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Falcons trim roster to 74 Friday with J.J. Wilcox, rookie UDFA cuts

Atlanta’s got 21 more cuts to go.

New York Jets v Cleveland Browns

The Falcons will announce their big batch of cuts sometime today—if they’re feeling gracious, it’ll be before 4 p.m.—and we’ll know what the initial version of this team’s 53 man roster will look like. They got the ball rolling last night with five reported cuts, which brings them down to 74 players.

Let’s take a closer look.

The cuts

RB Craig Reynolds
RB/FB Mikey Daniel
OT Evin Ksiezarczyk
DT Hinwa Allieu
S J.J. Wilcox

With those reported cuts, the roster would be down to 74 men. That means you should expect 21 cuts (or more) to be announced at some point today.

What they mean

The Reynolds and Daniel cuts suggest the Falcons will roll with four running backs, and that if they choose to carry one on the practice squad it’ll likely be an outside choice. Reynolds wasn’t a strong bet to hang around but the team reportedly liked Daniel and his versatility was intriguing, so it’s a little surprising to see him as one of the first names announced.

Ksiezarcyzk was one of our own Evan Birchfield’s favorites and one of the few young players added to the roster who figured to play tackle in the NFL. The Falcons may look elsewhere, seek to develop fellow UDFA Justin Gooseberry (the last UDFA OL on the roster as of the time I type this), or roll John Wetzel onto the practice squad.

Allieu had some flashes during camp, per reports, but the Falcons have a lot of options at defensive tackle and it was always going to be practice squad or bust for him. He likely did enough to catch on somewhere, even if it’s not Atlanta.

Finally, Wilcox was the only major surprise of the first day. The Falcons reportedly loved Wilcox last year before he got hurt and I waffled badly on my 53 man roster projection to the point where I ultimately included him, despite seeing more value in keeping Kurt Benkert as a third quarterback or Sharrod Neasman for his special teams value. With Wilcox going so soon, it’s fair to assume Neasman will be the final safety on the roster, with Chris Cooper and Ray Wilborn potentially angling for practice squad spots.

There’s still a chance some of these players could end up on the practice squad—Wilcox in particular—but veteran Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter D. Orlando Ledbetter suggests it’s not likely for anyone but Wilcox and perhaps Reynolds.

Stay tuned for more cuts today and we’ll see this roster take shape.