The Atlanta Falcons announced that they filled their 53rd roster spot on Sunday by claiming former New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Bryce Harris off waivers. It marks the return of Harris to Atlanta, after the Saints signed him off the Falcons’ practice squad at the start of 2012. Over the past three years with the Saints, Harris has appeared in 34 games and made a total of four starts at both left and right tackle. He adds much-needed depth to the Falcons offensive tackle position, where starting left tackle Jake Matthews is nursing a back strain.
Harris appeared in two games in his first season with the Saints back in 2012. He started his second game, where he was an injury replacement for both Zach Strief and Charles Brown at right tackle, but left the game in the first quarter with a broken leg, ending his rookie season prematurely. He rebounded the following year to serve as Strief’s primary backup at right tackle in 2013, logging one start while appearing in all 16 games on special teams and as an extra blocker in some formations. He provided the same role again in 2014, but started the last two games of the season at left tackle in place of the injured Terron Armstead. Harris struggled in his Week 16 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, allowing several hits and hurries to Osi Umenyiora and Kroy Biermann. Harris was pushed out the door this past summer by the addition of Saints’ first-round pick Andrus Peat as the team’s new swing tackle.
Harris will likely provide that same role in Atlanta, likely leapfrogging Tyler Polumbus as the team’s top backup at the position. However if Matthews is unable to play in the Falcons’ regular season-opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 14, the team may be forced to turn to Polumbus given his experience in the offense.