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Predicting the Falcons’ 53-man roster heading into the third preseason game

After the loss to the Chiefs, here is my 53-man roster prediction for Atlanta.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Following the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in preseason Week 2, this is my list of the 53 guys I anticipate making the Atlanta Falcons’ roster. Whether it was because of performance or team fit, I think there are a couple picks here that may not be fan favorites, but seem most realistic.


QB - 2

Matt Ryan
Matt Schaub

This is an unpopular opinion, but I don’t see the Falcons taking a third quarterback with a lot of hype over a fourth playmaker in Malik Williams. It either comes down to a fourth running back, a sixth linebacker or a third quarterback. We all know how Quinn feels about his rotational playmakers, so taking a third quarterback wouldn’t make much sense to me. Dan Quinn has previously played around with four running back sets with Brian Hill in 2017. The only upside to having Benkert on the 53 is possibly depth insurance or maybe an idea for the future. I don’t see DQ taking three quarterbacks but it’s definitely possible.

RB - 4

Devonta Freeman
Tevin Coleman
Ito Smith
Malik Williams

Here, DQ is shuffling between two starters and two rotational guys as well. Ito Smith should provide some reps, somewhat like a Terron Ward-type role, and Malik Williams provides versatility in both the running and passing game. With Devonta Freeman risking concussion with his bruising running ability and Tevin Coleman’s 2019 free agent status, I think keeping a fourth running back will do the Falcons a favor.

FB - 1

Jalston Fowler

To be honest, I think Fowler plays like a Falcon, or more than Ricky Ortiz at least. Fowler has the athleticism and versatility to be a Falcon fullback. Previously, many believed Ortiz would win the battle strictly for his leg up in experience, but here comes a guy who has even more experience and better physical traits.

WR - 6

Julio Jones
Mo Sanu
Calvin Ridley
Justin Hardy
Marvin Hall
Russell Gage

Julio, Sanu and Ridley are guarantees. I think Hardy is actually someone whose abilities are underrated and can produce in the passing game. Marvin Hall and Russell Gage are efficient on special teams, and Dan Quinn loves those athletes.

TE - 3

Austin Hooper
Eric Saubert
Logan Paulsen

Nothing new here. Hooper will remain the starter and will see an increase in reps, and Saubert has good potential. Saubert’s hands and speed seem to have improved. Paulsen embodies the Levine Toilolo-type role; the blocking and catching versatility.

OL - 9

LT Jake Matthews
LG Andy Levitre
C Alex Mack
RG Brandon Fusco
RT Ryan Schraeder
G Ben Garland
G Wes Schweitzer
G Sean Harlow
T Matt Gono

The starting five remains the same. I seriously doubt the Falcons part ways with Sean Harlow, and I think Matt Gono is simply more impressive than Austin Pasztor. The Falcons value Gono’s ability as a swing tackle and his potential, which is carried by his prototypical build.


DE/DT - 9

DE Vic Beasley
DE Takk McKinley
DE Brooks Reed
HYBRID Derrick Shelby
HYBRID Anthony Winbush
DT Grady Jarrett
DT Jack Crawford
DT Terrell McClain
DT Deadrin Senat

On the defensive line, DQ clearly values versatility, as shown last season with guys like Ahtyba Rubin and Jack Crawford. I really like Anthony Winbush and his potential. To me, he is more impressive than JT Jones and embodies a prototypical Falcon edge rusher. To be honest, this guy looks like a steal. For those confused, a “HYBRID” is a guy who can likely kick in to be a one or three technician, depending on the set.

LB - 6

LB Deion Jones
LB DeVondre Campbell
LB Duke Riley
LB Foye Oluokun
LB/S Kemal Ishmael
LB Jonathan Celestin

Foye and Duke Riley should compete for playing time at weakside linebacker, and Kemal Ishmael provides good depth and versatility in the box. Somebody that has impressed me and is fast and physical is Jonathan Celestin. He was quick and essentially unguardable on basically every single drive. Adds to the list of possible steals. To those who consider six linebackers to be a bit excessive, just remember that DQ had eight linebackers in rotation last year. I truly wouldn’t be surprised to see Quinn bring in a couple veteran linebackers throughout the season.

CB - 6

CB Desmond Trufant
CB Robert Alford
NB Brian Poole
CB Isaiah Oliver
CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson
CB Justin Bethel

I am intrigued by BWW’s coverage skills, and although he has recently dropped some wide open picks, I believe DQ factors his experience into his choosing for a roster spot. Bethel is a very valuable special teamer.

S - 4

FS Rico Allen
SS Keanu Neal
FS Damontae Kazee
SS Ron Parker

No surprises here either. Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal are going to be our starters, and the Falcons should invest in three safety sets with Kazee. That would call for a nasty cover three shell. Ron Parker provides necessary experience and depth.


ST - 3

K Matt Bryant
P Matt Bosher
LOS Josh Harris

Same ol’, same ol’. The Money Matts and a solid long snapper in Josh Harris.