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Early Projections For The Atlanta Falcons' Final 53-Man Roster (B/r)


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Early Projections for the Atlanta Falcons' Final 53-Man Roster

by your boy(sometimes) Scott Carasik

http://bleacherrepor...l-53-man-roster

I'll save some clicks:

The draft was just a week ago, but it's time to put out some early projections for the Atlanta Falcons' final 53-man roster. Keep in mind, this is all just speculation at this point because we haven't even made it through rookie camp just yet.

The Falcons brought in nine drafted rookies, 20 undrafted rookies and multiple key free agents this offseason in a roster-reloading mission. After going 4-12 in 2013, with minimal camp competition last year, it looks like every job outside of a select few is up for grabs.

And that's a good thing. There will be some surprise cuts this offseason. There will also be some surprises when it comes to even making the roster during the season. Outside of injuries, this is the best projection for the Falcons' opening-day roster.

QB

Starter: Matt Ryan

Backup: Jeff Mathews

When reviews from minicamp compare a guy to the current incumbent starter, as is the case with Jeff Mathews, it makes sense that he would be the one who will eventually win the job. Matt Ryan isn't going anywhere after signing the contract that he did. He's the franchise quarterback for better or worse at this point.

Didn't Make the Cut: Dominique Davis and Sean Renfree

Dominique Davis and Sean Renfree both have experience in the current scheme and have earned a roster spot of sorts in the past. However, the Falcons only kept two quarterbacks on the roster last season, and they will probably do the same this year. Renfree is eligible for the practice squad.

RB

Featured: Steven Jackson

Change of Pace: Jacquizz Rodgers

Fullback: Roosevelt Nix

Backups: Antone Smith and Devonta Freeman

Steven Jackson is paid the big bucks to be the "bell cow" back. He's not going anywhere and will at least get another shot as the featured back in the rotation. Until someone usurps him, Jacquizz Rodgers will be the change-of-pace specialist in the running back corps.

Antone Smith and Devonta Freeman will get some touches this year, and Freeman could easily become the long-term starter as the featured running back. The question is who will be paired with him after 2014 due to contract situations.

Most fullbacks have trouble starting in the NFL as a rookie because they lack the functional strength to win the job. Roosevelt Nix has shown plenty of that as an undersized defensive end in college against even the best at Alabama. A transition to fullback is perfect for his athletic profile, and Nix could impact in 2014.

Didn't Make the Cut: Jerome Smith, Josh Vaughan, Patrick DiMarco and Maurice Hagens

Jerome Smith is an ideal practice-squad candidate should Jackson go down again this year. He's a Jason Snelling clone who could provide similar value when he gets the ball. Vaughan is like a minor league pitcher who's just out of options.

Patrick DiMarco and Maurice Hagens are both solid fullbacks, but the athletic Nix is going to be too much for them to defeat in a camp battle. However, it wouldn't shock if any of the three fullbacks did end up winning the job.

WR

Featured: Julio Jones

Possession: Roddy White

Slot: Harry Douglas

Backups: Devin Hester, Drew Davis and Geraldo Boldewijn

Julio Jones is one of the top five wide receivers in football when he's healthy. Roddy White is almost on the verge of being considered "Mr. Falcon Jr." Harry Douglas is a great slot receiver, but he's a very solid depth guy on the outside should either White or Jones go down.

Devin Hester allows the Falcons to have an explosive option should Jones go down once again. Drew Davis and Geraldo Boldewijn look to be the best from the large group of young undrafted receivers. Davis is a premier gunner in the NFL, and Boldewijn has a Brian Finneran-type quality to his game.

Didn't Make the Cut: Dominique Croom, Bernard Reedy, Darius Johnson, Tramaine Thompson, Julian Jones and Freddie Martino

Dominique Croom and Darius Johnson both contributed to the Falcons in 2013 on either the practice squad or the playing field, but neither should be a top-six receiver for the Falcons in 2014. Bernard Reedy and Tramaine Thompson both look like slot receivers who won't be able to beat out Douglas or Davis.

Julian Jones and Freddie Martino look like the best candidates for the practice squad. Martino was a poor-man's Roddy White when he played at North Greenville and could be a surprise after a few years. Jones is just a tough worker who will at least contribute on scout teams.

