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Falcons post-draft 53-man roster projection

Atlanta’s roster is hardly settled heading into the summer, but here’s an early guess at what the Falcons might do given what they have on the 90 man roster today.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The Falcons have more-or-less populated their 90 man roster, with tweaks set to come after rookie minicamp, organized team activities, and mandatory minicamp. Given that the draft is over and the rough shape of that 90 man roster is known, now is a fine time to try a 53 man roster projection and practice squad projection besides.

A word before we jump in: The Falcons will pull from other rosters, especially for the practice squad, but that’s basically impossible to figure out this early on. Instead, we’ll be working with what the team has today, and hoping we get the broad contours right. We’ll re-visit these projections frequently this spring and summer.

Stay tuned for Kevin Knight’s 53 man projection later this week, as well, as I’m sure we’ll come to different conclusions as to who the team will keep.


QB Desmond Ridder
QB Taylor Heinicke

RB Bijan Robinson
RB Tyler Allgeier
RB Cordarrelle Patterson
RB/KR/PR Avery Williams

FB Keith Smith

WR Drake London
WR Mack Hollins
WR Scotty Miller
WR KhaDarel Hodge
WR Frank Darby

TE Kyle Pitts
TE Jonnu Smith
TE Parker Hesse
TE/QB Feleipe Franks

T Jake Matthews
T Kaleb McGary
T Germain Ifedi

G Chris Lindstrom
G Matthew Bergeron
G Jalen Mayfield
G/C Matt Hennessy

C Drew Dalman

A few notes here.

Feleipe Franks is the last player many of you will want to see on this projection, but the fact that he can be your emergency third quarterback and is clearly a coaching staff favorite works in his favor. Much will likely depend on whether he’s made real strides in year three or not, given that John FitzPatrick should be healthy, but in the end I have his utility helping him hang on as the fourth tight end and third quarterback. A MyCole Pruitt signing would end the debate entirely.

Wide receiver is, I think, the position most likely to change significantly between now and Week 1. For the moment, we’re working with the depth chart we’ve got, and I imagine London, Hollins, and Miller are locked in. Hodge offers significant special teams value, which gets him on here. Whether Darby or Bernhardt offers more on teams likely determines who stays, and today I’m going with Darby given that he has more experience and some proven special teams ability.

The offensive line depth features a name that, like Franks, is likely to make people upset. I just wonder if the Falcons are truly ready to give up on the Mayfield experiment, given how much they seemed to like him coming out of college and given that he missed the entire 2022 season. Ifedi is the swing tackle, Hennessy a center/guard option, but Mayfield might still stick as depth at guard unless the team thinks they can simply stash him on the practice squad this year.

Otherwise, things feel fairly settled, especially at quarterback, running back, and the starting offensive line.


DE Calais Campbell
DE Arnold Ebiketie
DE DeAngelo Malone
DE Zachary Harrison

DT Grady Jarrett
DT David Onyemata
DT Ta’Quon Graham
DT Eddie Goldman
DT/DE Joe Gaziano

ILB Kaden Elliss
ILB Troy Andersen
ILB Mykal Walker
ILB Tae Davis

OLB Lorenzo Carter
OLB Bud Dupree
OLB Ade Ogundeji

CB A.J. Terrell
CB Jeff Okudah
CB Clark Phillips
CB Mike Hughes
CB Dee Alford
CB Darren Hall

S Jessie Bates
S Richie Grant
S Jaylinn Hawkins
S DeMarcco Hellams

The Falcons are a little leaner in this projection on offense than defense, where they’re leaning on a few older players and will need the depth. Up front, I mulled whether the team would keep Gaziano and decided his ability to play multiple roles would work in his favor.

Ogundeji, meanwhile, is in the same boat as Mayfield: Entering his third year without much high-upside play to show for it. Outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino is gone and was perhaps his biggest champion, but I’m guessing the team is giving him another year as a reserve to show what he can do.

Otherwise, there weren’t many difficult decisions to make here. Tae Davis was signed for his special teams value and is going to make this roster barring a major surprise, while Darren Hall’s solid special teams work and ability to man multiple positions earns him the final spot at cornerback. This defense is both better and deeper than it was a year ago, and that warms my heart.

Special Teams

K Younghoe Koo

P Bradley Pinion

LS Liam McCullough

Nothing but no-brainers here. Koo is one of the best kickers in football, Pinion did well last year and just signed a multi-year deal, and McCullough should be locked in as the team’s long snapper for years to come. The Falcons have a great group of specialists, and Avery Williams and Cordarrelle Patterson will hold down the returner jobs.

I’d bet heavily on Tae Davis, Darren Hall, Jaylinn Hawkins, DeMarcco Hellams, Frank Darby, and Keith Smith being among the core special teamers for Marquice Williams’ group, as well.

Practice Squad

QB Logan Woodside
RB Caleb Huntley
WR Jared Bernhardt
WR Ra’Shaun Henry
TE John FitzPatrick
OL Ryan Neuzil
OL Jovaughn Gwyn
OL Justin Shaffer
OL Ethan Greenidge
DL Timothy Horne
DL Jalen Dalton
LB Nate Landman
OLB David Anenih
CB Jamal Peters
CB Matt Hankins
S Micah Abernathy

Bonus practice squad projection, recognizing fully that this is likely to be wildly off.

Woodside hangs on as the de facto third/fourth quarterback thanks to his familiarity with Arthur Smith’s offense, while Huntley has more than enough talent to stick on the practice squad if he’s healthy. Bernhardt and Henry are receiver options worth developing, as well FitzPatrick at tight end, where he could turn into Parker Hesse’s eventual replacement.

I have the team carrying four offensive linemen because you can never have enough. Greenidge sticks thanks to his tremendous versatility, Shaffer for his mauling work in the ground game at guard, Gwyn as a developmental center prospect, and Neuzil for his ability to step in at guard or center. Substitute Josh Miles for Shaffer or Neuzil if you prefer more tackle help.

Defensively, Dalton and Horne stick thanks to their fine work a year ago on this roster, especially Horne. Landman has special teams chops and is worth developing at inside linebacker, while Anineh is here as a developmental pass rushing option. Peters is a CFL import who was a ballhawk a year ago and seems worth developing as well, with Hankins and Abernathy hanging on as special teamers and depth options in the secondary.

Now that you’ve read my projection, give me yours, laud me for the accuracy, or tell me the many things you’d change.