With the Falcons preseason coming to a close, now is the time to evaluate, and make those difficult cuts that put the ‘Hard’ in Hard Knocks. The preseason for Atlanta has been almost exclusively getting a look at our depth players, seeing who will bode well for the Atlanta Falcons since they won't get a lot of reps in the season. Here are 3 players who have made themselves almost complete locks on the Falcons roster with strong play throughout training camp and games:
1. Dee Alford
With off-season additions heavily in the slot cornerback rotation (Mike Hughes, Clark Phillips), and the corners that were already on the roster, Dee Alford strong-armed his way into the starting role. With Hughes dealing with an injury, and Phillips just now adjusting to the position, Alford was afforded an opportunity and made the absolute most of it. He didn’t play in the final game, signifying that the position is now his. A great rise for a former UDFA to vehemently take the starting job on the team.
2. DeMarco Hellams
The 7th round pick out of Alabama wasn’t the name you heard early on in training camp, but he began to thrive after joint practices with the Miami Dolphins. Hellams was the highest graded Falcon with a 92.1 PFF grade in week 2 against the Bengals and recorded a team high 2 highlight INTs this preseason. Although he won't crack the starting lineup barring injury, it's great to have someone in-depth that's played as well as Hellams has.
3. Logan Woodside
Logan played his way into forcing, in my opinion, Arthur Smith to carry a third quarterback on the roster this season. Woodside has been a constant talk throughout camp, with pinpoint accuracy and intangible leadership skills. He finished his preseason with a 79.5 PFF grade, and still played well against Pittsburgh’s 1st team defense.
During an open practice, you could see Woodside visibly upset due to Penny Hart celebrating during a 2-minute drive, causing the offense to run out of time. He threw his helmet in frustration at the situation. These are the sort of players that are constantly working to get better, and someone whose work ethic will infect the locker room.