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Falcons fill out practice squad with OL Josh Miles, WR C.J. Saunders

Atlanta’s stacking depth at two relatively thin positions.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

The Falcons figured to bring Josh Miles back via the practice squad after waiving him yesterday, and they’ve done so. The team also added a new wide receiver in C.J. Saunders, filling out their 16 man practice squad for the moment.

That announcement came earlier this afternoon and signals the completion of the team’s moves for the moment, with neither the active roster or practice squad guaranteed to stay the same heading into Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers. The two players also tell you a little something about where the Falcons are most concerned about their depth.

We’ll start with Miles, who “won” the swing tackle competition over Jalen Mayfield, Tyler Vrabel, Barry Wesley, and others, only to be waived the day after cutdowns. Mayfield is elsewhere and Vrabel and Wesley are also on the practice squad, giving the Falcons multiple emergency options at tackle behind starters Jake Matthews and Kaleb McGary, as well as new swing tackle signing Isaiah Prince. Given that Miles fared the best of any of these players against starters and top backups, he’ll likely be the first man up should the Falcons need help from their practice squad.

Saunders is the only truly new face on the practice squad. He actually attended Atlanta’s rookie minicamp back in 2021 but did not sign, eventually landing with the Panthers and managing two catches for 11 yards that year. A converted cornerback in college who caught passes from Justin Fields at Ohio State, Saunders does not have eye-popping college numbers, speed, or size, but he drew praise from Panthers coaches and players for his shiftiness and route-running during his time there.

The Falcons very obviously like those traits enough to use a practice squad spot on him despite holding on to a pair of other receivers in Xavier Malone and Mathew Sexton, once again choosing to stack young depth at a position that looks a little thin on the 53 man roster side. We’ll see if Saunders gets a shot to develop and contribute for Atlanta in 2023, or if he’s getting a cup of coffee and sharing some interesting tidbits about his former team ahead of the Week 1 matchup between the Falcons and Panthers.

Give both Miles and Saunders a warm welcome to the practice squad!