The Atlanta Falcons announced a dozen roster moves today, ahead of tomorrow’s 4 p.m. Eastern deadline to get their roster down to 53 players. The Falcons will still make 10 more cuts by tomorrow. Of the Falcons dozen moves, only one is truly prominent in that the team waived seventh-round draft pick Yawin Smallwood.
Other players cut were linebacker Pat Angerer, defensive end Nosa Eguae, fullback Maurice Hagens, cornerback Jordan Mabin, wide receiver Freddie Martino, safety Kimario McFadden, offensive tackle Pat McQuistan, tight end Jacob Pedersen, offensive guard Adam Replogle, defensive tackle Donte Rumph and running back Josh Vaughan.
Angerer, McQuistan and Vaughan were outright released, while the others will be subject to waivers. If they are not claimed off waivers by another NFL team, they will be eligible to be signed to the Falcons practice squad Sunday. The three veterans released are immediately free to sign with another NFL team.
Smallwood was the 253rd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, taken three spots from the final pick in the draft. While expected to add depth at inside linebacker and compete for a role on special teams, he found himself buried on the depth behind the likes of veterans like Angerer and Tim Dobbins, as well as fourth-round pick Prince Shembo, who made the move from outside to inside linebacker following the draft.
Angerer was signed the week before camp, and suffered a concussion early, which caused him to miss the first preseason game. But he returned for the final three.
Eguae, Hagens, Martino, McFadden, Pedersen and Rumph were all undrafted free agents signed by the team this past May. Notably, Martino made his only catch of the preseason on Thursday night, catching a 66-yard bomb from quarterback T.J. Yates. Rumph gained early prominence due to him being called “Cupcake” on the HBO documentary series, Hard Knocks.
Mabin spent last season on the Falcons practice squad before being re-signed this past January. With the Falcons adding two veterans in free agency and drafting Ricardo Allen in the fifth round, he was hard-pressed to rise up the depth chart this summer.
McQuistan was signed last week to add depth following the season-ending knee injury to left tackle Sam Baker.
Replogle was an undrafted free agent for the Falcons last year as a defensive tackle and managed to stick on the practice squad, but made the move to offensive guard this past offseason and never really emerged from the third-string unit there.
Vaughan first joined the Falcons on their practice squad in 2012, and made the team’s roster in 2013. He played in six games, earning one rushing attempt for a single yard and catching one pass for -5 yards.
Last year, the Falcons made their cuts in two batches, with the majority of the second group of players appearing on the practice squad, which will also be established this weekend on Sunday by 12 p.m. Smallwood, Eguae, Hagens, Martino, Pedersen, Rumph, Mabin, Replogle and Vaughan all remain eligible for the Falcons practice squad thanks to new rules established this year.