As noted by Atlanta Falcons beat writer D. Orlando Ledbetter at Monday’s press conference with both head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff, the Falcons get a jump on the offseason because the team played so poorly during the regular season. The team gets to dive into player evaluations for the draft and even start adding players to reserve/future deals.
The roster will swell from 53 to 90 after the draft, starting with typically practice squad-level players signed to these deals. The biggest name to stick with the Falcons this offseason is former Patriots quarterback Danny Etling. He showed a little moxie in preseason, with flashes as a pretty adept runner. The former Purdue then LSU quarterback spent most of the season on the practice squad, except for one game where he backed up Matt Schaub.
TE Carson Meier signs as well. He played a few snaps during Austin Hooper’s injury, and showed some potential upside as a Luke Stocker replacement. According to the Falcoholic’s Evan Birchfield, the Falcons signed Lukayus McNeil on October 1st, and wrote the only info we have on McNeil.
Lukayus McNeil started 46 games in four seasons at Louisville and has played both tackle and guard. McNeil is a young offensive lineman who has spent time with the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys, after going undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft.
If McNeil failed to get promoted in the disaster 2019 season, he is likely at least a few seasons before he can make a meaningful impact, if any.
The Falcons also brought back RB Craig Reynolds, a player I had not recollection of until I referred to the article I wrote about his signing in November.
Reynolds was cut from Washington after Derrius Guice was activated and is now Freeman insurance. At 5-foot-10 and 212-pounds, Reynolds has the athleticism to fit into Atlanta’s blocking scheme, but reportedly has struggled with pass protection. He’s still a few unlikely steps away from carrying the rock, but given how banged up the depth chart is, maybe we’ll see him in 2019.
I was wrong. The former slot receiver was never active. The Falcons also have about half a dozen running backs that produced one of the league’s worst running games, so it is not clear where Reynolds could fit into that equation. He likely remains a long shot to play any offensive snaps.
Last, but not intentionally, is defensive back C.J. Reavis. Here’s what we wrote about Reavis when he was signed.
Safety C.J. Reavis signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent last offseason. Reavis failed to make the 53-man roster out of training camp and was re-signed to the Jaguars’ practice squad prior to the start of the 2018 season. Reavis played in four games for the Jaguars during his rookie season, recording one tackle. Reavis was released by the Jaguars prior to the start of the 2019 season.
Reavis could be an interesting backup strong safety or even a transformed corner. Of course, neither happened last year when the secondary dealt with major injuries. Like the rest of today’s signings, he almost certainly needs a very strong training camp to stick around.
Expect more signings to trickle down in the next few days.