Projecting the Atlanta Falcons' Final 53-Man Roster After Preseason Week 2

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Projecting the Atlanta Falcons' Final 53-Man Roster After Preseason Week 2
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons have completed two preseason games and have the first roster cut date quickly approaching.  

The 90 players currently on the roster will need to be trimmed all the way to 53 by August 31. 

Here are my projections of the final 53 after the first two preseason games.

 

Quarterbacks

Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan has been nothing short of spectacular through two preseason games, so he is a lock.

The Falcons are likely only going to carry two quarterbacks as backup, and the competition has been fierce so far.  

Incumbent backup Chris Redman may still have the edge, and he makes sense on a team that is a serious threat for a long playoff run.  

UDFA Dominique Davis is making a strong run at the backup position and will need at least one more stellar game and a good final two weeks of practice to jump ahead of Redman.  

John Parker Wilson's time as the third-team quarterback seems over.

 

Running Backs

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In new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter's offense, the running game needs to feature versatile players who can be a threat running and catching.  

While extremely out of place in the new up-tempo offense, Michael Turner seems locked as the featured back.

Jason Snelling can line up at multiple positions in the backfield and provides good insurance behind Turner.

Jacquizz Rodgers' play so far is reminiscent of Warrick Dunn's performances with the Falcons, and he could be in for a breakout season.

I would give the edge to Antone Smith over James Rodgers, Dimitri Nance or Richard Medlin for the fourth running back role.

 

Fullbacks

Bradie Ewing was drafted to be the H-back tight end-type role before suffering a season-ending ACL injury.

That seemed to put Mike Cox in the driver's seat before Lousaka Polite burst onto the scene last Thursday night.  

This battle will need another week to be decided, but with Cox's shaky blocking and Polite's solid play, I would give the nod to the latter right now. 

 

Wide Receivers

The top four spots seem to be secured with Roddy White, Julio Jones, Harry Douglas and Kerry Meier in tow.

There are six players competing for one or two spots.

Kevin Cone and Drew Davis are the front-runners for the fifth receiver spot, and the loser could earn an additional sixth receiver roster spot.

James Rodgers, Marcus Jackson, Kevin Stafford and Tim Toone will need a great third preseason game to challenge Cone and Davis.

 

Tight Ends

With the Falcons' new, up-tempo offense, versatility will be asked of the tight ends.  

All-Pro Tony Gonzalez is a lock with two backup spots available.

Michael Palmer should return as the backup tight end with Aron White and LaMark Brown battling for the last roster spot.

Both players are versatile, but Brown offers experience as a receiver in college and could be an H-back-type player missing in the offense.  

Recently signed Chase Coffman could factor into the plans if he can standout in the third preseason game.

 

Offensive Linemen

This is still a hard unit to gauge even after two preseason games, but I see the Falcons keeping nine roster spots available.  

The Falcons are counting on Sam Baker at left tackle with Tyson Clabo, Todd McClure, Peter Konz and Justin Blalock rounding out the projected starter.  

The final four to make the roster are Joe Hawley, Garret Reynolds, Mike Johnson and Lamar Holmes.

The remaining group of linemen include Andrew Jackson, Phillip Manley, Tyler Horn and Bryce Harris all of whom seem to be battling for a practice squad spot.  

Will Svitek was in line to win or back up at left tackle or swing tackle, but was lost to an arm injury and will miss the entire season.  

 

Defensive Linemen

New defensive coordinator Mike Nolan wants to use a lot of different looks and is likely to carry some versatile players on the defensive line.

John Abraham and Ray Edwards are locked in as starters at end.

I see Jonathan Massaquoi, Kroy Biermann and Lawrence Sidbury making up the final three end spots.

Corey Peters, Jonathan Babineaux, Peria Jerry and Travian Robertson should be the tackles, with Perry and Babineaux as the starters unless Peters can quickly get acclimated to the new defensive schemes.

 

Linebackers

After Sean Weatherspoon, Stephen Nicholas, Akeem Dent and Mike Peterson, there is good competition for the last two backup spots.  

I see veteran Robert James and Spencer Adkins wining the final two spots, but Rico Council, Jerrell Harris and Pat Schiller are in the hunt as well.

 

Defensive Backs

The Falcons will likely keep a total of six cornerbacks and four safeties.

At corner, the trio of Brent Grimes, Dunta Robinson and Asante Samuel are obvious locks.

The final three roster spots at corner should go to Dominique Franks, Christopher Owens and Darrin Walls.

At safety, William Moore and Thomas DeCoud are locked in.  

I think Charles Mitchell can still win a roster spot along with Chris Hope, but Mitchell is being pushed by Shann Schillinger, who can be a great special teams player.  

The final safety spot should go down to the wire. 

 

Specialists

There won't be any surprises with K Matt Bryant, P Matt Bosher and LS Joe Zelenka all returning in 2012.  

 

The Projected 53-Man Depth Chart:

QB: Matt Ryan/Chris Redman

RBF: Michael Turner/Jacquizz Rodgers/Jason Snelling/Antone Smith

 

FB: Lousaka Polite/Jason Snelling

WR: Roddy White/Kerry Meier/ Drew Davis

WR: Julio Jones/Harry Douglas/Kevin Cone

 

TE: Tony Gonzalez/Michael Palmer/LaMark Brown

LT: Sam Baker/Lamar Holmes

LG: Justin Blalock/Mike Johnson

C: Todd McClure/Joe Hawley

RG: Peter Konz/Garrett Reynolds

RT: Tyson Clabo/Lamar Holmes

 

LE: Ray Edwards/Kroy Biermann

DT: Peria Jerry/Corey Peters

DT: Jonathan Babineaux/Travian Robertson

RE: John Abraham/Lawrence Sidbury/Jonathan Massaquoi

 

WLB: Sean Weatherspoon/Robert James

MLB: Akeem Dent/Mike Peterson

SLB: Stephen Nicholas/Spencer Adkins

LCB: Asante Samuel/Dunta Robinson/Dominique Franks

 

RCB: Brent Grimes/Dunta Robinson/Chris Owens

NCB: Dunta Robinson/Dominique Franks/Darrin Walls

FS: Thomas DeCoud/Charles Mitchell

SS: William Moore/Chris Hope

 

K: Matt Bryant

P: Matt Bosher

KOS: Matt Bosher

LS: Joe Zelenka

 

Drew Tull is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. As a Featured Columnist, I cover the Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings. I also am the Seattle Seahawks analyst at Drafttek and run the website VikingsAuthority.com.

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