The Falcons made some odd choices with their final roster that make it clear they’re not quite done building this thing, which is to be expected. You don’t often see a Falcons team with six cornerbacks, six receivers, four running backs, and only two defensive tackles.
As always after cuts, there are some legitimately useful players floating around out there. With only two true defensive tackles on the roster, some solid-but-unspectacular options at cornerback, and “only” three tight ends, it’s very possible Atlanta will elect to address positions of relative need with solid veterans. After reviewing the long list of cuts around the NFL, here are a few players we’d keep an eye on as waiver claims are processed and free agency revs back up.
Do bear in mind that the Falcons are 31st in the waiver wire order, which means they’re not going to get first crack at many players. Keep hope alive, though.
DT Ahtyba Rubin
An exceptionally solid run defender at defensive tackle, Rubin was cut by the Seahawks because they just acquired Sheldon Richardson from the Jets. That made the relatively one dimensional Rubin expendable for Seattle, which might have the best defensive front in football.
In Atlanta, Rubin would be the third defensive tackle with Ra’Shede Hageman suspended, and he’d play somewhat sparingly with Derrick Shelby and Jack Crawford also kicking inside. He’d be one of the better run stopping options on the roster, though, and would be a tremendous addition if he proved to be relatively inexpensive. He’s on the top of my personal wish list.
G John Greco
Atlanta’s done a strong job of building up their depth along the offensive line, but it’s possible they could still add depth, particularly if Austin Pasztor isn’t going to be ready in the relatively near future. Greco is still a useful player at 32, has a ton of experience as a starter and reserve, and is a former Cleveland Brown, which seems to count for something in Atlanta.
CB Pierre Desir
The Seahawks cut still hasn’t made much of an impact in the NFL, but he’s a 26-year-old, reasonably athletic cornerback who stands 6’2” and has starting experience. When you’re out shopping for a corner to take a flier on, you could do much worse, and I still think Desir has enough untapped upside to be the kind of solid #4 cornerback most contenders could use. With things unsettled right now—the Falcons kept six cornerbacks, but aside from C.J. Goodwin no one after the starting three has a ton of upside—Desir could be an option.
If the Falcons don’t want Desir, they could go for the next guy.
CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste
Jean-Baptiste has been cut by the cornerback-needy Saints and now the cornerback-loaded Jaguars, and I’m not suggesting he’s a solution to the Falcons’ depth issues at the position. If the team wants to go in a slightly different direction beyond C.J. Goodwin, however, Jean-Baptiste is an interesting option because of his size (he’s 6’3”, 218 pounds) and physicality, which he showed off in preseason.
DE Larry Webster
Webster was a player I liked a great deal when he came into the NFL Draft back in 2014, so this is admittedly a bit of a biased selection. But Webster has always been a tremendous athlete, and is young enough at 27 that he’d still be an intriguing pickup for a team that prizes speed and physicality over most other things. He’d be the 53rd man on the roster, but with the defensive end position shaking up a little bit a year from now with Adrian Clayborn and Courtney Upshaw hitting free agency, maybe he’d be worth a look.