Many of us thought this Falcons roster was strong before the preseason started. That still holds true today. If anything, the addition of athletic backups like Jermaine Grace have added an element of depth that we didn’t necessarily see before camp got here. Right now, the defense appears to have the best depth at most positions. Linebacker and defensive end are particularly strong. Cornerback is a little dubious after CB3, and we seem very thin at defensive tackle. However, the defense appears to be loaded otherwise. On the offensive side of the ball, our OL depth could be better, and tight end appears to be Austin Hooper and a lot of bleh after him. However, when your biggest complains are about the depth at certain positions, your roster is in very good shape.
This may have been the least shocking roster cutdown in a decade. Surprising cuts? None. Surprising players who made the roster? Jermaine Grace. Maybe Brian Hill and Eric Saubert, both rookies that showed they weren’t ready to play. Ra’Shede Hageman was a surprise move to the “suspended but not really suspended” list. No surprises yet, but we will see if the Falcons continue to churn the bottom of this roster before next week’s game.
I think it goes without saying too much that this is the best Falcons team ever. We grew stronger in important areas, mainly on defense, and we didn’t lose anyone that wasn’t at least replaceable. The strength of this team continues to be its extreme depth in the offensive skill position area, lead of course by the people’s champion, Matt Ryan. Defensively, we have a strong rotational front 7 that should only get better with experience. Our OL depth is a little concerning, especially since we went all of last season without any major OL injuries. You never know what’ll happen. Is our OL depth any good? That could be what prevents us from going deep into the playoffs if it isn’t. I worry about our CB depth as well. We will rely heavily on Trufant, Alford, and Poole to stay healthy. Still, the starting 11 on both sides has to give you confidence. We can certainly hang with anyone, anywhere, and I see no reason for that to change this year.
This is probably the strongest Falcon roster that the team has had on paper going into a season over the past 30 years. If the team stays healthy and young players continue to develop, there’s no reason why the Falcons can’t win at least 11 games again this season. Putting Jalen Collins and Ra’Shede Hageman on exempt/suspended lists gave the team the luxury of holding onto two additional players coming out of camp, and it appears Jermaine Grace and Blidi Wreh-Wilson were the likely beneficiaries. While some players may be recovering from injuries to start the season (e.g., LaRoy Reynolds, Damontae Kazee, Brian Hill), the Falcons generally avoided any major injuries in training camp or preseason that would threaten their roster outlook.
From top to bottom, it is difficult to view this roster and not be excited about the future. Thanks to cutdowns, a few questions have been answered about certain spots on the roster. The release of wide receivers Marvin Hall and Reggie Davis were definite surprises. Both outperformed receiver Nick Williams, yet it was Williams who prevailed at the end. The linebacking corps is notably faster now that the team added Jermaine Grace to the final roster. His speed and athleticism will help the special teams. Seeing rookie TE Eric Saubert make the final roster is a slight surprise as well as he has not performed favorably this preseason. So a move such is that is pretty much based on potential. This is easily the most talented roster in quite some time. Certain positions (WR, DL, RB) can stake a claim to be top 10 in the league in their respective unit. The Falcons are deep at several positions and are in position to make another deep postseason run.
To start off, I’ll say that this roster is very, very good. There weren’t many holes going into the offseason, and the team did what they could to shore them up. The offensive line depth is considerably better with Pasztor and Sambrailo in the mix, and that was the biggest issue we saw during the preseason. I’m really happy for Jermaine Grace, a guy that I loved from the minute we signed him. He’s a perfect backup for Deion Jones and Duke Riley. I was excited to see that both Saubert and Hill made the roster, as it shows that the team is committed to seeing what they have in the two high-potential rookies. My critiques on the roster are mostly opinion-based, such as Nick Williams making it over Marvin Hall. I think Hall offers more on both offense and special teams, but the team clearly valued the dependability of Williams more. Defensive tackle is thin with Hageman’s status unclear, and I think they’ll add someone there in the coming days (Ahtyba Rubin please).