Each NFL team might say that every roster spot is open and each player has to earn their spot but there are still those players who would have to do a lot wrong for them not to make the roster. Players like Desmond Ridder, Kyle Pitts, Drake London, and many others are basically roster locks.
After those roster locks, how many spots are actually available on the final 53-man roster?
Looking at how many spots are available for the 2023 Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons have brought in a lot of competition this offseason. There are so many players who are fighting to make the final 53-man roster but many of them are going to end up without a job, unfortunately.
To figure out how many slots are open for players to earn I went through the roster and identified the players who would have to do a lot wrong to not make the roster.
- QB: Desmond Ridder, Taylor Heinicke
- RB: Bijan Robinson, Tyler Allgeier, Cordarrelle Patterson
- FB: Keith Smith
- WR: Drake London, Mack Hollins
- TE: Kyle Pitts, Jonnu Smith
- OT: Jake Matthews, Kaleb McGary
- OG: Chris Lindstrom, Matt Bergeron, Matt Hennessy
- C: Drew Dalman
- DL: Grady Jarrett, Calais Campbell, David Onyemata, Ta'Quon Graham
- EDGE: Lorenzo Carter, Arnold Ebiketie, DeAngelo Malone, Zach Harrison
- LB: Troy Andersen, Kaden Elliss
- CB: A.J. Terrell, Jeff Okudah, Clark Phillips III
- S: Jessie Bates, Richie Grant, Jaylinn Hawkins
- K: Younghoe Koo
- P: Bradley Pinion
- LS: Liam McCullough
In total, that is 35 players (unintentionally 16 on offense, 16 on defense). That would mean that there are 18 spots open for the Falcons.
Then there are also those players that will probably make the roster like KhaDarel Hodge, Scotty Miller, Bud Dupree, Mykal Walker, Dee Alford, Mike Hughes, and possibly Darren Hall.
After the probable players, there are only 11 spots open.
Obviously, it isn't equal opportunity for every player fighting for a spot. The Falcons aren't going to keep 7 safeties if there are four other safeties they really like. It will be interesting to see which players stick out during preseason and how the Falcons decide to divvy up their 53 openings across each position.