TE

Starter: Levine Toilolo

Blocking Specialist: Bear Pascoe

Backup: Jacob Pedersen

The Falcons look to be punting on trying to replace Tony Gonzalez's role in their offense. That's the wise decision, as Levine Toilolo should be a better fit as an in-line tight end than Gonzalez was. Toilolo may not be perfect, but Ryan seems to feel comfortable with him, and he should see red-zone looks.

Bear Pascoe is an ideal sixth offensive lineman with good hands for the 10 balls that will be thrown his way this year. Jacob Pedersen is the real wild card. He was a personal favorite during the draft lead-up as an H-back-style tight end as both a blocker and receiver.

Didn't Make the Cut: Mickey Shuler, Andrew Szczerba and Brian Wozniak

Brian Wozniak stands the best chance of making the roster or practice squad as a reserve because of how good he is as a blocker. Mickey Shuler has a great athletic profile but has done nothing since he entered the league, and Andrew Szczerba looks like nothing but a camp body.

Offensive Line

Left Tackle: Sam Baker

Left Guard: Justin Blalock

Center: Joe Hawley

Right Guard: Jon Asamoah

Right Tackle: Jake Matthews

Swing Tackle: Lamar Holmes

Guard/Center: Peter Konz

Backups: Mike Johnson and Ryan Schraeder

Sam Baker and Justin Blalock resume their roles as the starting left tackle and left guard in the offense. Joe Hawley looks to be in a competition with Peter Konz for the starting center spot which he should win. Jon Asamoah and Jake Matthews were brought in to fix the right side of the line this year.

However, unless the Falcons move to a zone-blocking scheme, it looks like Matthews is the long-term solution at left tackle, with Lamar Holmes continuing to learn at right tackle. Holmes and Mike Johnson should make the roster due to versatility.

Konz should also end up as the reserve at center and guard for game days. The wild card here is whether the Falcons like Gabe Carimi or Ryan Schraeder more. At the end of the day, Schraeder doesn't have the injury history holding him back that Carimi does.

Didn't Make the Cut: Terren Jones, Gabe Carimi, Harland Gunn, Adam Replogle and James Stone

Terren Jones and Adam Replogle are both good practice-squad-caliber guys, but they shouldn't be on an active roster. Harland Gunn isn't an upgrade over Johnson, Schraeder or Konz at either guard or center. James Stone could be the dark horse to make the roster if Konz or Hawley suffer an injury.

Carimi is the toughest one to determine. If he's 100 percent healthy, he could compete with Schraeder for the final spot on the roster here. But it's going to take a lot for him to usurp the second-year lineman out of Valdosta State.

Defensive Line

Left End: Tyson Jackson

Nose Tackle: Paul Soliai

4-3 Under Tackle/3-4 Right End: Ra'Shede Hageman

Backups: Jonathan Babineaux, Corey Peters and Malliciah Goodman

Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliai were brought in to add some needed bulk to the defensive line. Ra'Shede Hageman was added because he has the potential to become the next Richard Seymour-type destroyer on the interior of the defensive line.

Jonathan Babineaux and Malliciah Goodman will be ends in the 3-4 looks for the Falcons when they rotate in. They can also play end or tackle in the 4-3 looks. Corey Peters is the ideal rotational guy for Soliai because he can pass rush much more effectively than Soliai can.

Didn't Make the Cut: Donte Rumph, Cliff Matthews, Peria Jerry, Travian Robertson and Nosa Eguae

Donte Rumph and Nosa Eguae are ideal practice-quad guys, but they likely won't come close to making the roster. Peria Jerry finally should be cut once Peters shows he's healthy. Cliff Matthews and Travian Robertson were a great combination at South Carolina, but they have been nothing but depth in the pros.

Edge players and LBer

4-3 Right End: Osi Umenyiora

3-4 Weak Outside Linebacker: Jonathan Massaquoi

4-3 Weakside Linebacker/3-4 Weak-Inside Linebacker: Sean Weatherspoon

4-3 Middle Linebacker/3-4 Strong-Inside Linebacker: Paul Worrilow

Strong-side Linebacker: Kroy Biermann

Backups: Prince Shembo, Tyler Starr, Joplo Bartu, Marquis Spruill and Yawin Smallwood

Osi Umenyiora and Kroy Biermann look to be the base defensive starters on the edge. Biermann coming back from an ACL is going to be tough to gauge, though. Hopefully, he'll be back and able to drop like a linebacker as he used to.

Jonathan Massaquoi looks to be the best fit for the Falcons' pass-rush specialist in the Mike Nolan defense, as he profiles similarly to Cameron Wake and Elvis Dumervil. Joplo Bartu and Paul Worrilow have both earned roster spots after their performances in 2013.

