Which Falcons Are Eligible For 2015 Practice Squad?

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY SportsStansly Maponga

Later today the Atlanta Falcons will begin to compile their 10-man practice squad. Practice squad players can work out at team facilities, practice and travel with the team, but cannot in fact play in NFL games unless activated to the 53-man roster.

Last summer the NFL announced new rules for the eligibility of which players are allowed to be kept as part of the 10-man unit. These new rules expanded the group from eight players to 10. New rules of eligibility govern the two new spots. But first let’s get the basic lowdown on how the eight other spots normally work.

  1. Players cannot have been played in more than eight games on a team’s active roster. For example, while linebacker Tyler Starr spent all of last season on the Falcons’ 53-man roster, he remains eligible for the practice because he did not play in any games, which of course is less than eight.
  2. Players are only allowed to spend two seasons on the practice squad. There are exceptions which allow a third, but how that exemption applies isn’t 100 percent clear, so I won’t confuse you or myself by trying to explain it. Typically a season on the practice is determined if a player spent six games on a team’s practice squad.

Now let’s discuss the new rules of eligibility established last summer for the final two spots.

  1. Players who have accrued two or less seasons are now eligible for the remaining two spots. An accrued season is a term that applies to free agency, which basically means a player spent six or more games on a team’s active or inactive roster, regardless of whether he actually played in those games. In the aforementioned example, despite not playing in a single game in 2014, Tyler Starr accrued a season towards free agency because he was on the team’s roster for all 16 games. Time on reserve lists such as the PUP or injured reserve also count towards accrued seasons as well.
  2. This now means that players that would not qualify for the rules applicable to the eight-man unit mentioned previously may still remain eligible for the final two spots even if they’ve played the entirety of two seasons. This allows for 2013 and 2014 draft picks to remain eligible.

Now that you should have the gist of the rules, let’s look at the players that are eligible under “normal” conditions for the first eight spots on the practice squad. Essentially when the Falcons establish their practice squad, they will choose at least eight players that qualify by these rules.

And to be clear, I’m only going to mention Falcons players that were cut within the past week. Generally speaking, teams tend to mine from players in the final cutdown, but occasionally someone that was cut in the initial 75-man cutdown will sneak onto the group.

Eligible For the “First Eight” Spots

WR Marquez Clark
WR John Harris
WR Bernard Reedy
OT Pierce Burton
OT Matt Huffer
OT Jake Rodgers
OG Eric Lefeld
OG Jared Smith
OC Valerian Ume-Ezeoke
DE Warren Herring
DT Derrick Hopkins
DT Joey Mbu
DT Sam Meredith
LB Derek Akunne
LB Boris Anyama
LB Tyler Starr
CB Akeem King
CB Michael Lee
CB Kevin White
S Jonathon Mincy

Eligible For the “Last Two” Spots

RB Michael Ford
WR Carlton Mitchell
DE Stansly Maponga
LB Terrell Manning
S Sean Baker

About the Author

Aaron Freeman
Founder of FalcFans.com