The deadline for when teams are set to establish their 53-man rosters is set for Saturday, August 30 at 6 p.m. Eastern time. The Atlanta Falcons typically are a team that will make several cuts a day earlier, so this might be my last chance to get a final projection up. Tonight, the Falcons will square off against the Jacksonville Jaguars in a game that will be the final determining factor in a number of players dreams to play in the NFL.
Last season, the Falcons two sets of roster moves had very clear motives. The first was to pare down the roster as much as possible, but the team waited until just before the cutdown deadline to cut the last nine players, as they were looking to sneak through waivers in order to be signed to the team’s practice squad. I would expect the same to occur again this year.
But here are my picks for the guys that will make the final roster:
Matt Ryan, Sean Renfree
Just before the start of camp, I projected T.J. Yates to land as the team’s backup. But Renfree has outplayed him thus far this summer, and I doubt Yates will close the gap tonight against the Jaguars.
Steven Jackson, Jacquizz Rodgers, Devonta Freeman, Antone Smith, Patrick DiMarco
My earlier projection had the Falcons scrapping the fullback position in favor of an extra blocking tight end/H-back, but that is no longer the case and DiMarco has earned a spot. The other four running backs should be no surprise.
Julio Jones, Roddy White, Harry Douglas, Devin Hester, Eric Weems, Bernard Reedy
My earlier projection had Courtney Roby making the team, but I swapped him out for Weems, who was a late-summer signing.
Levine Toilolo, Bear Pascoe, Mickey Shuler
Before I had a fourth guy making the team in Jacob Pedersen, although now he may be destined for the practice squad. It’s certainly possible that the Falcons could scour the waiver wire for other blockers since none of these players have really emerged this summer, including Toilolo.
Jake Matthews, Justin Blalock, Joe Hawley, Jon Asamoah, Lamar Holmes, Peter Konz, Gabe Carimi, Ryan Schraeder
I had eight linemen before, which included Sam Baker prior to his season-ending injury. Now, I’ve basically swapped in Holmes for Baker.
Tyson Jackson, Paul Soliai, Jonathan Babineaux, Jonathan Massaquoi, Osi Umenyiora, Malliciah Goodman, Ra’Shede Hageman, Corey Peters, Stansly Maponga
I included the edge-rushers in this group before, and I will do so again. No changes from my pre-camp prediction.
Kroy Biermann, Paul Worrilow, Joplo Bartu, Prince Shembo, Tim Dobbins, Tyler Starr
I’m dropping Yawin Smallwood and Marquis Spruill for what should be obvious reasons. Smallwood has yet to make any impact in any of the three preseason games, and I doubt that changes tonight against the Jaguars. Spruill is on injured reserve with a torn ACL.
Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford, William Moore, Dwight Lowery, Josh Wilson, Robert McClain, Javier Arenas, Ricardo Allen, Kemal Ishmael, Dezmen Southward
Previously, I had the team cutting Wilson, but I have him staying now. Other than that, no changes.
Matt Bryant, Matt Bosher, Josh Harris
No surprises here.
10-Man Practice Squad
Given the new rules, the Falcons have the opportunity to stash a couple of players away on the practice squad.
QB Jeff Mathews, WR Geraldo Boldewijn, WR Jeremy Ebert, TE Jacob Pedersen, OL Terren Jones, OL Harland Gunn, LB Jacques Smith, LB Yawin Smallwood, S Kimario McFadden, S Sean Baker