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Projecting which Falcons undrafted free agents have the best shot at a roster spot


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Projecting which Falcons undrafted free agents have the best shot at a roster spot

By Dave Choate

@TheFalcoholic on Jun 2, 2016, 12:00p

There's a few worthy choices here,

The Falcons brought in their usual boatload of undrafted free agents, and it's fair to suggest that more than one of these players has a chance to stick on the final roster. The question is, who?

Every year, you get a Terron Ward (2015) or a Paul Worrilow (2013) who sticks on the roster, carves out a role, and surprises everyone. This year, with the Falcons adding some players the coaching staff has already been talking up, and with the team's weak depth at positions like cornerback, tight end, and linebacker, I'm going to be #bold and say you'll see at least two stick around, with a few more landing on the practice squad.

Let's take a look at some of the early favorites.

DE Ivan McLennan

The Falcons have Derrick Shelby, Adrian Clayborn, and Courtney Upshaw as likely choices at defensive end with Brooks Reed, Vic Beasley and others mixing in, but there's not a lot in terms of pure defensive end depth on this roster. McLennan has stood out early from the pack, showing good athleticism and power, and may appeal to the Falcons as a developmental option more than Malliciah Goodman, who has been spinning his tires on this roster for a few years now. McLennan would likely be a gameday inactive early, but there's enough skill here to think he might be an active reserve before long if he can just stick now.

CB Brian Poole

Keanu Neal's mate in the secondary at Florida doesn't boast ideal size, but he's an active cornerback with terrific instincts and pretty polished zone coverage ability. There's work to be done on his game and he doesn't appear to have the size or skillset to be a long-term starter, but the Falcons are hurting for cornerback depth beyond Akeem King and Poole looms as a potential low-cost, moderate-upside option for the team. There's always the possibility he could play some safety for Atlanta, too, but I don't see it at the moment.

CB/S Sharrod Neasman

A quick, agile player who has the potential to play some safety and cornerback at the next level, Neasman is a willing tackler and offers ball skills. The Falcons love versatility across the board, and Neasman could stick as a fourth safety and fifth cornerback if he shows up and impresses the coaching staff this summer. He and McLennan currently top my list of likely additions to the roster, for what it's worth.

FB Will Ratelle

Patrick DiMarco just made the Pro Bowl, so I don't think Ratelle is going to make it as a pure fullback. He was a productive, hard-hitting linebacker in college, however, so the Falcons might be willing to try him out as a hybrid offensive/defensive player, depending on how creative they want to get. DiMarco is only under contract through this year, so keep that in mind.

RB Brandon Wilds

A productive runner, with 1,844 yards on just 379 carries, Wilds is a strong guy who can catch the football out of the backfield. He'd be battling Terron Ward and Gus Johnson for the third back duties in Atlanta, and I don't think either one is enough of a world beater that we can assume Wilds is a longshot.

K Nick Rose

This is a weird one, but the coaching staff has really talked him up early as a potential contender for the kicking job. I don't see the kind of accuracy and consistency that would justify booting Matt Bryant from the roster, but Rose does have a strong leg, and the Falcons would love to have a dirt cheap kicking option for the next few years. Monitor him, at the very least.

There's a few other borderline guys, but I didn't want to make this list too long and be accused of hedging my bets. Who do you think makes the roster?

 

http://www.thefalcoholic.com/2016/6/2/11830290/projecting-which-falcons-undrafted-free-agents-have-the-best-shot-at

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If I had to guess I would say DB Sharrod Neasman has the best shot.  The Falcons showed genuine interest in him pre-draft.  He is a versatile player which they like and he plays both S and CB, where the Falcons need talent infusion and depth.......And for what its worth, for the past several preseasons, I have missed on which UDFA I thought the Falcons would keep.....

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I think 6'3'', 338 pound, NT Chris Mayes from the Bulldogs might also have a shot at making the team. He looked good to me last season at UGA.