Worrilow looks to be the guy who should wear the green dot, as he should never leave the field due to his all-around abilities. Prince Shembo and Tyler Starr both have a lot of potential as pass-rushers. If Starr develops, he's going to be a monster in the Falcons defense.

Marquis Spruill and Yawin Smallwood are the ideal backup inside linebackers, as they can both play special teams effectively. Spruill can also line up at weak-side linebacker in the 4-3 looks Atlanta will show sometimes. Atlanta really has the personnel to run Nolan's defense the way it should be.

Didn't Make the Cut: Stansly Maponga, Walker May, Jacques Smith, Akeem Dent and Brenden Daley

There are some shocks here in Stansly Maponga and Akeem Dent. However, both have been adequately replaced with Shembo and Spruill. Walker May, Jacques Smith and Brenden Daley are all camp bodies who have some solid depth potential.

Cornerback

Right Cornerback: Desmond Trufant

Left Cornerback: Robert Alford

Slot Cornerback: Robert McClain

Backups: Josh Wilson and Ricardo Allen

Desmond Trufant was one of the best rookies in the NFL last year. Period. And it was not just at cornerback. He comes back this year as one of the best cornerbacks in the entire NFL. Robert Alford comes back with a full season of experience and could be ready for a big jump.

If Alford and Trufant make the jump to the peak of their potential this season, they could look like Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent of thePhiladelphia Eagles of the late-1990s to early-2000s. Robert McClain should be ready to rebound after a mediocre 2013 campaign at nickel cornerback.

If he does fail, Josh Wilson should be right there to pick up the slack as a veteran talent at nickel. Ricardo Allen could possibly not even make the roster. However, the Falcons always seem to give draft picks a pass when it comes to earning roster spots in the Thomas Dimitroff-Mike Smith era.

Didn't Make the Cut: Javier Arenas, Jordan Mabin and Devonta Glover-Wright

Yes, Javier Arenas is listed here. It's not because he doesn't have talent. It's because the Falcons will only carry five cornerbacks, and he just happens to be No. 6. Jordan Mabin and Devonta Glover-Wright are both long shots who won't likely make the roster.

Safety

Strong Safety: William Moore

Free Safety: Dezmen Southward

Backups: Dwight Lowery and Kemal Ishmael

When it's all said and done, Dezmen Southward will show that he's more than worthy of a spot as the starting free safety. He's got a ton of potential and should at the very minimum be an upgrade over Thomas DeCoud's poor 2013 season.

William Moore is back as the leader of the secondary. If Dwight Lowery is healthy, he should easily make the roster as a depth guy at both safety spots. Kemal Ishmael has high potential, but he's likely nothing more than a special teams guy.

Didn't Make the Cut: Zeke Motta (IR), Sean Baker and Kimario McFadden

Zeke Motta could be out for the year due to a neck injury, according to ESPN.com's Vaughn McClure. If he's healthy, Atlanta could easily keep him over Lowery. Sean Baker and Kimario McFadden will battle it out for a spot on the practice squad.

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I'm not sure we'll go with a rookie QB as Matt Ryan's only backup. Also I can't see Darius Johnson getting cut, but I guess anything is possible.

Agree on Darius Johnson. Davis goes before he does.

But Dom Davis was Ryan's backup as a rookie, so that doesn't really mean much. Although I agree that Davis will probably be the backup this year, and they will try to stash Mathews on the practice squad. Which means I doubt we'll even see much of Mathews in the preseason, since they will not want to put much tape of him out there that would give another team the idea to claim him before we could put him on our practice squad.

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Agree on Darius Johnson. Davis goes before he does.

But Dom Davis was Ryan's backup as a rookie, so that doesn't really mean much. Although I agree that Davis will probably be the backup this year, and they will try to stash Mathews on the practice squad. Which means I doubt we'll even see much of Mathews in the preseason, since they will not want to put much tape of him out there that would give another team the idea to claim him before we could put him on our practice squad.

Johnson is a good special teamer if I recall. He goes nowhere.

Dominique Davis beat out Redman, right? Mathews would legitimately have to beat out Davis, and convincingly. I don't see it happening this year.

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Guest fibonacci

Matthews over Davis. I'm all for that. I never liked what I saw out of him day one. I thought he was going to make me eat crow. instead Davis proved me right.

