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Following the Falcons third preseason game we now have a much clearer picture of how the 53 man roster is shaping up and hopefully this 53 man roster won’t look too different to the Falcons own. As like last week the 10 Practice Squad (PS) players are again included.
Jeff Matthews (PS)
Renfree had his best game of the preseason against the Titans as he came in and instantly rejuvenated an offense that had gone very stagnant after the starters left the game. Both Renfree and TJ Yates will share snaps vs the Jags and unless Renfree has a total meltdown I think he has the job won. The only thing that can save Yates is if the Falcons decide to take Yates as the backup on the 53 and have Renfree on the PS for another year. Personally I don’t see this as the best option as Renfree looks the clear better player and if indeed the Falcons take Renfree on the active roster I think there is a good chance they place the recently cut Jeff Matthews on the PS.
The first 4 on the depth chart pick themselves. The only question with regard to the running backs is if they take 4 or 5. Josh Vaughn hasn’t had the best preseason but if he plays well vs the Jags then he could potentially sneak onto the roster, however as it stands he hasn’t done enough to earn a spot on the roster.With quite a few bigger bodied backs on roster bubbles I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Falcons add a player such as Daniel Thomas or Benjarvis Green Ellis if they are cut.
Dimarco has been in a battle with Maurice Hagens for the lone FB spot and Dimarco looks to have won that battle. Dimarco is a solid run/lead blocker but he doesn’t provide much else aside from that which the Falcons are obviously ok with. Hagens impressed me this camp with his pass catching ability out of the backfield but ultimately he hasn’t shown enough as a lead blocker to capture the starting gig.
Geraldo Boldewijn (PS)
Jeremy Ebert (PS)
Once again the top 4 on the depth chart pick themselves, after that however the Falcons have some decisions to make. Eric Weems, Courtney Roby, Bernard Reedy and Geraldo Boldewijn all look to be in competition for a spot on the roster. With the team having just signed Weems and his experience on ST’s I think Weems will make the roster as that ST stud that the Falcons love to take. Courtney Roby was brought in to be that ST guy but he hasn’t looked good in preseason and as a result he loses out to Weems.
I think the Falcons will take 6 receivers on the roster and I think that 6th guy will be an offensive based player as opposed to a special team based player like a Weems or a Roby. With this in mind the battle for the final receiver spot looks to be between two undrafted rookies, Bernard Reedy and Geraldo Boldewijn. Reedy has been a fan favorite all camp because of his long speed and ability to be a deep threat. Reedy started off the preseason well with a couple of explosive plays vs the Dolphins, however since then he has been really quiet. This could just be a coincidence or it could be the team trying to ‘hide’ Reedy to other teams so that they can sneak him onto the PS. Boldewijn is a bigger bodied possession type receiver who would be a nice redzone target to have. However, Boldwijn is extremely raw and looks like he needs a year or two on the PS to sit and learn. What does help Boldewijn’s chances of making the roster is that aside from Julio Jones the Falcons receivers aren’t blessed with size. The team could well look at the lack of size and decided to take Boldewijn just because he offers something none of the other backup receivers can offer. However, Reedy is the far more polished and NFL ready receiver at this point and ultimately his ability to contribute right now is what wins Reedy the spot on the 53.
Jacob Pedersen (PS)
Potentially the worst TE group in the NFL. Toilolo hasn’t seen much involvement in the passing game this preseason and it looks as though he will be used sparingly as a blocker as he hasn’t looked competent blocking inline so far. The only other area Toiolo looks to be able to contribute is in the redzone where hopefully he can use his size and frame to bring down a couple of touchdowns this year. I have tried to give the big man the benefit of the doubt so far but with the season right around the corner it’s time we all admit that Toilolo just doesn’t look very good.
Last week I had the Falcons taking only 2 TE’s with Bear Pascoe being the odd man out but with Toilolo still struggling as a blocker I think the Falcons could well end up taking three TE’s with Pascoe being used primarily as that inline blocking TE as opposed to Toilolo. Mickey Shuler has arguably looked like the best TE this preseason and it was a real shame he got a concussion as he would probably have got some snaps with the starters vs the Titans. Having not played last week I expect Shuler to see some snaps vs Jacksonville and if he puts in a good performance I think he can cement a spot on the 53.
We haven’t seen much of Pedersen this preseason but that should hopefully change Thursday night. I like Pedersen as a player and I think he warrants a place on the PS this year.
Terren Jones (PS)
James Stone (PS)
Gabe Carimi looks to be fully recovered from his ankle injury and its clear Mice Tice and co are big fans of Carimi’s versatility. Schraeder hasn’t had the best preseason but he’s still learning and his ability to play both tackle spots means he earns a spot on the roster. Gunn has looked good this preseason and he’s earned a spot on the roster, Konz has looked a lot better than last year but then again he has been going up against backups. Both Gunn and Konz are versatile as they can play both Guard and Centre which the Falcons will appreciate.
Jones and Stone are both major projects at this stage but they have flashed just enough to make them PS material.
The only real debatable point here is if Robertson makes the roster. With Peters having only just started practicing since his injury the Falcons lack a backup NT and so for the time being at least Robertson makes the roster.
Tyler Starr (PS)
Jacques Smith and Tyler Starr are locked in a battle for what could potentially be the final spot on the 53 man roster. Before the Titans game Smith seemed to have the upper hand but after he got ejected for hitting Taylor Lewan in the helmet the coaching staff may decide to take Starr and put Smith on the PS for the year. The ejection was dumb and Smith definitely needs to learn to use his aggressiveness to good use on the field but I still think he deserves a spot on the 53. Smith looks a lot more developed than Starr technically and Starr simply needs a year to sit and learn about the intricacies of the position that he didn’t learn in college.
Yawin Smallwood (PS)
The top 3 on the depth chart are all locks for the roster. The Falcons could well decide to take 5 inside linebackers and take a guy like Tim Dobbins who would contribute mostly on special teams. Personally I don’t feel Dobbins has done anywhere near enough to warrant a spot on the roster and as a result I have the Falcons only taking 4 inside backers with the veteran Angerer taking that final spot. Yawin Smallwood hasn’t looked good this preseason but being a draft pick he gets a year on the PS.
The Falcone may well decide to take 6 corners in which case they would take Josh Wilson but personally I don’t feel Wilson deserves a spot on the roster. Wilson’s seen quite a few snaps this preseason and yet there are not many plays of his that immediately spring to mind. It’s no secret that Wilson is on the decline and from what we’ve seen this preseason there are other players who warrant a spot on the roster more than him.
Sean Baker (PS)
Kimario McFadden (PS)
From his play vs the Titans Dwight Lowery should have the starting FS spot locked up. Ishmael and Southward are the obvious backups at both positions. With Lowery’s injury history the Falcons may decide to take 5 safeties on the roster in which case I would envisage Baker being that person.
Matt Bryant (K)
Matt Bosher (P)
Josh Harris (LS)