6 surprising players the Atlanta Falcons could end up cutting
The Atlanta Falcons might end up cutting either of the former UGA players, Justin Shaffer or John FitzPatrick
It might make a lot of Falcons fans angry — considering the team finally drafted former Bulldogs — but there is a real possibility that one of these two guys ends up being released during final cuts. However, it is doubtful that both of them end up being released.
Starting with Justin Shaffer, there was talk right after the draft about him possibly becoming the starting left guard, but that has fizzled out quickly. Obviously, Chris Lindstrom is the team’s starting right guard so there is no competition there.
At left guard, it seems like the coaches are riding with Elijah Wilkinson. He has basically been the starter since day one of training camp. Shaffer would need to really impress to take the job.
Shaffer might just be the odd man out because if Wilkinson starts, then it is between Shaffer and Mayfield for the backup spot, and it is unlikely that they would cut ties with Mayfield so early after they took him in the third round last year. They will probably only want to keep three guards because Drew Dalman could also play guard if needed, so there is no reason to keep two backup guards around.
Not to mention, Jalen Mayfield also has added value that Shaffer does not, since he can kick out and play tackle in case of emergency.
Then you have the big tight end, John FitzPatrick. I personally believe it is more likely that Shaffer gets cut because the Falcons might need FitzPatrick to be their main blocking tight end.
But if they feel like one of the other guys — perhaps Parker Hesse — can fill that role then they will probably cut ties with FitzPatrick due to his limitations as a pass catcher.
Either way, both of these guys would be top candidates to make the practice squad if released.