The focus for the Falcons this weekend was rookie minicamp, but inevitably, they’re also making moves that have nothing to do with that incoming rookie class and those players trying out for the roster.
Today, that was adding three players, with veteran linebacker and core special teamer Andre Smith Jr. coming first. Along with former Brown Tae Davis, a fellow linebacker and special teamer added earlier this spring, Smith should be competing for a reserve role on defense and a major role for Marquice Williams’ group this upcoming season.
Smith will be heading into his age 26 season, and has spent his career with Carolina, Buffalo, and Tennessee to this point. He has yet to make an NFL start in his career, but he has played over 60% of the special teams snaps in the game he has appeared in for those teams, providing reliable work along the way.
Smith and Davis might both make the roster, given how much weight this team gives to the strength of their special teams group, especially with a Rashaan Evans signing seemingly nowhere in sight. At worst, Smith will compete with Davis for a final linebacker spot, and should be a useful addition to the team if he ultimately makes it.
WR Slade Bolden
Per NFL insider Jordan Schultz, the Falcons have added wide receiver Slade Bolden to the mix. The team worked him out a couple of weeks ago alongside ex-Seahawk Penny Hart, who they signed shortly thereafter.
Bolden is known for his route-running and special teams experience, including experience on returns at Alabama, and will likely be competing with Frank Darby, Jared Bernhardt, and Hart for a role as the fifth (and possibly sixth) receiver with a primary role on special teams.
DB Clifford Chattman
Finally, Atlanta signed signed Chattman, a very tall defensive back who adds size and further competition to a crowded depth chart at cornerback and safety. He has some experience playing both positions, and in addition to his size, he put up 14 pass deflections and five interceptions in his final season at UTSA.
Falcons have signed cornerback Clifford Chattman, per his Instagram page (via @aussiefalconfan).— Daniel Flick (@DFlickDraft) May 14, 2023
Chattman has tremendous size at 6-5 and finished his college career at UTSA after a stint at Texas A&M. https://t.co/MfAcfSXyBG
Atlanta’s going to have to make cuts to make room for these three—I expect we’ll get that news soon enough—but they’ve added three intriguing players after rookie minicamp. We’ll see what comes next.