For at least 37 men currently on the Falcons roster, the axe is coming. I say at least because the Falcons will also turn over some of this current roster before final cuts are due, which means you could see 40-50 players coming and then going before September rolls around.
For a fortunate few, there’ll be an opportunity to hook on with the Falcons practice squad, affording them to the opportunity to make the roster if injury hits or at least strengthen their case for a real roster spot down the line. With that in mind, let’s look at four players who seem like strong bets to be in line for practice squad spots.
RB Justin Crawford
Crawford and Malik Williams are both players good enough to serve as thin team’s third back, but neither one stands much of a chance of beating out Ito Smith for an actual roster spot in 2018. Crawford’s athleticism and flashes of pass catching ability would seem to make him the strongest choice for a practice squad spot, especially if he can flash something on special teams early on. The team will almost certainly carry at least one back among their 10 (11 if you count Alex Gray) practice squadders.
OT/OG Matt Gono
Gono’s a player who earned a little spring hype for his blend of size, strength, athleticism and college tape, and this is a team with no real long-term plan to fill the very necessary swing tackle spot on the roster. Gono might not beat out Ty Sambrailo in his first year in the NFL, but with a strong August he could very well push his way past the lesser lights at the position and be the first man in line for call up if injury strikes the offensive line.
DE J’Terius Jones
I like Jones as a potential candidate for that last roster spot on the defensive line. If he doesn’t get it, however—either because a young UDFA impresses, the team signs a veteran, or someone like Garrison Smith pushes past him—Jones should be a mortal lock for the practice squad again. He flashed intriguing skill last summer, survived the entire year on the practice squad in 2017, and is a player the Falcons clearly have interest in keeping around.
S Chris Lammons
Lammons was a very popular sleeper pick for a final roster spot, given the team’s unclear depth at safety. Ron Parker’s signing all but ensures he won’t make the roster, but Lammons is a physical safety with upside who should have a good chance of hanging on as the team’s nominal fifth option at the position.
Who are other strong candidates for the practice squad, in your humble opinions?