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A far-too-early guess at the 2018 Falcons roster

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How could the Birds slot out once September rolls around.

Divisional Round - Atlanta Falcons v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Well, we’ve about got a 90-man Atlanta Falcons roster that’s ready to compete, and what a sight it is.

But, sadly, not everyone can stick around when the final bell tolls for the 2018 season. It’s May, and the team is no doubt going to add a handful of new players from now to September, particularly at tight end and on the defensive line.

But, hey, it’s also May, so why not speculate with the best of them?

Here’s our very first guess at the Falcons’ 53-man roster.

QB (3)

1. Matt Ryan

2. Matt Schaub

3. Kurt Benkert

It’s never a fun sight to see a team stash a third quarterback on their roster, but one wonders, with the guaranteed money they gave Benkert to stick around on the roster, if he’s an early favorite to be one of their last spots taken. He’s a promising talent who the team obviously likes, so don’t be surprised, come September, if they keep him on the 53 to avoid another team getting their hands on him. And, no, they won’t cut Schaub to keep him, either. If anything, he’ll, in part, be tasked to get Benkert up to speed.

RB/FB (4)

4. Devonta Freeman

5. Tevin Coleman

6. Ito Smith

7. Luke McNitt (FB)

Smith was a fourth-rounder, so his job is secure, even if he spends most of the season on the inactive list. McNitt seems to be regarded as a better blocker than competitor Daniel Marx, so we’ll give him the early edge. But, of course, that can change.

WR (6)

8. Julio Jones

9. Mohamed Sanu Sr.

10. Calvin Ridley

11. Justin Hardy

12. Marvin Hall

13. Russell Gage

Hall flashed promise last season, and could further develop to be a vertical threat if the team learns to get him in better position. His size is a little prohibitive, but he’s got enough to justify keeping as the team’s fifth receiver. We haven’t forgotten that slick touchdown he had against the Dolphins. Hall could also vie for the returner jobs. Gage figures to be a special teams gunner early in his career.

TE (3)

14. Austin Hooper

15. Eric Saubert

16. Logan Paulsen

Paulsen hasn’t caught more than 13 passes since 2014 and figures to be a strict blocker and mentor in Atlanta. Saubert is going to have to win the TE2 job, lest someone like undrafted TE Jake Roh or a veteran addition supplant him. This position doesn’t feel done in additions.

OL (9)

17. T Jake Matthews

18. T Ryan Schraeder

19. T Ty Sambrailo

20. C Alex Mack

21. C/G Ben Garland

22. G Andy Levitre

23. G Brandon Fusco

24. G Wes Schweitzer

25. G/T Matt Gono

Gono is the first UDFA I have making the roster, and I do believe he will have the versatility to potentially supplant Sean Harlow, whose name seems to be nowhere in offensive line conversations. Harlow’s fate is, of course, not yet sealed, but I’m wondering if Gono might impress the team with his position variance.

DL (8)

26. DE Takkarist McKinley

27. DE Brooks Reed

28. DE Derrick Shelby

29. DE J.T. Jones

30. DT Grady Jarrett

31. DT Deadrin Senat

32. DT Jack Crawford

33. DT Unsigned Veteran

The team carries four pure edge rushers, with second-year man J.T. Jones getting his chance. The team will no doubt add a veteran defensive tackle, likely Ahtbya Rubin, so we’ll leave a spot open there.

LB (7)

34. Vic Beasley Jr.

35. Deion Jones

36. De’Vondre Campbell

37. Duke Riley

38. Kemal Ishmael

39. Foyesade Oluokun

40. Emmanuel Smith

Smith makes the team a la Jermaine Grace in 2017, but this time, sticks around for the season. The team needs pure interior presences desperately, and Smith could fit that bill.

S (4)

42. Ricardo Allen

43. Keanu Neal

44. Damontae Kazee

45. Quincy Mauger

There has been talk about Kazee going to corner full-time, but as the roster stands, they just don’t have the room for him there full-time. He will likely stay Rico’s main backup. Mauger looks now to be the favorite to back up Neal, though a UDFA like Chris Lammons or Secdrick Cooper could surprise.

CB (5)

46. Desmond Trufant

47. Robert Alford

48. Isaiah Oliver

49. Brian Poole

50. Justin Bethel

Blidi Wreh-Wilson is the difficult cut here, but with keeping three QBs and keeping depth on the OL, it makes it hard to keep six CBs at the moment. He’s a good player, though.

STs (3)

51. K Matt Bryant

52. P Matt Bosher

53. LS Josh Harris

Same as it ever was...same as it ever was...same as it ever was...

So, who do you guys have for your super-duper-early 53-man guess?