When the Falcons make their final roster cuts sometime between Friday morning and Saturday afternoon, there are bound to be players headed for free agency who seemed like deserving additions to the roster. That’s the nature of a 53 man roster, after all.
Our staff picked through our roster predictions and came up with the names we think are most likely to come as mild surprises, with one or two real shockers on the list. In a year where the roster feels largely settled, though, there are unlikely to be massive surprises.
Most surprising roster cut? At this point, probably second-year defensive tackle Deadrin Senat. It’s safe to say he’s probably on the bubble. Do I think he will be on the outside looking in? I’m leaning towards no. But with the impressive play of the other interior linemen around him, it’s easy to see why Senat may not necessarily have a roster spot sewn up at the moment. We needed a solid outing against the Redskins in week three of the preseason to convince some that he deserves a spot. We’ll see if the Falcons keep their 2018 3rd rounder but the fact we are discussing his roster spot this late in the preseason speaks volumes. - Eric Robinson
At this point, Marcus Green has failed to do what the team desperately wanted him to do all preseason: secure his spot on the roster as the kick and punt return specialist. They brought in Kenjon Barner as a “just in case” kind of guy and the performance of Green and other rookies has all but ensured that Barner gets that spot. Green has fumbled repeatedly on punts and when he has caught the ball, he hasn’t stood out in the way you’d hope. With Olamide Zaccheaus offering more as a wide receiver, I think Green is now on the outside looking in. The team will likely look to stash him on the practice squad, but it’s definitely a disappointing start for the rookie sixth rounder. - David Walker
Larkin has been one of the most consistent defensive linemen on the team, has absolutely dominated snaps on both defense and special teams, and appears headed for a role. But there’s only so much room on this roster, and despite how deserving he seems to be after the work he’s done to this point, I can see Larkin having to settle for a practice squad spot or a shot with another team. It’s not a huge surprise—there won’t be many of those this year—but it would be disappointing. - Dave Choate
One of the more puzzling things about the Atlanta Falcons’ decision making is why safety Sharrod Neasman, who’s been valuable as a reserve and special teamer for his entire time in Atlanta, hasn’t locked down the depth chart spot behind Keanu Neal. The job should be his, but the team had J.J. Wilcox in that place until he got hut, and has moved Kemal Ishmael back to safety to do just that. With the emergence of versatile safety Chris Cooper, is Neasman on his way out? Dan Quinn is a defensive mastermind, but his lack of faith in Neasman to hold down the fort is not something that naturally clicks. Don’t be too shocked if he’s on another roster when the year starts. - Cory Woodroof
Does this count as surprising? The Falcons are pretty stacked at multiple positions, but most of those players have trade value. Could they flip Brian Hill to another team for a late round pick? Sure. Hardy, on the other hand, does not have trade value. With the emergence of Russell Gage, Hardy drops even farther down the depth chart. The coaching staff might want to go with the upside of Marcus Green, Christian Blake, or Olamide Zaccheaus over Hardy. - Matt Chambers