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Report Card Grades for the Atlanta Falcons Undrafted Free Agent Signings

Al BruceContributor IJanuary 4, 2017

Report Card Grades for the Atlanta Falcons Undrafted Free Agent Signings

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    The Atlanta Falcons didn't let the fact that there aren't too many spots available on their roster stop them from being active in the undrafted free-agent market following last week's NFL draft.

    In all, Atlanta signed 24 players who will hope to find their names on Atlanta's final 53 man roster or the team's practice squad when training camp ends.

    Let's get to know this year's crop of undrafted free agents and assign a grade to each player based on the projected value that they will bring to the Falcons roster as we look ahead to the team's upcoming rookie mini-camp and ultimately onto training camp later this summer. 

    We will determine each player's value based primarily on the player's position and their early odds of making the Falcons' final roster.

Casey Barth, K, North Carolina

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    Barth has NFL bloodlines like Falcons' first-round draft pick Desmond Trufant, as he is the younger brother of Tampa Bay kicker Connor Barth.  The younger Barth is UNC's all-time leader for consecutive extra points made and career field goals made.

    Only two placekickers (Florida's Caleb Sturgis and Florida State's Dustin Hopkins) were selected in the entire draft, and Barth's stock was likely hampered by the medical redshirt season that he had to take in 2011.

    The Falcons are pretty set in the kicking game with Matt Bryant and Matt Bosher, but NFL teams are always looking for young, inexpensive legs like Barth's.  Even still, Barth has to be considered a longshot to make the roster because of the presence of Matt Bryant.

    Grade: C

Joplo Bartu, LB, Texas State

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    Bartu displayed a lot of versatility for Texas State during the school's first season as a member of the WAC conference last year; he lined up at linebacker and defensive end.  An ever-active player who plays like he's charged by a battery, Bartu finished with 95 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 2012.

    The 2013 draft was deep at linebacker and Bartu was a bit of a late bloomer.  He nearly doubled his tackle production from 2011 to 2012.

    The Falcons appear to be set for an open competition at linebacker behind Sean Weatherspoon, Stephen Nicholas and Akeem Dent because none of the other linebackers on the roster have much NFL experience at all.  Bartu may find a spot for himself on Atlanta's final roster if he can prove himself on special teams.

    Grade: B

Devonte Campbell, FB/TE, Maryland

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    At 6'2", 255 pounds, Campbell has ideal size for a hybrid NFL H-back after playing primarily as a tight end at Maryland.

    Campbell only started four games in his career at Maryland, and he was rarely featured in the Terrapins offense.

    Campbell's best bet to make the Falcons roster is probably as a fullback or utility h-back who contributes heavily on special teams.  He'll have his work cut out for him, though.  2012 fifth-round selection Bradie Ewing is coming off of an injury that took his rookie season before it had officially begun, so he's sure to be hungry for action in training camp.

    Grade: D

Nick Clancy, LB, Boston College

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    Clancy persevered through a long 2012 season with Boston College that saw his team finish 2-10.  Clancy was the heart and soul of the Eagles defense as a senior last year, as he finished with 145 tackles.

    Clancy didn't become a full-time starter until his senior year in 2012, and he ran an underwhelming 4.93 40-yard dash at Boston College's pro day.  He may have been drafted if he had run a better time because the on-field production was there in 2012.

    Linebacker is probably the main spot on Atlanta's roster where an undrafted free agent like Clancy can find a home, because most of the competition at that position involves other undrafted players like Pat Schiller and Brian Banks. 

    Clancy showed some real potential in 2012, and if he continues to develop he may very well make Atlanta's roster as a reserve linebacker.

    This was one of Atlanta's better undrafted free-agent signings because Clancy played well enough as a senior to merit some real consideration on day three of the draft.

    Grade: A

Seth Doege, QB, Texas Tech

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    Doege knows how to put up big numbers in the passing game.  He's ranked third all-time at Texas Tech in passing yards, touchdowns, pass attempts and completions.

    At 6'1", 197 pounds, Doege doesn't have prototypical size for an NFL quarterback.  Doege may have also been hurt by concerns about his ability to perform outside of Texas Tech's offensive system.

    Doege should provide an extra arm to help Atlanta get through training camp while he competes with Sean Renfree for the third quarterback spot behind Matt Ryan and Dominique Davis.

    Grade: B-

Rashad Evans, WR, Fresno State

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    Evans is a smaller receiver who's listed at 5'9", 187 pounds.  However, he played in 44 games during his career at Fresno State and displayed some ability as a punt returner. Evans finished eighth in school history with 138 receptions. 

    The wide receiver position is kind of like the linebacker position for the Falcons on defense. After Roddy White, Julio Jones and Harry Douglas, Evans will be competing against other undrafted players like Drew Davis, Kevin Cone and James Rodgers for a roster spot.

    Grade: B-

Deon Goggins, DE/LB, Syracuse

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    Deon Goggins is a classic 'tweener whose size likely presented a challenge for NFL talent evaluators.  At 6'1", 272 pounds, Goggins played mostly at defensive tackle for Syracuse after playing in junior college during his first two seasons.

    Goggins didn't generate a lot of sacks, but he is a decent athlete who may have some special teams or practice squad value in the NFL.