I know nothing on Nix. but I would love to see someone with "the fridge" size as FB.

I do think darius Johnson makes the team. he just seemed pretty well in camp and in the games. and now he has a year under his belt.

I wonder if we'll carry 3 TE's. I have a feeling we will only be floating two this year. just cause of other spots we will want to load on.

I agree exactly with D and O line moves.

you really think Maponga gets cut?

-it's not that i don't think he should be. it's because of Thomas cutting someone after only a year.

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Yeah, i wouldnt bet on all draft picks to make the rosters, and unseat vets to do so.

Not sure why people think because you were drafted you make the cut. It wouldnt suprise me to see 2-3 draftees on PS or cut in favor of vets or even UDFAs.

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I don't think Spruill and Smallwood both make it over Dent and Maponga. Both Spruil and Smallwood are late round rookies and they have practice squad eligibility. Dent and Maponga don't. So if we choose Spruil/Smallwood then we will have to outright cut Dent/Maponga.

If we keep Maponga/Dent then we can put Spruill/Smallwood on the practice squad. And i think Dent has an opportunity to be a better 3-4 LB than he is a 4-3 MLB.

As far as Maponga, judging him from his rookie year alone, i did not see a single thing that made me think he would have an impact, but he was a rookie so we wil see.

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Agree on Darius Johnson. Davis goes before he does.

But Dom Davis was Ryan's backup as a rookie, so that doesn't really mean much. Although I agree that Davis will probably be the backup this year, and they will try to stash Mathews on the practice squad. Which means I doubt we'll even see much of Mathews in the preseason, since they will not want to put much tape of him out there that would give another team the idea to claim him before we could put him on our practice squad.

Dom Davis beat out Redman, but we signed Luke McCown to be backup in 2012. I think something similar will happen if Mathews beats out both Dom Davis and Renfree.

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Hoping we get a surprise at the backup OC/and RG role...and Konz is cut.

We still have a big (?) at free safety...Southward doesn't project like a day 1 starter.

Biermann is vulnerable IMHO if he doesn't take a pay cut

Players I hope to lose because we have acquired better younger players on the roster:

Dent- health/over drafted

P. Jerry- health/over drafted(TD-bust)

Konz- (TD-bust) and no, he didn't look good at OG either

*Biermann - injury/pay (not a pass rusher/or stout vs run) - renegotiate

*Baker- reasons are obvious, but he makes too much sad.png

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Hoping we get a surprise at the backup OC/and RG role...and Konz is cut.

We still have a big (?) at free safety...Southward doesn't project like a day 1 starter.

Biermann is vulnerable IMHO if he doesn't take a pay cut

Players I hope to lose because we have acquired better younger players on the roster:

Dent- health/over drafted

P. Jerry- health/over drafted(TD-bust)

Konz- (TD-bust) and no, he didn't look good at OG either

*Biermann - injury/pay (not a pass rusher/or stout vs run) - renegotiate

*Baker- reasons are obvious, but he makes too much sad.png

Osi should be just as likely of a cut candidate as Kroy IMO due to scheme diversity. In a 3-4 I think Kroy can be what J. Johnson/ P. Kruger were for BAL, opposite the premier pass rusher.

Why do you think Southward doesnt project as a day 1 starter? Not saying he will be, but I am not discountin him yet. Seems like pretty much everyone liked the pick outside of our own fanbase.

I agree Jerry has an uphill climb. It is obvious he was brought back just as cheap insurance, based on the contract they gave him.

C. Matthews should be a cut, but the staff always liked him, and as a DE who bulked and moved to DT, the 3-4 DE spot may be the perfect fit for him. Competition will be very havy there though. Gonna have to beat out Goodman to get a spot, since Babs, Jackson, Hageman will be locks. Not sure if they see Peters and Jerry as DE or NT in 3-4?

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110% disagree with the DJ13 and Maponga cuts.

We've seen flashes in Maponga and I doubt he gets a pink slip without a disastrous camp. I have yet to drink the Spruill kool-aid, but I'd be shocked to see him on the final ros before Maponga.

Also think Allen goes to P-squad before he makes the 53 over Arenas. Much more value and versatility there. Allen is super-duper wet from everything I've seen..... a walking question mark. Give him some time on PS.

And I think Starr heads to PS, too. Seriously doubt he AND Smallwood (whose kool-aid I HAVE drank, btw) both make the 53.

