lostnmexico

5 Falcons roster hopefuls to monitor on Thursday night against the Dolphins

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usa_today_10536298.0.jpgDale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

These five players are pushing hard for roster spots, and you’ll want to monitor their performance in this otherwise grueling preseason game with great interest.

LB Jonathan Celestin

The Falcons seem to have a knack for uncovering quality Minnesota linebacker. Celestin has been one of the stars of the preseason, twice leading the team in tackles while tallying a half sack and pitching in significantly on special teams. He’s a good athlete and a very sound tackler who has put himself in an excellent position to make the team by demonstrating that teams value.

For Celestin, like so many others, it’ll be a numbers game. If he plays well against the Dolphins, the Falcons will almost certainly at least add him to the practice squad. If they’re going to put him on the roster, though, it’ll either mean keeping six linebackers or cutting veteran Kemal Ishmael to make room for him. Either way, not an easy call for the team to make, but Celestin has done everything he possibly can to show he belongs.

WR Marvin Hall

Justin Hardy is an essential blocker and a reliable set of hands in the red zone, so he should make the team. The Falcons clearly love Russell Gage’s speed and special teams value and have played around with the idea of him playing cornerback down the line, and I’d be stunned if they didn’t keep. That leaves (potentially) one roster spot at receiver, and Marvin Hall remains the strongest candidate to fill it.

Hall’s had moments as a receiver all summer, drawing praise from Matt Ryan along the way. He’s shown he can be an asset on returns, as well, and the team has given him some run as a gunner with decidedly mixed results. With Reggie Davis, Dontez Byrd, and Devin Gray all enjoying flashes but starting from behind Hall, I still think he makes it. He may need to close out the preseason on a strong note to ensure he has a spot, however.

DT Justin Zimmer

We didn’t spend a lot of time talking about Zimmer pre-preseason, which was probably a mistake. He’s flown under the radar until the last couple of weeks, but Zimmer’s an interesting undrafted free agent who has shown as much as a pass rusher as any interior defensive lineman in preseason. That was particularly true against Jacksonville, where Zimmer was relentless and came away with 1.5 sacks for his efforts.

The Falcons have a four man rotation at defensive tackle established, but they lack proven depth beyond that. If they want to nurture a young player with some pass rushing upside with Jack Crawford’s contract up after 2019 and Terrell McClain on a one year deal, Zimmer would seem to fit the bill.

Honorable mention to Garrison Smith, who has shown plenty as a run stopper himself. The Falcons will likely choose to keep one of those players on the active roster and stash the other on the practice squad.

G Sean Harlow

He’s competing with journeyman center/guard Jamil Douglas for one spot on the roster, if the Falcons even have one available. Harlow was a fourth rounder just a year ago and has had a strong summer, but the Falcons need to determine whether they want to keep nine or even ten offensive linemen on the roster or if they want those spots to go elsewhere.

Harlow can make the strongest possible case by doing good things with his snaps in Game 4, and I’d expect him to play most of the game. If he can’t, and Douglas plays well, the Falcons may be losing their second draft pick from the 2017 class.

S/CB Chris Lammons

Ryan Neal has been getting plenty of run since he joined the Falcons, but I’m still a big fan of Lammons, who has spent time as both a safety and a nickel cornerback for Atlanta this summer. Lammons is a physical player with some genuine upside in coverage, and while it might be a bit of a long shot for him to join this team as a fifth safety, I’m hopeful he’ll hang on to a roster spot. He has the talent to do more, but given the strength of the safety position, he has to be viewed as the least likely player on this list to actually make the roster.

 

Edited by lostnmexico
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Reggie Davis surprised lot of folks this preseason, he was getting separation and had the CB beat deep against Jags. If the OL held little longer it would have been a long TD. I personally think it’s lot closer between Reggie Davis and Hall. Falcons might just carry 7 WR.

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11 hours ago, falcons007 said:

Reggie Davis surprised lot of folks this preseason, he was getting separation and had the CB beat deep against Jags. If the OL held little longer it would have been a long TD. I personally think it’s lot closer between Reggie Davis and Hall. Falcons might just carry 7 WR.

Yea I agree especially with the new special teams rules playing a major role in shaping that side of the roster. 

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11 hours ago, octoslash said:

I remember when we couldn't find enough good players to adequately field a team.

Now our big problem is having so much talent, to figure out which good players to drop.   Awesome.

I think our depth is over blown we get creamed by other teams 2nd and 3rd stringers in pre season games

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15 minutes ago, MAD597 said:

I think our depth is over blown we get creamed by other teams 2nd and 3rd stringers in pre season games

Thinking about it like that, you're right. 

But forgive me...I was going to Falcon games in the 70s and 80s.  We literally couldn't compete.

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29 minutes ago, octoslash said:

Thinking about it like that, you're right. 

But forgive me...I was going to Falcon games in the 70s and 80s.  We literally couldn't compete.

That's when our first stringers were getting beat by 2nds and 3rds

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59 minutes ago, MAD597 said:

I think our depth is over blown we get creamed by other teams 2nd and 3rd stringers in pre season games

That’s not necessarily true. It’s not the entire units you’re looking at because most of our 2nd and 3rd string was still facing the oppositions starters. Our 2’s and 3’s played against KC’s starters and the jags starters. Even the jets. It was never their backups creaming our backups.  It’s the individuals that shine like Celestin, Zimmer, Hall, Cunninghmam etc...because the others won’t make the team. THATS what rounds out the depth. Not 2’s and 3’s getting creamed. Out of those 11 players one or Two will make the team as backups. Then when the final 53 is shaped you get a full roster. We’ll never have 11 players on defense or offense get hurt so when ONE player goes down next man up. We have a great roster if starters and backups. We most certainly have quality depth.  

