Atlanta Falcons will have to scavenge the NFL to find hidden gems.
The 2021 salary cap woes for the Atlanta Falcons are well known and documented. You can’t read anything team-related without someone reminding you that they are in bad shape.
On Tuesday new general manager Terry Fontenot acknowledged that the Falcons are in a tough spot and will have to make “hard decisions” and “dig” to find talent to round out this roster.
The new regime of Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith have gone through this roster with a fine-tooth comb and realized that there is a lot of talent in Atlanta but also a lot of work to be done. According to Pro Football Talk, Smith specifically said he was excited to coach Matt Ryan, Calvin Ridley, Chris Lindstrom, Younghoe Koo as players he’s excited about coaching.
Where do they look to fill the rest of the roster? Why not start with the practice squad from 2020? There were a couple fairly talented players that found their way to the practice squad and a few even made their way to the active roster.
Here are a couple of guys that the team will not have to “dig” far to find but could make an impact on the active roster in 2021.
T.J. Green – Safety
T.J. Green is a very interesting player for the Atlanta Falcons. He has only been playing defense since his sophomore year of college – he initially signed with Clemson as a receiver.
He was originally a second-round pick out of Clemson by the Colts. After two seasons with the Colts and a month with the Seahawks, Green announced his abrupt retirement from the NFL and walked away from the game saying he no longer loved the game.
After stops around the NFC South, he signed with Atlanta last September and was part of their practice squad. He was active for Week 12 against the Chargers.
Green has the talent to play at the NFL level and with the sudden need for safeties, he could find himself in the mix if he takes this offseason to familiarize himself with Dean Pees defense.
Green is a fast and physical safety who could find his game in this new Atlanta Falcons defense.
A big corner that spent several weeks on the Atlanta Falcons active roster in 2020.
If you are a fan of the Netflix series Last Chance U, you may remember Abrams from their 2018 season when he was at Independence Community College.
The Atlanta Falcons cap woes are really hampering what the team can do on the defensive side of the ball and on the offensive line. That means players like Abrams and Green, are going to get looks that they may not otherwise have received.
He was a special team’s player while shuttling between the practice squad and active roster in 2020, but any NFL guy will tell you they just want a chance and Abrams will certainly get another one as Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith “dig” to find value players to fill out the active roster in 2021.
As we look through the practice squad from 2020, we were really hoping to find a hidden gem along the offensive line, but they simply don’t have one.
Sean Harlow is not an NFL-caliber offensive lineman, neither are Willie Wright or Willie Beavers.
Maybe that had to do more with the former staff that was in place and their inability to scout, sign and develop offensive line talent, and these guys will get a chance to flourish in Atlanta under new offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford, though I wouldn’t hold my breath.
There is no doubt that this franchise has a long offseason ahead but Fontenot, Smith, and their staffs seem ready and willing to grind and do whatever it takes in order to bring a championship to Atlanta in the near future.