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Early Projections for the Atlanta Falcons' Final 53-Man Roster

by your boy(sometimes) Scott Carasik

http://bleacherrepor...l-53-man-roster

I'll save some clicks:

The draft was just a week ago, but it's time to put out some early projections for the Atlanta Falcons' final 53-man roster. Keep in mind, this is all just speculation at this point because we haven't even made it through rookie camp just yet.

The Falcons brought in nine drafted rookies, 20 undrafted rookies and multiple key free agents this offseason in a roster-reloading mission. After going 4-12 in 2013, with minimal camp competition last year, it looks like every job outside of a select few is up for grabs.

And that's a good thing. There will be some surprise cuts this offseason. There will also be some surprises when it comes to even making the roster during the season. Outside of injuries, this is the best projection for the Falcons' opening-day roster.

QB

Starter: Matt Ryan

Backup: Jeff Mathews

When reviews from minicamp compare a guy to the current incumbent starter, as is the case with Jeff Mathews, it makes sense that he would be the one who will eventually win the job. Matt Ryan isn't going anywhere after signing the contract that he did. He's the franchise quarterback for better or worse at this point.

Didn't Make the Cut: Dominique Davis and Sean Renfree

Dominique Davis and Sean Renfree both have experience in the current scheme and have earned a roster spot of sorts in the past. However, the Falcons only kept two quarterbacks on the roster last season, and they will probably do the same this year. Renfree is eligible for the practice squad.

RB

Featured: Steven Jackson

Change of Pace: Jacquizz Rodgers

Fullback: Roosevelt Nix

Backups: Antone Smith and Devonta Freeman

Steven Jackson is paid the big bucks to be the "bell cow" back. He's not going anywhere and will at least get another shot as the featured back in the rotation. Until someone usurps him, Jacquizz Rodgers will be the change-of-pace specialist in the running back corps.

Antone Smith and Devonta Freeman will get some touches this year, and Freeman could easily become the long-term starter as the featured running back. The question is who will be paired with him after 2014 due to contract situations.

Most fullbacks have trouble starting in the NFL as a rookie because they lack the functional strength to win the job. Roosevelt Nix has shown plenty of that as an undersized defensive end in college against even the best at Alabama. A transition to fullback is perfect for his athletic profile, and Nix could impact in 2014.

Didn't Make the Cut: Jerome Smith, Josh Vaughan, Patrick DiMarco and Maurice Hagens

Jerome Smith is an ideal practice-squad candidate should Jackson go down again this year. He's a Jason Snelling clone who could provide similar value when he gets the ball. Vaughan is like a minor league pitcher who's just out of options.

Patrick DiMarco and Maurice Hagens are both solid fullbacks, but the athletic Nix is going to be too much for them to defeat in a camp battle. However, it wouldn't shock if any of the three fullbacks did end up winning the job.

WR

Featured: Julio Jones

Possession: Roddy White

Slot: Harry Douglas

Backups: Devin Hester, Drew Davis and Geraldo Boldewijn

Julio Jones is one of the top five wide receivers in football when he's healthy. Roddy White is almost on the verge of being considered "Mr. Falcon Jr." Harry Douglas is a great slot receiver, but he's a very solid depth guy on the outside should either White or Jones go down.

Devin Hester allows the Falcons to have an explosive option should Jones go down once again. Drew Davis and Geraldo Boldewijn look to be the best from the large group of young undrafted receivers. Davis is a premier gunner in the NFL, and Boldewijn has a Brian Finneran-type quality to his game.

Didn't Make the Cut: Dominique Croom, Bernard Reedy, Darius Johnson, Tramaine Thompson, Julian Jones and Freddie Martino

Dominique Croom and Darius Johnson both contributed to the Falcons in 2013 on either the practice squad or the playing field, but neither should be a top-six receiver for the Falcons in 2014. Bernard Reedy and Tramaine Thompson both look like slot receivers who won't be able to beat out Douglas or Davis.

Julian Jones and Freddie Martino look like the best candidates for the practice squad. Martino was a poor-man's Roddy White when he played at North Greenville and could be a surprise after a few years. Jones is just a tough worker who will at least contribute on scout teams.

TE

Starter: Levine Toilolo

Blocking Specialist: Bear Pascoe

Backup: Jacob Pedersen

The Falcons look to be punting on trying to replace Tony Gonzalez's role in their offense. That's the wise decision, as Levine Toilolo should be a better fit as an in-line tight end than Gonzalez was. Toilolo may not be perfect, but Ryan seems to feel comfortable with him, and he should see red-zone looks.

