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Takeaways from the Falcons recently-unveiled 53 man roster

What do we think of the 2023 Falcons in all their (possible) glory?

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons have settled on an initial roster, and despite a change in tackle depth and possible shuffling in the week ahead, they look pretty set heading into the season. That means it’s a fine time for the team here at The Falcoholic to weigh in on our impressions of that roster.

So what are our early takeaways from this new-look roster? You’ll find ours below, and we welcome yours in the comments.

It’s a good roster!

Strongest position group: Running back

Weakest position group: Wide receiver

Surprise cut: Parker Hesse

Surprise keeper: Jovaughn Gwyn

One move I’d make: Sign a more experienced, high-upside swing tackle (yes, even after Isaiah Prince)

The Falcons came out of the spring with a roster that looked much stronger than the one they were fielding in 2022. After a full summer of competition, the 53 man roster holds true to that impression. This looks like a pretty good roster, one capable of posting a winning record and potentially a weakened NFC South, and if I have legitimate qualms with the receiver group after Drake London and Mack Hollins and the state of depth in a couple of other spots, they’re strong enough at position groups like the defensive line and running back to think these Falcons will make some noise.

And yes, I was surprised by the Hesse cut and the team keeping Gwyn, but their ability to sneak Hesse on the practice squad and their evident faith in Gwyn are both positives in my book.

There’s still work to be done here, but I’m still confident this is going to be a quality, fun season.

—Dave Choate

Optimism, but proof is in pudding

Strongest position group: Tight end

Weakest position group: Wide receiver

Surprise cut: Parker Hesse

Surprise keeper: Jovaughn Gwyn

One move I’d make: Adding a veteran wide receiver

The Falcons have, on paper, one of the more promising rosters they’ve had in recent years. There is a lot to like on the offense, and the defense actually feels like it has real talent in all three phases. Trying to nitpick depth cuts here and keeps there feels a bit useless, if only because of how rotten the last half-decade has been. It’s just nice to have a solid group.

We won’t know the overall strength of this roster until it coalesces on the field, but you have to like the floor. As long as Desmond Ridder doesn’t turn into a pumpkin from his encouraging four-game sample last season, the Falcons can win games. The roster can only get the team so far since so much is reliant on the coaching, and it still feels like the defense is an offseason away from feeling complete. However, the Falcons have struggled for so long that this roster giving off a spark of life feels commendable in and of itself.

—Cory Woodroof

Things are fine

Strongest position group: Offensive line

Weakest position group: Outside linebacker

Surprise cut: Timothy Horne

Surprise keeper: Jovaughn Gwyn

One move I’d make: Sign Jarvis Landry

The Falcons roster looks absolutely adequate. That’s a big improvement from years past. For the last four or so years, we looked at the final roster and had to hope for a miraculous stretch of health and a few miracles. The Falcons, of course, don’t get miracles, and things eventually fell where they did.

This year, I’m taking the unpopular opinion that the offensive line position group is the team’s best. Sure, they won’t be expected to do much pass blocking. There is plenty of talent there to create the league’s best run game even with a few questions marks further down the depth chart. Of course, in 2023, what team doesn’t have question marks on its OL down the depth chart?

More problematic is the team’s outside linebackers which is basically a ragtag group of rejects — they are the Average Joe’s Gym group if the 2023 Falcons were a side in the 2003 movie Dodgeball. This analogy isn’t a perfect fit because Globo Gym would be basically any team with a starter-worthy linebacker. You really have to hope for a miraculous stretch of health and a few miracles, including Arnold Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone turning into something better than Steve the Pirate.

All that said, there aren’t any starters available right now. Atlanta’s best chance would be signing whatever is left of a washed up veteran like Melvin Ingram but the team already did that with Bud Dupree. Pass rush will be problematic.

— Matt Chambers

Offseason upgrades have things on the right track

Strongest position group: Running Back

Weakest position group: Linebacker

Surprise cut: Parker Hesse

Surprise keeper: Jovaughn Gwyn

One move I’d make: Sign more proven depth along the offensive line

Running back is the strongest group mostly due to it being perhaps the deepest group in the entire NFL. Rookie Bijan Robinson joins Tyler Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson, who were already one of the NFL’s top duos.

On the opposite end, linebacker is a position of concern. Newcomer Kaden Elliss gives the team their most proven option, but he has just 12 career starts to his name with five more coming from second-year starter Troy Andersen. While both offer plenty of upside as starters, the team’s depth is also a major question mark with Nate Landman as the top reserve. Landman played 22 snaps as an undrafted free agent last season. Beyond him, it’s solely special teams contributor Tae Davis, who hasn’t played more than sixty snaps on defense since 2018.

But despite those concerns in the middle of the defense, I’m much more worried about the team’s offensive line depth. Given how critical the team’s run game is to their overall success, an injury up front could lead to the offense’s foundation crumbling a bit. Adding a more proven body there could do wonders to stave off any worries.

But overall, the Falcons roster is much improved from a year ago thanks to an active offseason and the expectation that recent draft picks like Andersen, quarterback Desmond Ridder, and others are poised to step up this year and put this team on track to shatter their five-year playoff drought.

— Aaron Freeman