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Falcons designate CB Isaiah Oliver to return off IR, sign DT Jaleel Johnson to practice squad

The Falcons were busy with roster moves on Wednesday, designating CB Isaiah Oliver to return off IR and signing DT Jaleel Johnson to the practice squad.

Atlanta Falcons v New York Giants Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons have a busy week of preparation ahead. Atlanta faces the rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2) on Sunday in a Week 5 clash that, as I’m sure you all predicted, will decide who is in first place in the NFC South. The team has also been busy on Wednesday, making several roster moves including designating a starting cornerback to return off injured reserve and signing a defensive tackle to the practice squad.

Let’s start with the cornerback, and it’s very welcome news: Isaiah Oliver has been officially designated to return off IR.

For those unfamiliar with what this means, “designated to return” starts a 21-day window where the player can practice. The team must activate the player to the 53-man roster within this 21-day window, or he reverts to season-ending IR. Oliver’s 21-day period begins today, and he will apparently be returning to practice in some capacity immediately. Whether that’s as a limited or full participant won’t be known until the official report lands this afternoon.

Oliver has been rehabbing from a torn ACL suffered in Week 4 of the 2021 season. He practiced in a limited capacity through much of training camp and even played a handful of snaps in the preseason, but was clearly not working at full speed. With another month of rehab until his belt, the hope is that Oliver will be ready to return to the field soon.

It’s worth noting that Oliver can be activated at any point in the next 21 days, including prior to Week 5’s game. If he’s fully healthy and ready to contribute, Oliver could be a major addition to a secondary that has featured a revolving door of players in the slot. Dee Alford has made his fair share of plays in coverage, but Oliver is a more experienced veteran who offers more as a run defender and blitzer. If he can replicate his play from the start of the 2021 season, Oliver could be a major addition to the secondary.

The Falcons also made another roster move, signing defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson to the practice squad.

Johnson was a draft crush of mine all the way back in the 2017 NFL Draft. He was initially drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth round, and spent his entire rookie contract with the team. Johnson played in 12 games (322 snaps) with the Houston Texans in 2021 as a rotational lineman with 23 tackles, 2 TFL, and 3 total pressures. Johnson has good size at nearly 6’3, 316, but is a limited athlete (1.87 RAS) and is best utilized as a rotational piece at this stage in his career.

He’s a somewhat interesting NFL veteran, and I like his addition to the practice squad. Atlanta needed to replace NT Khyiris Tonga, who was signed to the Minnesota Vikings active roster earlier this week.

What do you think of today’s roster moves by the Falcons?