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Falcons reportedly cut rookie OL Justin Shaffer

The rookie guard feels like a virtual practice squad lock.

NFL: AUG 27 Preseason - Jaguars at Falcons Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

When Justin Shaffer first joined the Falcons as sixth round pick out of Georgia, some very optimistic fans thought he might be in the running for a starting job at left guard this year. That may come to fruition down the line, but for the moment it appears Shaffer is ticketed for the Falcons practice squad, assuming he clears waivers.

Per Aaron Wilson at Pro Football Network, Shaffer has been waived as the team cuts down to 53 players.

This is only a mild surprise after Shaffer ran with the third-team offensive line through preseason. Atlanta was clearly high on Shaffer’s run-blocking ability coming out of college and he certainly showed that off at times this summer, but with Elijah Wilkinson locked in to the starting left guard job and Jalen Mayfield and Colby Gossett both seemingly likely to stick on the roster, the depth chart got a bit too crowded for the rookie to crack it.

Every player released thus far has a good shot at making the Falcons’ practice squad, but Shaffer is the first one who has felt like an absolute lock to make it, given that Atlanta needs long-term depth options at guard and their appreciation for his upside is real. I fully expect to see him back on the squad shortly unless another team snaps him up.