The Falcons’ initial 53-man roster was announced earlier this week, and we’ve spent the past few days analyzing it and discussing the players placed on the practice squad. Congratulations are in order for those that made it, but the brutal business of the NFL means that players at the end of the depth chart are always in danger of getting cut if injuries or specific positional needs occur.
Already this week—mere days after announcing the roster—we’ve seen several players cut, including John Wetzel and Deone Bucannon. More cuts could be on the way, particularly as we get closer to the weekend and the injury outlook for key contributors comes into focus. Here are some of the players who are the most likely cut candidates if the Falcons need to make space on the 53-man roster.
After turning in a reportedly lackluster performance in training camp and coming off a 2019 season which saw him largely relegated to the inactive list, there was significant concern that former third-round pick Deadrin Senat might not make the team heading into 2020. Senat did manage to make the final cut to 53, but his spot doesn’t appear secure given the current construction of the team.
The Falcons currently have 11 (!!) defensive linemen on the 53-man roster after the return of Steven Means, which is a frankly absurd number to keep. For reference, most teams keep 8-9—11 is almost unheard of. One of these depth DL is going to get the ax in the coming days, and it could very well be Senat.
For the same reasons as Senat, Jacob Tuioti-Mariner’s spot on the roster could be in jeopardy. However, unlike Senat, Tuioti-Mariner seems to have the trust of the coaching staff and played well in limited opportunities during the 2019 season. What he has working against him is a lack of ideal size for DT—he’s clearly a tweener in the Allen Bailey/John Cominsky mold. While Quinn is certainly comfortable with having a few of those players on the roster, the question now becomes: how many do you keep before it becomes too many?
Another possible cut opportunity on the defensive line is former first-round pick Charles Harris, who reportedly failed to stand out in training camp. With Steven Means now back from the COVID-19 list, the Falcons are currently at 6 listed EDGE players on the roster—though one of those is John Cominsky, who is probably going to play more snaps on the interior. Harris is one of the more expensive depth players on the roster, so the team could elect to part ways with him if they’re comfortable with Means.
A late addition to the roster who was claimed off waivers from Washington, Timon Parris’ spot on the team is far from secure. The team must have seen something they liked to pick him up off wavers in favor of perennial end-of-roster favorite John Wetzel, but as the ninth OL he could be a potential cut candidate at almost any time. Parris has great size at 6’6, 315, but otherwise has very little NFL experience after spending most of 2018 and 2019 on Washington’s practice squad.
Neasman is probably the least likely cut candidate of the players listed here, but his status as the fifth safety does make him a logical emergency cut if needed. However, Neasman is a fixture on just about every special teams unit and has played well as a reserve when called upon. The only thing working against him is Quinn’s inexplicable reluctance to play him on defense, which could signal a lack of trust outside of special teams.
What are your thoughts on the current construction of Atlanta’s 53-man roster? Do you foresee any players getting cut between now and Sunday?