We spent a lot of time thinking about roster cuts yesterday, and our own Matt Chambers took a closer look at the positions with remaining question marks last night. One of the big questions left to ask, then, is how good this roster actually is.
Let’s not overthink that. The Falcons stayed healthy all summer, and while there are depth questions and a couple of trouble spots, this is one of the best rosters in the NFL. The Falcons have painstakingly built a great house of the scattered columns that were left after 2015, and they should be (at minimum) a playoff contender in 2018. But let’s consider just how good it can be.
What are the roster’s strengths?
In no particular order, the Falcons have an elite quarterback, elite ground game, one elite receiver and some very good options, and a top ten offensive line if everyone’s healthy. Their defense is loaded with young promise, including two pass rushers with loads of upside, one of the best linebackers and young defensive tackles in the game, and an absurdly deep secondary. Oh, and their special teams unit should be good, at minimum.
Taken together, you have a
What are the roster’s weaknesses?
Depth is a question at some spots. The Falcons are one injury away from having a problem at defensive end, their linebacker depth is unproven, and an injury at tackle opens the Falcons up to starting either Ty Sambrailo or Matt Gono. Every team in the NFL has those kinds of questions, but it doesn’t make me any less nervous to know that.
Beyond that, the Falcons are still waiting for Austin Hooper to blossom, lack truly elite starting guards, and don’t have an elite pass rush on paper unless Vic Beasley bounces back and Takkarist McKinley takes a bit step forward. None of those are fatal, but they are worth considering.
How far can this roster take Atlanta?
As good as the NFC is, the Falcons have the talent to represent the conference in next February’s Super Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. There just aren’t a lot of major holes on this roster, even before the Falcons fill their final open roster spot, and I remain confident that this team will push deep into the postseason so long as they remain healthy.
At the end of the day, while the Falcons made a handful of curious decisions at the bottom of the roster that we’ll need to monitor, they built a team that is just as strong as the one we thought we’d get way back in May. Now we just need to see if they can live up to the hype.