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Falcons sign DL Jalen Dalton and OL Jonotthan Harrison

Atlanta’s adding to the trenches, as promised.

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The Falcons brought in six workout players for their minicamp this week, and I suggested that if they liked any of them, signings were likely imminent. Sure enough, the Falcons have added two of those players and made a pair of cuts ahead of training camp.

Former Bears and Saints defensive lineman Jalen Dalton and center Jonotthan Harrison, who has spent time with four teams in his NFL career, are the signings per editor Scott Bair. These are unlikely to be the last moves the Falcons make in the trenches, but they’re welcome ones nonetheless.

To make room, the team cut wide receiver Austin Trammell and recent running back signing Jeremy McNichols.

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Dalton is an intriguing player who has yet to receive a regular season NFL snap owing in part to injuries. The 24-year-old tested out as an elite athlete coming into the league, as Kevin Knight wrote, and has shown flashes in training camp and preseason. Listed at 6’6” and 300 pounds, Dalton will hope his length, power, and speed earn him more than just a short stay in Atlanta.

With unsettled depth on the interior of this Falcons defensive line, if he’s healthy and has a strong summer, Dalton might find his way to a roster spot for a team looking to hit on young talent for a line that needs it. At worst, he should be pushing to make the practice squad as a lineman with upside.

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Harrison should be pushing for at least a practice squad spot, as well. He spent the 2021 season either on the Giants’ practice squad or on injured reserve, but the 2014 undrafted free agent has started 42 games at center in his NFL career, most recently making 10 starts for the Jets back in 2019. With Drew Dalman and Matt Hennessy competing for the starting center job, Harrison would hope to latch on as a veteran reserve if he impresses in the coming months. Like Dalton, he should be thought of as a strong candidate for the practice squad even if he doesn’t make the roster, as the team could use a third center and Harrison is an experienced one.

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The release of Trammell removes one man from the returner competition, as the speedy second-year pro figured to factor in there over the summer. He had spent the 2021 season on the practice squad for Atlanta, earned a reserve/future contract, and stuck around while the Falcons re-made the wide receiver group in the spring, so it’s a little surprising to see Trammell be the first one to go.

He’s also the first of a few players likely to be seeking new homes from the receiver group, given that the team is carrying quite a few options at the position today. We wish him well at his next stop.

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We also wish nothing but the best for McNichols, who joined up recently to push for a reserve role in the Falcons’ running back group, hoping his Tennessee connection with Arthur Smith and physical running style would earn him a spot. The Falcons will roll on with Cordarrelle Patterson, Damien Williams, rookie Tyler Allgeier, Qadree Ollison, and Caleb Huntley for now.

How do you feel about these moves?