"NFL Combine results 2016: DL Chris Mayes leads the position with 33 reps in bench press

Offensive lineman Christian Westerman led the combine with 34 reps of 225 pounds, and a pair of fullbacks also put up 30 reps each. Most figured the defensive linemen would have plenty of competition for this, but surprisingly, the highest was 33 reps from Georgia's Chris Mayes. "

http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2016/2/27/11126488/2016-nfl-combine-results-bench-press-defensive-linemen

"Overview

Mayes didn't play football until his junior year of high school, but it didn't take long for recruiters to see that growing frame and recognize his potential. He committed to Georgia, but started his collegiate career at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, playing one season (17 tackles) and redshirting the next to get his academic house in order. Mayes made it to Georgia for the 2013 season and stepped into a regular role (eight starts, 31 tackles, sack, two pass breakups). He was limited to a backup role as a junior, however, playing in just eight games and making seven tackles (one for loss). Mayes found his groove in 2015, becoming the full-time starting nose guard and making 41 stops (one for loss) while eating space inside.

Analysis

Strengths

Wide frame with body that could handle a little more mass if needed. Shows some ability to unhinge from blocks and make tackles. Runners rarely escape from his clutches once he gets into them allowing just one broken tackle and no missed tackles. Able to beat a single block with upper body strength.

Weaknesses

Very average athlete. Inconsistent contact balance when forced to move. Doesn't play with anchor expected from a nose. Can be moved by double teams and quality down-­blocks. Gets too caught up with the fight in front of him rather than finding the ball. No threat as pass rusher with just one career sack. Will be a 25-year-old rookie in September.

Bottom Line

Nose tackle with a big frame but lacking the power and anchor needed for the position. Pad level can be his primary nemesis so if he can get that straightened out, he might have an outside shot."

http://www.nfl.com/combine/profiles/chris-mayes?id=2555509

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9 minutes ago, AEFalcon said:

If I had to guess I would say DB Sharrod Neasman has the best shot.  The Falcons showed genuine interest in him pre-draft.  He is a versatile player which they like and he plays both S and CB, where the Falcons need talent infusion and depth.......And for what its worth, for the past several preseasons, I have missed on which UDFA I thought the Falcons would keep.....

Yep, Neasman is one of my favorites too. Included him in my mock draft.

I can't find out very much about one of my 7th-round possible picks, Sharrod Neasman. Evidently he has already had two private workouts/visits with the Falcons: one on April 4 and again on April 19:

#FAU DB Sharrod Neasman has worked out for the #Lions and #Falcons, according to a league source.

12:36 PM - 4 Apr 2016

 

Florida Atlantic safety Sharrod Neasman visits the Atlanta Falcons today; Lions and Dolphins among his several visits and workouts

5:59 AM - 19 Apr 2016

 

Not much info out there on Neasman, ie no scouting reports. About the closest thing to some information that  I could find on him is the following article:

"Versatile Florida Atlantic safety Sharrod Neasman attending Dolphins’ local workout

Posted April 8, 2016 · Add Comment

Florida Atlantic safety Sharrod Neasman has caught the attention of NFL decision-makers.

Among the executives who attended his Pro Day: Eliot Wolf (Green Bay Packers), Brian Gaine (Houston Texans) and Scott Campbell (Washington Redskins).

Neasman will attend the Miami Dolphins’ local prospect day.

Neasman, at 5-11 1/4, 206 pounds, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds. He had a 37 1/2 inch vertical leap and a 10-8 broad jump, very explosive numbers.

He also had a 4.02 short shuttle, a 6.78 three-cone drill and bench pressed 225 pounds 25 times.

He had a top-three three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle, compared to NFL scouting combine results.

Neasman has the versatility to line up at nickel, corner or safety.

Neasman finished second on the team with 74 tackles and intercepted three passes.

He played in the Tropic Bowl all-star game.