Bear Pascoe is an ideal sixth offensive lineman with good hands for the 10 balls that will be thrown his way this year. Jacob Pedersen is the real wild card. He was a personal favorite during the draft lead-up as an H-back-style tight end as both a blocker and receiver.

Didn't Make the Cut: Mickey Shuler, Andrew Szczerba and Brian Wozniak

Brian Wozniak stands the best chance of making the roster or practice squad as a reserve because of how good he is as a blocker. Mickey Shuler has a great athletic profile but has done nothing since he entered the league, and Andrew Szczerba looks like nothing but a camp body.

Offensive Line

Left Tackle: Sam Baker

Left Guard: Justin Blalock

Center: Joe Hawley

Right Guard: Jon Asamoah

Right Tackle: Jake Matthews

Swing Tackle: Lamar Holmes

Guard/Center: Peter Konz

Backups: Mike Johnson and Ryan Schraeder

Sam Baker and Justin Blalock resume their roles as the starting left tackle and left guard in the offense. Joe Hawley looks to be in a competition with Peter Konz for the starting center spot which he should win. Jon Asamoah and Jake Matthews were brought in to fix the right side of the line this year.

However, unless the Falcons move to a zone-blocking scheme, it looks like Matthews is the long-term solution at left tackle, with Lamar Holmes continuing to learn at right tackle. Holmes and Mike Johnson should make the roster due to versatility.

Konz should also end up as the reserve at center and guard for game days. The wild card here is whether the Falcons like Gabe Carimi or Ryan Schraeder more. At the end of the day, Schraeder doesn't have the injury history holding him back that Carimi does.

Didn't Make the Cut: Terren Jones, Gabe Carimi, Harland Gunn, Adam Replogle and James Stone

Terren Jones and Adam Replogle are both good practice-squad-caliber guys, but they shouldn't be on an active roster. Harland Gunn isn't an upgrade over Johnson, Schraeder or Konz at either guard or center. James Stone could be the dark horse to make the roster if Konz or Hawley suffer an injury.

Carimi is the toughest one to determine. If he's 100 percent healthy, he could compete with Schraeder for the final spot on the roster here. But it's going to take a lot for him to usurp the second-year lineman out of Valdosta State.

Defensive Line

Left End: Tyson Jackson

Nose Tackle: Paul Soliai

4-3 Under Tackle/3-4 Right End: Ra'Shede Hageman

Backups: Jonathan Babineaux, Corey Peters and Malliciah Goodman

Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliai were brought in to add some needed bulk to the defensive line. Ra'Shede Hageman was added because he has the potential to become the next Richard Seymour-type destroyer on the interior of the defensive line.

Jonathan Babineaux and Malliciah Goodman will be ends in the 3-4 looks for the Falcons when they rotate in. They can also play end or tackle in the 4-3 looks. Corey Peters is the ideal rotational guy for Soliai because he can pass rush much more effectively than Soliai can.

Didn't Make the Cut: Donte Rumph, Cliff Matthews, Peria Jerry, Travian Robertson and Nosa Eguae

Donte Rumph and Nosa Eguae are ideal practice-quad guys, but they likely won't come close to making the roster. Peria Jerry finally should be cut once Peters shows he's healthy. Cliff Matthews and Travian Robertson were a great combination at South Carolina, but they have been nothing but depth in the pros.

Edge players and LBer

4-3 Right End: Osi Umenyiora

3-4 Weak Outside Linebacker: Jonathan Massaquoi

4-3 Weakside Linebacker/3-4 Weak-Inside Linebacker: Sean Weatherspoon

4-3 Middle Linebacker/3-4 Strong-Inside Linebacker: Paul Worrilow

Strong-side Linebacker: Kroy Biermann

Backups: Prince Shembo, Tyler Starr, Joplo Bartu, Marquis Spruill and Yawin Smallwood

Osi Umenyiora and Kroy Biermann look to be the base defensive starters on the edge. Biermann coming back from an ACL is going to be tough to gauge, though. Hopefully, he'll be back and able to drop like a linebacker as he used to.

Jonathan Massaquoi looks to be the best fit for the Falcons' pass-rush specialist in the Mike Nolan defense, as he profiles similarly to Cameron Wake and Elvis Dumervil. Joplo Bartu and Paul Worrilow have both earned roster spots after their performances in 2013.

