Atlanta’s preseason is over, and they now have about 30 hours to make 27 roster cuts. The NFL’s mandated cutdown to a 53 man roster happens at 4 p.m. tomorrow, though I don’t expect the Falcons to wait until the last moment. From there, they’ll be able to put in claims until noon Wednesday if anyone particularly striking gets cut, and then assemble a 16 man practice squad. It’s going to be a very busy week for Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot, to put it mildly.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of things to keep your eye on, but as the Falcons gear up for cuts and likely shuffling the last 3-4 spots on their initial 53 man roster, here’s a few things to watch:
- Who wins the backup quarterback spot, and whether they keep it. I think we all expect that to be Josh Rosen after last night, but a player Arthur Smith knows well like Logan Woodside or a proven veteran quarterback like Nick Foles might wind up among the cuts. If they do, there’s no guarantee Rosen sticks on the roster beyond Tuesday and early Wednesday.
- How will Atlanta choose to populate their last few spots on the roster? Players like T.J. Green and John Raine, who can play special teams and handle multiple positions, figure to be strong bets to at least make it through the initial cuts. Things are less certain at wide receiver, where nobody ran away with the fifth spot, and along the offensive line, where their tackle depth beyond Willie Beavers seems awfully suspect. My bets are on Frank Darby at receiver and Jason Spriggs at tackle, but I think the Falcons will really have to think about those decisions.
- I expect this team, with all its myriad depth issues showing up all preseason, will prioritize upside on the practice squad with a couple of solid veteran stashes at positions of weakness. Guys like Dwayne Johnson Jr. at safety, Feleipe Franks at quarterback and Ryan Neuzil at guard showed evident talent and are worth developing, but after a long look at the roster this summer it would not shock me if the Falcons ended up sifting through other teams’ cuts to fill out a quarter to a half of their 16 slots.
Who do you have making the back end of the roster?