason. He deserves a spot here.
  • WR Reggie Davis - He had a terrific summer, looked like one of the faster and more dynamic young receiver options in Atlanta throughout, and has some special teams value. He should be here, and I expect he will.
  • S Quincy Mauger - We have to see how serious his injury is, but Mauger was solid, and I no longer think Akeem King is going to hang around. If he’s hurt, the Falcons might keep Marcelis Branch or go hunting for a safety option on the waiver wire.
  • TE Darion Griswold - The team already has four tight ends, but Dan Quinn himself praised Griswold and he did
  • OT D.J. Tialavea - Tialavea played far better than his recent conversion to tackle would suggest, even if he got torn apart the last couple of weeks of preseason. I think he’s a worthwhile project, at the very least.
  • LB Josh Keyes - He lost out to Jermaine Grace, but Keyes is a solid tackler and useful special teamer who makes a lot of sense as a practice squadder for another season.
  • OT Andreas Knappe - This is a pure guess. The Falcons gave Daniel Brunskill a ton of run this preseason and may have seen more to like in his play—and particularly his time in practice—than we did as fans. I’m going to presume here that they got a long look and weren’t enamored, which gives the hulking Knappe a chance to hang around.
  • CB Deji Olatoye - Olatoye is still eligible for the practice squad, which means he gets shunted there for the moment, assuming he clears waivers. Chances are good he’ll make it back to the active roster at some point in the year, though, as he looked pretty good in his limited playing time in 2016.
  • TE Alex Gray. He’s the 11th international player here, and we’ll see what he turns into.

This is a strong, capable roster with a couple of worrisome holes. The team is lacking strong offensive line depth, particularly at tackle and guard, and will likely go hunting for help for either the active roster or the practice squad. They’re also very likely to take a hard look at cornerback with that position unsettled beyond their top three. Otherwise, there are not that many surprises here, aside from three undrafted free agents sticking on the final roster thanks to injury and impressive performances over the summer.

This would be a fine football team, in my estimation. How about you?