Worrilow looks to be the guy who should wear the green dot, as he should never leave the field due to his all-around abilities. Prince Shembo and Tyler Starr both have a lot of potential as pass-rushers. If Starr develops, he's going to be a monster in the Falcons defense.

Marquis Spruill and Yawin Smallwood are the ideal backup inside linebackers, as they can both play special teams effectively. Spruill can also line up at weak-side linebacker in the 4-3 looks Atlanta will show sometimes. Atlanta really has the personnel to run Nolan's defense the way it should be.

Didn't Make the Cut: Stansly Maponga, Walker May, Jacques Smith, Akeem Dent and Brenden Daley

There are some shocks here in Stansly Maponga and Akeem Dent. However, both have been adequately replaced with Shembo and Spruill. Walker May, Jacques Smith and Brenden Daley are all camp bodies who have some solid depth potential.

Cornerback

Right Cornerback: Desmond Trufant

Left Cornerback: Robert Alford

Slot Cornerback: Robert McClain

Backups: Josh Wilson and Ricardo Allen

Desmond Trufant was one of the best rookies in the NFL last year. Period. And it was not just at cornerback. He comes back this year as one of the best cornerbacks in the entire NFL. Robert Alford comes back with a full season of experience and could be ready for a big jump.

If Alford and Trufant make the jump to the peak of their potential this season, they could look like Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent of thePhiladelphia Eagles of the late-1990s to early-2000s. Robert McClain should be ready to rebound after a mediocre 2013 campaign at nickel cornerback.

If he does fail, Josh Wilson should be right there to pick up the slack as a veteran talent at nickel. Ricardo Allen could possibly not even make the roster. However, the Falcons always seem to give draft picks a pass when it comes to earning roster spots in the Thomas Dimitroff-Mike Smith era.

Didn't Make the Cut: Javier Arenas, Jordan Mabin and Devonta Glover-Wright

Yes, Javier Arenas is listed here. It's not because he doesn't have talent. It's because the Falcons will only carry five cornerbacks, and he just happens to be No. 6. Jordan Mabin and Devonta Glover-Wright are both long shots who won't likely make the roster.

Safety

Strong Safety: William Moore

Free Safety: Dezmen Southward

Backups: Dwight Lowery and Kemal Ishmael

When it's all said and done, Dezmen Southward will show that he's more than worthy of a spot as the starting free safety. He's got a ton of potential and should at the very minimum be an upgrade over Thomas DeCoud's poor 2013 season.

William Moore is back as the leader of the secondary. If Dwight Lowery is healthy, he should easily make the roster as a depth guy at both safety spots. Kemal Ishmael has high potential, but he's likely nothing more than a special teams guy.

Didn't Make the Cut: Zeke Motta (IR), Sean Baker and Kimario McFadden

Zeke Motta could be out for the year due to a neck injury, according to ESPN.com's Vaughn McClure. If he's healthy, Atlanta could easily keep him over Lowery. Sean Baker and Kimario McFadden will battle it out for a spot on the practice squad.

Dominique Davis done? Jelly gets jacked up? Maponga MIA and Dent departing? Darius Johnson dismissed? These are some bold predictions, perhaps a tad too bold to be real.

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Firstly good work - a lot of work going into here and mostly justified. However fundamentally its not worth squat until we at least have TC IMHO

That being said my opinion;

- Stone goes to practise squad at OC - too much uncertainty re Konz and Hawkey (especially Konz).

- DJ makes the cut at wr over Finn clone - he showed enough last year IMHO

- arenas also makes team as backup nickel/safety. I do not like our depth at safety also and should get the spot of Ismail (shown us nothing)

- dent will be kept and one of the low round lbs goes to PS. He's a 3-4 ilb cast way out of place in a 4-3.

- biermanns injury was an Achilles and not an ACL

Seriously good writeup though although as I said kinda early to make serious projections with no injury concerns evident and guys returning from injury (KB etc) still waiting to show what they got.

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I actually like Jeff Mathews as the pick for the backup. Davis was given chances and will get another shot but hasn't really impressed me. Mathews is a smart qb with a big arm and very is accurate. His only real knocks are his slow 40 time and playing in a weak Ivy League. Made those scrub receivers he played with look decent.

I agree with most of his assessment. Would edit it slightly. Would put Boldewijn on the practice squad in order to open up a roster spot for Mapanga, and choose Carimi over Johnson.

Not sure if Spruill can beat out Dent, but let the best man win.

Good write up over all though.

