There were reports the last two days that the Falcons had added free agent wide receiver Jeff Badet and outside linebacker Shareef Miller, and now the team has confirmed those reports, announced two additional signings, and let us know what the corresponding roster moves will be.
In addition to Badet and Miller, the Falcons signed former Georgia defensive lineman and Patriots UDFA John Atkins and 2020 Browns UDFA George Obinna. Like Miller, Obinna is an athletic outside linebacker who will be competing for a role as a reserve pass rushing specialist. He owned San Diego State’s school record for sacks with 33.5, and if he can translate any of that production to the NFL, Atlanta will be happy to have him.
Atkins will be competing for a gig as a reserve nose tackle for the Falcons, having bounced around a bit but also bringing more experience than the other players on this list. He was a six game starter for the Lions at defensive tackle in 2019, and brings some run stopping acumen to the Falcons. He opted out of the 2020 season, but will hope to catch on in Atlanta and beat out Olive Sagapolu for that reserve role.
Atkins is effectively replacing Eli Ankou, who spent a short time with the team before being announced as one of the cuts today. He’s joined by Greg Dortch, a speedy wide receiver who spent the spring with Atlanta and who Badet will effectively be replacing, as well as linebacker Jeff Holland (who spent a very short time with Atlanta) and fellow linebacker Alani Pututau. The roster now stands at 90 men again, and the Falcons have churned some depth and will undoubtedly want a long look at Atkins, Obinna, Miller and Badet in training camp as they try to figure out their final roster ahead of September.
There may be more moves to come ahead of training camp, as longtime Falcons writer and podcast host Matt Karoly shared that he has been told that Matt Gono may miss the 2021 season. We’ll wait to see the team confirm that, but if that’s the case, it’s a devastating blow and the Falcons seem likely to explore the offensive line market, potentially picking up former Titans swing tackle Dennis Kelly as a replacement.