The 2022 offseason has come and gone, with the initial round of free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft in the books. Atlanta’s roster now stands at 90 after the most recent round of signings and cuts. It’s likely we’ll see a few more additions and subtractions over the summer and into training camp, but this is largely the roster the Atlanta Falcons will have this season.
Not much has changed since the post-draft roster projection. There have been some notable tidbits, like Deion Jones’ offseason surgery and a few additions at RB, that have changed some of my thoughts on a few position groups. Let’s take a look at how I’m seeing the roster heading into June. You can check out my previous projections below.
Post-Draft | June
Italics denote a change from the previous roster projection.
OFFENSE - 26
QB - 2
No changes at the top here—and there probably won’t be during training camp and preseason. The change comes from Feleipe Franks falling to the practice squad. It’s just tough to make the math work for keeping three QBs, especially with the new practice squad elevation rules. I don’t think there’s much risk in stashing Franks on the practice squad, but either way, Ridder is—at worst—Atlanta’s long-term backup of the future. Plus, we’ve got an emergency QB in Troy Andersen!
RB - 4
No movement among the favorites at the top of the depth chart, but the competition for the final spot has suddenly become fierce. The Falcons signed veteran Jeremy McNichols and moved second-year cornerback and returner Avery Williams to RB. Those two now join former fifth-rounder Qadree Ollison and 2021 UDFA Caleb Huntley in a battle for RB4. At this point, I’d give the edge to Avery Williams—unless he loses the returner competition, he’ll probably get the nod for his contributions on special teams.
FB - 1
I still have a hard time seeing Keith Smith lose his job to 2021 UDFA John Raine, as he’s one of the best special teamers on the roster and a reliable offensive piece.
TE - 4
No changes to my predictions for the roster, those things get shaken up a bit on the practice squad with the release of Daniel Helm and signing of UDFA Tucker Fisk. I do think Parker Hesse might have the leg up for TE3 due to his experience in the scheme, but FitzPatrick is probably the best blocker on the roster.
WR - 6
The Falcons added a quality, high-upside starter by trading for Raiders WR Bryan Edwards. I’d expect him to win the WR2 battle and start opposite rookie Drake London. Behind them, there’s a fierce competition for the final 3-4 spots. I think Damiere Byrd, Olamide Zaccheaus, Auden Tate, and KhaDarel Hodge remain the favorites, but we could always see a surprise player make it.
OL - 9
LT Jake Matthews
LG Jalen Mayfield
C Matt Hennessy
RG Chris Lindstrom
RT Kaleb McGary
G/T Germain Ifedi
G/T Elijah Wilkinson
C/G Drew Dalman
G Justin Shaffer
The Falcons still haven’t brought in any veteran help on the interior offensive line, and it’s making me nervous. It seems like the plan is to give the quartet of Jalen Mayfield, Matt Hennessy, Drew Dalman, and Justin Shaffer every opportunity to win the starting jobs. I think expecting one of those players to be a starter is fair. We’d all feel a lot more comfortable if Atlanta added a proven vet, even as insurance. Luckily, there are still plenty of options out there—including Ereck Flowers, Quinton Spain, and Nick Easton—if the Falcons change their mind.
DEFENSE - 24
EDGE - 4
No changes at the top, but the surprising release of John Cominsky might change the math a little. I just don’t see any fifth edge rusher as being that important, but things could change if the team adds a veteran to the mix. As it stands now, the Falcons carry four on the active roster.
IDL - 5
No changes at all here, as I think this group of five gives Atlanta a versatile interior group. It’s not impressive outside of Grady Jarrett, but hopefully it can be solid enough—especially with the improvements at EDGE.
LB - 5
The announcement of Deion Jones’ injury complicates a potential post-June 1st trade, so we still have to assume he’ll be on the roster. Further, the Falcons added another experienced veteran in Nick Kwiatkoski to make the depth chart even more crowded. If Jones stays and returns to his high level of play, an argument could be made for linebacker being the deepest group on defense.
CB - 6
No changes at the top here, as I think the Falcons starting CB trio is definitely the best group on defense. With Avery Williams moving to RB and Kendall Sheffield released, there are some significant opportunities at the back of the depth chart. At this point, I’m leaning towards the two veteran additions: Mike Ford and Teez Tabor. Ford is a strong special teamer and solid reserve option, while Tabor is a versatile CB/S hybrid who can provide depth at multiple spots.
S - 4
No changes here. This isn’t a star-studded safety group, but it is a deep one. Atlanta will be expecting big things from Richie Grant and improvement from Jaylinn Hawkins. If they falter, two reliable veteran starters are right behind them in Erik Harris and Dean Marlowe.
SPECIAL TEAMS - 3
K Younghoe Koo
P Seth Vernon
LS Liam McCullough
No changes here. I’m sticking with my prediction of UDFA Seth Vernon winning the punter battle, while kicker and long snapper remain unopposed.
PRACTICE SQUAD - 16
The NFL officially adopted the 16-man practice squad since the last roster projection.
QB Feleipe Franks - I still quite like Feleipe Franks as a long-term developmental QB, but I’m not sure if the Falcons will continue carrying him on the roster now that Desmond Ridder is here.
RB Qadree Ollison - With the shake-ups at RB, former fifth-rounder Qadree Ollison just misses the cut for the 53-man roster. I think the team will keep him close as the first man up in case of injury.
TE Brayden Lenius - Interesting WR-to-TE convert who impressed in three seasons in the CFL.
WR Austin Trammell - I’ve decided to go back to the well with Austin Trammell. He was so impressive before his 2021 training camp injury, and managed to stick around all year on the practice squad. If you want a roster dark horse, I’d pick Trammell.
WR Frank Darby - 2021’s sixth-round pick has a difficult path to the roster. Darby needs to prove himself on offense and special teams to beat out the veterans ahead of him.
WR Tyshaun James - Super athletic developmental WR with terrific size (6’2, 216).
G/T Tyler Vrabel - Developmental swing tackle prospect and possible guard convert.
G/T Colby Gossett - End of the roster depth at guard and tackle who the staff seems to like.
G Ryan Neuzil - Former UDFA impressed last preseason and could surprise.
EDGE Jordan Brailford - 2019 7th rounder (Vikings) has some interesting upside.
DT Derrick Tangelo - Intriguing DT prospect who had quality production at Penn State.
DT Timothy Horne - NT prospect with good size (6’5, 321) and length.
LB Nate Landman - Very productive linebacker at Colorado who could be a dark horse for the roster.
LB Dorian Etheridge - Impressive 2021 UDFA just misses the cut for the active roster, but should stick around on the squad.
CB Matt Hankins - Developmental corner prospect with 3 INT and 5 PD in 2021.
S Tre Webb - Tough call here between Webb and fellow UDFA Brad Hawkins, but I think the team leans towards the athleticism and upside of Webb.
What are your thoughts on this potential roster and practice squad for the Falcons?