The Atlanta Falcons are, unfortunately, in full-blown offseason mode. Thus it’s little surprise that they made a few moves yesterday to lock up practice squad-caliber players to reserve future contracts, which lets the Falcons get a longer look at them this spring and summer when they have that 90 man roster to kick around with.
Most of the names on the list below are familiar ones. Garrett Grayson was signed mid-season to serve as the team’s nominal third quarterback, and should battle for that role again with any undrafted free agents or late round draft picks Atlanta elects to bring in. Deante Burton is a converted wide receiver trying to play cornerback, in the same vein as C.J. Goodwin last year. Marcelis Branch had a poor preseason but has interesting upside and should compete with Sharrod Neasman for the last safety spot on this roster, and Alex Gray is a former British rugby player trying to latch on as a tight end in Atlanta and a potential practice squad candidate again in 2017.
The most interesting names on this list for next year, though, are mostly on the lines. Daniel Brunskill was a woefully undersized tackle/guard option who might resurface to compete for a reserve job, especially if Ben Garland is out of town. Taniela Tupou showed a little run stopping proficiency in a brief stint with the Falcons and can play defensive tackle, Joey Ivie has a little experience and can kick inside as well, J’Terius Jones flashed as a pass rusher in preseason, and Reggie Davis showed the kind of speed and special teams acumen that make him interesting for the Falcons next year as they look to revamp the bottom of their wide receiver depth chart. This has the look of a solid group, though only a small handful will make it through to the final roster and practice squad, if that.
The team has signed the following players to reserve future contracts: QB Garrett Grayson, S Marcelis Branch, CB Deante Burton, OL Daniel Brunskill, DL Taniela Tupou, DL Joey Ivie, DL JT Jones, WR Reggie Davis, and TE Alex Gray.— Falcons Comm Dept. (@FalconsComm) January 14, 2018
Unfortunately, tight end Josh Perkins won’t be here. The former Washington product looked like a pretty promising undrafted free agent for the Falcons last year, and the team carried him all season on the active roster. He got hurt in 2017, though, and the Eagles will take a longer look at him. With Gray available to develop, Eric Saubert entering his second year in 2018, and Austin Hooper and Levine Toilolo around, he was going to have to fight just to get a spot anyways.