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USA today projected 53 man roster


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By: Scott Carasik | August 21, 2019 8:00 am Follow @CarasikS


The Atlanta Falcons have played three preseason games and have two more to go before rosters are cut from 90 to 53. Here’s our current projections for who will make the team.

Quarterbacks (2): Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub

These two are obviously the best quarterbacks currently on the roster. Matt Simms is atrocious and wouldn’t even be in camp if not for Kurt Benkert’s injury. Danny Etling seems like someone to stash on the practice squad.

Running backs (4): Devonta Freeman, Ito Smith, Brian Hill Quadree Ollison

While Freeman is the obvious starter, Smith has earned the primary backup role. Hill and Ollison are the best backs not named Freeman or Smith on the roster. Tony Brooks-James looks like a great practice squad candidate and Kenjon Barner is the odd man out.

Wide Receivers (6): Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage, Olamide Zaccheus, Marcus Green

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In what looks to be the best wide receiver group in the NFL, there’s a notable omission from 2018’s group in Justin Hardy. Hardy has been out-played by Gage and Zaccheus and Green is a better returner. The team wants more speed than what Hardy can provide due to the addition of Dirk Koetter and his four verticals concepts. That makes Gage, Zaccheus and Green more valuable.

Tight Ends/Fullbacks (4): Austin Hooper, Luke Stocker, Logan Paulsen, Jaeden Graham

Hooper and Paulsen are joined by Stocker—who will also see time at fullback—and a developmental option in Graham, who looks like a poor-man’s Hooper and fits in well with Koetter’s scheme.

Offensive Line (9): Jake Matthews, James Carpenter, Alex Mack, Chris Lindstrom, Kaleb McGary, Ty Sambrailo, Jamon Brown, Wes Schweitzer, Matt Gono

Outside of Matthews, Gono has been the best tackle on the roster through the first three preseason games. Obviously, McGary, Mack, Carpenter, Brown and Lindstrom will have roster spots. However, after 2019, there may be a question as to whether Sambrailo will stay around.

Defensive Line (10): Takk McKinley, Vic Beasley, Grady Jarrett, Tyeler Davison, Adrian Clayborn, John Cominsky, Allen Bailey, Jack Crawford, Deadrin Senat, Justin Zimmer, Ra’Shede Hageman*

There are 11 players listed here; however, the Falcons won’t have to officially make a decision on Hageman until Week 3 due to his two-game suspension. Having Beasley and McKinley also play some strong-side linebacker lessens their burden as pure linemen. Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, Yurik Bethune, Austin Larkin and Durrant Miles have all impressed and deserve spots on the practice squad.

Linebackers (5): De’Vondre Campbell, Deion Jones, Foye Oluokun, Jermaine Grace, Del’Shawn Phillips

One notable omission here is Duke Riley. The 2017 third-round pick just couldn’t seem to figure things out on the field. Grace and Phillips have been the best linebackers this preseason outside of the top three guys. Bruce Carter might squeeze in as a sixth option.

Cornerbacks (6): Desmond Trufant, Isaiah Oliver, Damontae Kazee, Kendall Sheffield, Jordan Miller, Blidi Wreh-Wilson

Barring a PUP designation for either Kazee or Sheffield, this will be the group. The Falcons have a deep cornerback rotation, but need to stay healthy throughout the year.

Safeties (4): Keanu Neal, Ricardo Allen, Sharrod Neasman, Kemal Ishmael

Getting back Neal and Allen should transform the defense. Kazee should be the first reserve behind Allen at free safety despite being listed with the cornerbacks, while Neasman will be Neal’s backup. Ishmael will also play linebacker and special teams.

Special Teams (3): Giorgio Tavecchio, Matt Bosher, Josh Harris

Despite some preseason misses, Tavecchio seems safe. Bosher is going nowhere, and neither is Harris. If the field goals from 50 or more yards out don’t get fixed, there might be a possibility they bring in outside help. It would be premature to do that at this point, though.


I'd be ok with this but i prefer cutting a RB like Hill and adding a pass rusher like Larkin or Odom. I also prefer keeping Barner over Marcus Green. 

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