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QB

1-Matt Ryan

2-Dom Davis

3-Sean Renfree

RB/FB

4-Davante Freeman

5-Jaquizz Rodgers

6-Antone Smith

7-Jerome Smith

8-Patrick DiMarco

TE

9-Levine Toilolo

10-Bear Pascoe

11-Jacob Pedersen

WR

12-Julio Jones

13-Roddy White

14-Harry Douglas

15-Devin Hester

16-Drew Davis or Darius Johnson

OL

17-Sam Baker

18-Justin Blalock

19-Joe Hawley

20-Jon Asamoah

21-Jake Matthews

22-Lamar Holmes

23-Peter Konz

24-Ryan Schraeder

25-Mike Johnson or Gabe Carimi

DL

26--Rasheade Hageman

27-Paul Soliai

28-Tyson Jackson

29-Jonathan Babinaux

30-Corey Peters

31-Mallaciah Goodman

32-Donte Rumph

33-Jonathan Massaquoi

34-Sean Weatherspoon

35-Paul Worrilow

36-Kroy Biermann

37-Tyler Starr

38-Marquiss Spruill

39-Joplo Bartu

40-Prince Shembo

41-Desmond Trufant

42-Robert Alford

43-Ricardo Allen

44-Josh Wilson

45-Robert McClain

46-Javier Arenas

47-William Moore

48-Dwight Lowery

49-Dezman Southward

50-Zeke Motta or Kemal Ishmael or Kimario McFadden

ST

51-Matt Bryant

52-Matt Bosher

53-Josh Harris

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Geraldo Boldewijn has potential but in 4 years of college he never realized that potential. It wont happen in 2014 either. Maybe a year or two on PS. He could eventually claim 5th spot but for now he has a very long way to go.

Yawin Smallwood is fighting Spruill for Dent's roster spot. I think it is obvious who they like better. Another PS candidate with thin numbers on active roster. Same applies to Safety.

Kimario McFadden has as much shot at backing up Moore as Motta or Ishmael. We shall see if he tackles as well as his competition. He runs faster so that is one advantage.

Freeman is who they want in the backfield and if he wins the job, Rodgers will remain the back up meaning Jackson will be free to sign elsewhere.

Starr has to produce live and he will have many opportunities to do so. If he is better in coverage than Osi I think they will develop the young talent rushing the QB and let Osi go.

I think we keep 6 CB's rather than a 5th safety of lesser talent or MLB of lesser talent. Arenas is a vet NB and PR. He has much more value than guys we can put on the PS.

Edited by Bier-fann
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QB

1-Matt Ryan

2-Dom Davis

3-Sean Renfree

RB/FB

4-Davante Freeman

5-Jaquizz Rodgers

6-Antone Smith

7-Jerome Smith

8-Patrick DiMarco

TE

9-Levine Toilolo

10-Bear Pascoe

11-Jacob Pedersen

WR

12-Julio Jones

13-Roddy White

14-Harry Douglas

15-Devin Hester

16-Drew Davis or Darius Johnson

OL

17-Sam Baker

18-Justin Blalock

19-Joe Hawley

20-Jon Asamoah

21-Jake Matthews

22-Lamar Holmes

23-Peter Konz

24-Ryan Schraeder

25-Mike Johnson or Gabe Carimi

DL

26--Rasheade Hageman

27-Paul Soliai

28-Tyson Jackson

29-Jonathan Babinaux

30-Corey Peters

31-Mallaciah Goodman

32-Donte Rumph

33-Jonathan Massaquoi

34-Sean Weatherspoon

35-Paul Worrilow

36-Kroy Biermann

37-Tyler Starr

38-Marquiss Spruill

39-Joplo Bartu

40-Prince Shembo

41-Desmond Trufant

42-Robert Alford

43-Ricardo Allen

44-Josh Wilson

45-Robert McClain

46-Javier Arenas

47-William Moore

48-Dwight Lowery

49-Dezman Southward

50-Zeke Motta or Kemal Ishmael or Kimario McFadden

ST

51-Matt Bryant

52-Matt Bosher

53-Josh Harris

Pretty sure we won't have 3 active QBs and we'll most certainly have 6 WRs.

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I approve, I especially agree with the Hageman and Southward positioning. I just can't see Babineux or Lowery.

You could even tell in the William Moore interview that even he isn't looking forward to working with Lowery he calls him "Dwight" in a condescending tone. I don't think he thinks he's good (that or he misses DeCoud).

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