As of this afternoon, the Falcons can begin stocking their practice squad. Some years they do that all at once and we get one big announcement, and other years we slowly learn who the team is going to add throughout the course of a day or two.
If 2022 proves to be the latter, we’ll round up additions and updates right here, just as we did for the slow trickle of reported roster cuts yesterday. We’ll see what positions the Falcons prioritize for their 16 man practice squad, which can include 10 players with under four years of service time and six players of any experience level, as well as which players they’ve just cut that they badly want back. I’d expect to see many familiar faces re-joining the squad after the Falcons largely had a strong summer, but we’ll know soon enough.
Stay tuned for updates!
TE MyCole Pruitt
Per Aaron Wilson at Pro Football Network, Pruitt is joining the Falcons’ practice squad. The veteran had a strong summer with the Falcons, making a few nice catches in preseason and showcasing his always-present skills as a blocker, and he’ll be welcome depth for this tight end group heading into the season. Very glad to have him back.
RB Caleb Huntley
A physical back who has now played well in back-to-back preseasons, Huntley was a logical choice for the practice squad and is now back in the fold. We may well see him on the roster at some point this year. Hat tip to Mike Rothstein at ESPN for reporting the news.
WR Cameron Batson
Batson makes the practice squad after a quality summer. He has ties to Arthur Smith from their shared days in Tennessee, experience as a returner, and very good top-end speed, and that combination has earned him a longer stint with Atlanta. He’s insurance for this receiving group and for Avery Williams and Cordarrelle Patterson as a returner, with most of that experience in the form of returning kicks.
S Teez Tabor
The versatile defensive back is...well, back...after being somewhat of a surprise cut. Tabor can play cornerback and safety and made a couple of big plays in the preseason, including a nice interception, and will provide emergency depth for both position groups this fall. With a relatively unproven set of starting safeties and depth at corner, we may see Tabor at some point this year, and we definitely will if injuries crop up.
WR Josh Ali
The first new face in this group. Pro Football Network called the 2022 undrafted free agent a “sure-handed receiver” who made his biggest impact as a punt returner in college. With Batson providing kick return experience and speed, Ali is presumably here as punt returner insurance for Avery Williams and as a developmental prospect as a wide receiver.
WR Frank Darby
Atlanta’s going to be carrying a lot of wide receivers. Darby does fine work on special teams, including as a gunner, and is well-known for his infectious enthusiasm. He started to come on as a receiving option toward the end of the summer, and will look to develop for a bit and push his way back on to the roster later.
C/G Ryan Neuzil
ESPN’s Mike Rothstein reports Ryan Neuzil is out at practice and thus must be on the practice squad. A guard whose blocking and toughness impressed in the summer of 2021, Neuzil spent the year developing with the Falcons and then drew significant time at center this summer, adding positional versatility to his resume. He’ll look to crack the roster along the offensive line next year.
T Tyler Vrabel
The son of Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, the junior Vrabel gained steam as the summer went on, and now he’s on the practice squad as a developmental tackle. Ari Meirov at Pro Football Focus is reporting the addition. With Neuzil and Vrabel on, I’d expect a Justin Shaffer signing soon enough so the Falcons have some young options worth developing at guard, as well.
OLB Jordan Brailford
Per Kelly Price at FOX 5, Brailford is among the most recent additions to the practice squad. He was competing head-to-head with Quinton Bell for a fifth outside linebacker spot and was overshadowed by Bell’s work on defense and special teams, but is a young pass rusher worth developing.
G Justin Shaffer
One of the team’s 2022 sixth round picks, Shaffer showed his run blocking ability but has a ways to go in pass protection. Long-term, his strength and the team’s acute need for guard depth makes him an interesting player, and he should at least push hard for a reserve role in 2023.
CB Matt Hankins
He flew under the radar a little bit, but Hankins had some strong moments in coverage in preseason and gets a chance to develop and potentially join an interesting young group of cornerbacks down the line.
DL Derrick Tangelo
My favorite of this year’s crop of undrafted free agents, Tangelo is an intriguing pass rusher on the interior who really came into his own at the end of preseason. He’s a worthwhile long-term stash for a team that is starved for defensive line depth, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him at some point this season.
CB Ka’Dar Hollman
Dov Kleiman reports that the Falcons have also added Hollman, a former Packer and 49er, to their practice squad. The former sixth-rounder started one game for the Packers back in 2020, proving to be pretty stingy in coverage and chipping in a lot on special teams. He and Hankins will hope to push for roster spots later in the year.
TE Anthony Firkser
There he is! The former Titan and veteran pass catcher may well be flexed to the roster for Week 1, but for now ESPN’s Mike Rothstein reports he’s on the practice squad. Firkser was one of the biggest surprises on cutdown day and still figures to be back on the 53 man at some point, given that he’s a useful receiving option at tight end.
TE Tucker Fisk
Atlanta’s currently carrying three tight ends on the practice squad, a short-term situation likely spurred by the fact that they have just two players on the active roster. Fisk is an interesting long-term developmental option as a blocker if he sticks around.
DL Khyiris Tonga
Thanks to D. Orlando Ledbetter at the AJC, we now know who the final member of the practice squad is, and it appears to be a depth option behind Anthony Rush. Khyiris Tonga, formerly of the Bears (go ahead, say it), joins up and provides a developmental option for a defensive line that could use more of them.