Follow me on Twitter; @AaronWilson_NFL

Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle."

 

 

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5 hours ago, theProf said:

"NFL Combine results 2016: DL Chris Mayes leads the position with 33 reps in bench press

 

I'd like to point out that Will Ratelle at around 5'10" and 250, who wasn't invited to the combine, put up 36 reps. :swoon:

I'm really thinking that guy makes the roster on special teams value alone.

And I'm liking Neasman as a good nickel CB or Strong Safety candidate for us. At least a practice squad spot.

It also looks like McLennan will at the least be getting a practice squad spot, if not make the roster outright as a SAM/LEO.

Edited by RandomFan
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This guy right here

Quote

DE Ivan McLennan

The Falcons have Derrick Shelby, Adrian Clayborn, and Courtney Upshaw as likely choices at defensive end with Brooks Reed, Vic Beasley and others mixing in, but there's not a lot in terms of pure defensive end depth on this roster. McLennan has stood out early from the pack, showing good athleticism and power, and may appeal to the Falcons as a developmental option more than Malliciah Goodman, who has been spinning his tires on this roster for a few years now. McLennan would likely be a gameday inactive early, but there's enough skill here to think he might be an active reserve before long if he can just stick now.

 

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One of my favorite things of the off-season is seeing these young, unheralded guys develop and hopefully make the team. I love how the Falcons place such an emphasis on UDFA's as it's becoming an ever increasingly important resource in building a roster.

Of the 595 players designated as starters in the 2014 season, 13.6% were UDFA's. The only rounds with a higher percentage was the 1st (29.9%) and 2nd round (17.5%). Full results below:

Round Freq. Percent Cuml
1 178 29.9 29.9
2 104 17.5 47.4
3 75 12.6 60.0
4 64 10.8 70.8
5 38 6.4 77.2
6 29 4.9 82.0
7 25 4.2 86.2
Undrafted 81 13.6 99.8
Supplemental 1 0.2 100.0
Total 595 100

 

The same can be said of 1st and 2nd team All-Pros between 2012 and 2014, with UDFA coming in 3rd (10.5%) behind only the 1st (48.5%) and 2nd rounds (14%).

Round Freq. Percent Cuml.
1 83 48.5 48.5
2 24 14.0 62.6
3 15 8.8 71.4
4 12 7.0 78.4
5 9 5.3 83.6
6 6 3.5 87.1
7 2 1.2 88.3
Undrafted 18 10.5 98.8
Supplemental 2 1.2 100.0
Total 171 100

 

Full article is available here, it's well worth a read: http://www.forbes.com/sites/prishe/2015/05/22/tracking-nfl-draft-efficiency-how-contingent-is-success-to-draft-position/#640f79ff28ea

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7 hours ago, Smiler11 said:

One of my favorite things of the off-season is seeing these young, unheralded guys develop and hopefully make the team. I love how the Falcons place such an emphasis on UDFA's as it's becoming an ever increasingly important resource in building a roster.

Of the 595 players designated as starters in the 2014 season, 13.6% were UDFA's. The only rounds with a higher percentage was the 1st (29.9%) and 2nd round (17.5%).

 

That really goes to show that the draft/building a team from rookies is really a numbers game more than anything else- especially after the first couple of rounds. Get those bodies in there and sift through the ones that won't work out, and get their replacements in ASAP. That's exactly what Quinn has been doing since he arrived, and I like it.

 

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Gotta love that Ivan is getting some props - would be great if he could offer pass rush depth and unseat Starr/ Goodman. Mclennan is my current favorite.

Realistcally look at areas where depth is suspect ;

S/NB - Neasman/Poole have a shot

NT - Mbu is upgradable

WR - After Julio, Sanu, Hardy no one is a lock - but I know nothing of the UDFA recivers

RB - Don't tell me Ward isn't nervously checking Wilds progress

Then again it will probably be a complete surprise, not one of the above.

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