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Falcons reportedly signing USFL Defensive Player of the Year Frank Ginda

Atlanta’s adding competition to their linebacker group after the first game, with a player who has

Michigan Panthers v New Orleans Breakers Photo by Kevin C. Cox/USFL/Getty Images for USFL

The Falcons rarely stand pat with their roster, constantly tinkering to try to find quality reserves. That seems to have paid off recently with the addition of running back Godwin Igwebuike, who had a pretty terrific night against the Dolphins, and it may pay off again with the addition of Frank Ginda.

The 26-year-old linebacker is fresh off a Defensive Player of the Year honor in the USFL, where he played for former Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan on the Michigan Panthers and led the league in tackles. He spent the 2018 and 2019 preseasons with the Dolphins and Saints, respectively, and had a big game in the 2018 preseason finale against the Falcons with 10 tackles and a forced fumble. Now the Falcons have signed him, per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.

There must be a corresponding move here, and my bet would be on someone in the inside linebacker group exiting, given that it already was a little crowded before Ginda arrived. Currently, I would say that Tae Davis and Nate Landman are the favorites for one spot behind Kaden Elliss, Troy Andersen, and Mykal Walker, with Davis’s strong special teams track record likely giving him a leg up over a productive preseason defender in Landman. The signing of Ginda throws some of those assumptions into chaos, because he’s shown well in preseason in the past and is being added to a position group where the competition is already pretty fierce.

The best case for Ginda is that he continues to build on his USFL play and makes a real push for a spot, either the roster or the practice squad, by turning up the heat on Atlanta’s reserve options. It’s worth noting that Walker had an up-and-down effort against Miami and Davis, Landman, and Mike Jones Jr. each had a standout play or two, and that Ryan Nielsen and the defensive coaching staff have changed drastically enough that no one is necessarily truly safe beyond Elliss and Andersen. If Atlanta’s not locked in on, say, Walker and Davis being their No. 3 and No. 4 inside linebackers, or if they intend to keep five players, Ginda may well find himself in the mix.

At the moment, though, all we know is that this is an intriguing signing adding for a competition that may go down to the wire this summer. Give Ginda a warm welcome, and we’ll see when the team announces the signing officially.