Atlanta Falcons move on from two former draft picks as roster cuts continue
By Nick Halden
The Atlanta Falcons began the tough process of cutting down their roster to 53 players by Tuesday’s deadline making two surprising decisions in particular Tuesday morning. The team cut rookie offensive guard Justin Shaffer who was part of this year’s draft class and one of last year’s draft picks in receiver Frank Darby.
While both cuts were slightly surprising for the Falcons it continues their message throughout camp and the preseason. It doesn’t matter how a player is a part of the roster or how big his paycheck might be, players will earn a role on this roster or they will be cut or benched.
This is a mentality that has been foreign to the Falcons over the last four years and could have solved a lot of the roster issues the team has faced. Cutting Darby and Shaffer sends a message that this is more than simply talk from the coaching staff and front office.
Frank Darby had a solid camp and preseason but was obviously behind new roster additions and wouldn’t have made an impact this season. Though his attitude and energy alone could make him a valuable practice squad addition for a team that needs depth for an unproven group of receivers.
Justin Shaffer was drafted as a possible answer to replacing Jalen Mayfield his struggles throughout the preseason and the emergence of Elijah Wilkinson, however, left him as the odd man out. Assuming he makes it through waivers it would be surprising not to see him brought back to the practice squad or even make a roster appearance this season.
While he is still a developmental prospect the Falcons are unlikely to give up on him just yet if they are able to pass him through waivers. Qadree Ollison and Stanley Berryhill stand out as other notable cuts for the Falcons this morning as they continue to trim the roster down to 53.