The Atlanta Falcons will, like every other team in the NFL, spend some time this summer evaluating a raft of undrafted free agents. If history holds true, one or two will make the final roster, and a handful more will stick around as members of the practice squad.
Just how good is this class of UDFAs, though? We don’t know, but Bleacher Report took on the frankly insane task of trying to grade every team’s, and they gave Atlanta a B+. They also called out three players in particular, and I want to spend a little time on all three.
The first is running back Justin Crawford, a hyper-productive collegiate player with strong physical traits. In another year, I’d buy B/R’s argument that he could make a strong push for the third job on the depth chart, but this year the Falcons drafted smooth third down back Ito Smith, who has genuine talent and upside and was the team’s fourth round selection. Crawford and fellow UDFA Malik Williams will push for one practice squad spot, but I’m virtually certain one of them will get that spot.
The second is tight end Jake Roh. He’s an interesting red zone option at tight end who thrived as a receiver at Boise State and was looked at as an H-Back type player with some fullback traits coming out, including solid pass protection skills. The Falcons apparently intend to use him as a tight end, and like Crawford, he could push for a practice squad role with Eric Saubert likely locked in as the third tight end for at least one more season.
Finally, they highlight Jon Cunningham, one of the crop of defensive tackles competing for a fifth and likely final spot behind Grady Jarrett, Deadrin Senat, Jack Crawford, and Terrell McClain. Cunningham brings a reputation as a strong run-stopper to the table, and could very well push for that spot. Former Seahawk Garrison Smith is probably the clubhouse leader, though.
Overall, the Falcons do certainly have some intriguing talent in their UDFA class, but they also have a roster stuffed with talent, which means there are very few spots for those players to occupy. While the three names above are worth watching, the likeliest UDFA to steal a roster spot is one of Luke McNitt or Daniel Marx, the two men currently competing for the fullback job. We’ll see if we get a pleasant surprise or two from the rest of the class.