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11 minutes ago, TheFatboi said:

That’s not necessarily true. It’s not the entire units you’re looking at because most of our 2nd and 3rd string was still facing the oppositions starters. Our 2’s and 3’s played against KC’s starters and the jags starters. Even the jets. It was never their backups creaming our backups.  It’s the individuals that shine like Celestin, Zimmer, Hall, Cunninghmam etc...because the others won’t make the team. THATS what rounds out the depth. Not 2’s and 3’s getting creamed. Out of those 11 players one or Two will make the team as backups. Then when the final 53 is shaped you get a full roster. We’ll never have 11 players on defense or offense get hurt so when ONE player goes down next man up. We have a great roster if starters and backups. We most certainly have quality depth.  

Its amazing that folks still don't get this.

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11 minutes ago, FentayeJones said:

Its amazing that folks still don't get this.

It’s weird. If you have 11 weak players against 11 weak players how will you know who’s good? Lol. So saying our 2’a and 3’s get creamed by the others is bs. Wilson picked off bortles. He’s a what? Backup. That’s a 2 against starters. Our second string offense scored on KC’s starting defense. I’m trying to see where this creaming is happening? Lol. I guess when our guys that won’t make the team go against their guys that won’t make their team. Maybe that’s what he’s talking about. Even still in all that I saw Great play from certain individuals like Celestin, Cunningham, Winbush, Hall, Byrd, Gono and some more. THAT’s what you look for. Not the score. Smh. 

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14 hours ago, falcons007 said:

Reggie Davis surprised lot of folks this preseason, he was getting separation and had the CB beat deep against Jags. If the OL held little longer it would have been a long TD. I personally think it’s lot closer between Reggie Davis and Hall. Falcons might just carry 7 WR.

I like Davis, but I'd much rather carry an extra DT or LB than a WR. We have multiple tight ends and running backs that can catch. But we are DREADFULLY thin at DT and LB. We are undersized, and small guys wear down quicker when they are up against 330 pounders. We need subs to keep a fresh rotation.

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10 hours ago, TheFatboi said:

It’s weird. If you have 11 weak players against 11 weak players how will you know who’s good? Lol. So saying our 2’a and 3’s get creamed by the others is bs. Wilson picked off bortles. He’s a what? Backup. That’s a 2 against starters. Our second string offense scored on KC’s starting defense. I’m trying to see where this creaming is happening? Lol. I guess when our guys that won’t make the team go against their guys that won’t make their team. Maybe that’s what he’s talking about. Even still in all that I saw Great play from certain individuals like Celestin, Cunningham, Winbush, Hall, Byrd, Gono and some more. THAT’s what you look for. Not the score. Smh. 

That’s why we have scores like 5-0 and 13-9 in the preseason. All about evaluating. And I just want Celestine to make the team. He’s been great this preseason.

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11 hours ago, TheFatboi said:

That’s not necessarily true. It’s not the entire units you’re looking at because most of our 2nd and 3rd string was still facing the oppositions starters. Our 2’s and 3’s played against KC’s starters and the jags starters..... We most certainly have quality depth.  

To add to that, the second team offense kicked KCs first team defense up and down the field.

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9 hours ago, since68andcounting said:

I like Davis, but I'd much rather carry an extra DT or LB than a WR. We have multiple tight ends and running backs that can catch. But we are DREADFULLY thin at DT and LB. We are undersized, and small guys wear down quicker when they are up against 330 pounders. We need subs to keep a fresh rotation.

I tend to agree. Unless we choose to keep Zimmer and Celestin on the 53, we’ll need to look for another rotational piece on the d-line and linebacker depth. I would like to keep Davis but I just don’t think it makes sense to keep him with Ridley, Hall and Gage already there.

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12 hours ago, octoslash said:

Thinking about it like that, you're right. 

But forgive me...I was going to Falcon games in the 70s and 80s.  We literally couldn't compete.

Yea we sucked back then for sure we are a much better franchise now. And again on paper we look solid and have great depth but it seems to be an illusion given the pre season performances of our so called great depth.

I don't get it, is it coaching? Is it a lack of foresight into pre season? Does our team now just use pre season to rest players? I don't know what it is but our depth does not play very well against other teams depth in pre season.

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11 hours ago, TheFatboi said:

That’s not necessarily true. It’s not the entire units you’re looking at because most of our 2nd and 3rd string was still facing the oppositions starters. Our 2’s and 3’s played against KC’s starters and the jags starters. Even the jets. It was never their backups creaming our backups.  It’s the individuals that shine like Celestin, Zimmer, Hall, Cunninghmam etc...because the others won’t make the team. THATS what rounds out the depth. Not 2’s and 3’s getting creamed. Out of those 11 players one or Two will make the team as backups. Then when the final 53 is shaped you get a full roster. We’ll never have 11 players on defense or offense get hurt so when ONE player goes down next man up. We have a great roster if starters and backups. We most certainly have quality depth.  

Our depth never looks good against other teams no matter how you slice it in any situation. Been an issue for a few years now

And on the other side of that we tend to make other teams depth look like all pro's. We still have a habit of letting 2nd string QB's rail on us.

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12 hours ago, Fernando C. said:

Zimmer should make the team.. he has all the tools to be a great DT in our sistem.. with 1 year of DQ coaching him.. he will be a good one...

I like Zimmer too *** well....

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I'd like to see Celestin kept.  The linebacker corps still isn't that strong (just Jones and Campbell).  I wouldn't rely on Duke Riley as the third starting LB.  Foye is a rookie and still learning on the job as well.  Celestin is just faster and knows how to get to the ball.  

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