    In fact, apparently the Falcons already recognize Goggins' athleticism because they list him as a fullback on their roster.

    Grade: D

Theo Goins, G, UCF

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    Goins has NFL size (6'4", 317 lbs) and he played in 45 games along the offensive line during his career at Central Florida.

    He's going to face quite an uphill battle to make Atlanta's roster as the Falcons already have quite a crop of young linemen who are ready to compete for significant playing time this year.

    Nevertheless, Phillipkeith Manley came into camp as an undrafted free agent last year and impressed the coaching staff enough to stick around, so there is precedent for Goins to establish himself as well.

    Grade: C

Cam Henderson, DE, UCF

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    Cam Henderson is another late-developing prospect who joined his Central Florida team in 2011 after playing in junior college.  At 6'5", 245 pounds, Henderson projects as a right defensive end in Atlanta's defense.

    After getting off to a slow start in 2011, Henderson finished with 61 tackles and two sacks in his two seasons in Orlando.

    Henderson struggled to adjust to FBS competition as a JUCO transfer in 2011, and he may face a similar struggle adjusting to NFL competition in training camp.

    Grade: D

Neal Huynh, DT, Ohio

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    The Falcons needed to add a beefy defensive tackle to their interior defensive line. At 6'4", 315 pounds, Neal Huynh definitely has the potential to be a space-eater.

    After redshirting in 2008, Huynh became a four-year letterman for Ohio. 

    The Falcons have their top four defensive tackles in Jonathan Babineaux, Corey Peters, Peria Jerry and Travian Robertson, but Huynh has a shot to stick because of his size if he can show some ability during the preseason.

    Grade: B

Darius Johnson, WR, SMU

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    Darius Johnson is a thin receiver who's probably going to have to prove that he can get out of press coverage and block downfield in order to earn a roster spot in the NFL.

    The 5'10", 175-pound wideout played in June Jones' run-and-shoot offense at SMU, so he shouldn't have a problem catching up to the up-tempo, no-huddle offense that Dirk Koetter sometimes employs.

    Like Rashad Evans, Johnson is going to have to excel on special teams if he wants to beat out the likes of Kevin Cone, Drew Davis and James Rodgers for a roster spot at wide receiver.

    Grade: C

Terren Jones, OT, Alabama State

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    Terren Jones is massive offensive tackle prospect whose size could eventually land him a spot on Atlanta's practice squad after training camp.

    The 6'7", 340-pound lineman was a first-team All-SWAC performer who anchored the left side of Alabama State's offensive line.

    Sam Baker, Lamar Holmes and Mike Johnson are probably the Falcons' top three tackles going into training camp, and Garrett Reynolds has experience playing on the outside as well.

    However, linemen as big as Jones don't grow on trees, and if his athleticism holds up against NFL players in camp, I wouldn't be surprised if the Falcons tucked him away on the practice squad for a year.

    Grade: C+

Martel Moore, WR, Northern Illinois

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    Listed at 6'0", 183 pounds, Martel Moore is a little bigger than Darius Johnson and Rashad Evans, and he was highly productive during his time at Northern Illinois.

    Moore finished with 75 receptions, 1,083 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2012.  He was probably the best offensive playmaker on the outside for a Northern Illinois team that reached the Orange Bowl last season.

    The Falcons could stand to add another threat at wide receiver behind Roddy White, Julio Jones and Harry Douglas, and Moore has shown that he has the ability to be a big-play guy in college.

    Grade: A

Adam Replogle, DT, Indiana

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    A team captain at Indiana, Replogle projects as a three-technique defensive tackle in Atlanta's base 4-3 defensive front.

    Replogle is a battle-hardened Big Ten player who started 47 games in college for the Hoosiers.

    As we discussed earlier with Neal Huynth, the Falcons may have a spot for another defensive tackle on their 53 man roster. 

    Huynth and Replogle will likely be competing with Micanor Regis.  Replogle's experience playing in the trenches of the Big Ten may give him an advantage over Huynth despite Huynth's size.

    Grade: B

Donald Russell, RB, Georgia State

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    Russell is the all-time leading rusher in Georgia State football's young history.

    He has decent size at 5'11", 212 pounds, but he's entering a crowded offensive backfield in Atlanta.  Steven Jackson, Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling all but have their roster spots locked up, and Antone Smith has proven his worth on special teams.

    Moreover, Russell is going to have to compete against ex-Arkansas running back Ronnie Wingo before he can even compete against Smith.

    Grade: D+

Troy Sanders, S, Appalachian State

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    Troy Sanders was a three-year starter for one of the better FCS programs in the country.  He's listed at 6'0", 214 pounds, and he also played some cornerback in college.

    However, even though Sanders may have some talent, the Falcons spent two late picks on safeties in the draft last week.  In addition, Charles Mitchell and Shann Schillinger are still on the roster.

    Sanders may have some ability, but he's facing some long odds because he's got four safeties who were drafted by the Falcons to compete with before we even get to Thomas DeCoud and William Moore.

    Grade: C-

Alec Savoie, OT, McNeese State

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    Alec Savoie is another big, wide-bodied offensive tackle prospect for the Falcons. 

    At 6'7", 322 pounds, Savoie was an All-Southland conference performer who played 708 snaps and only gave up 1.5 sacks last year.

    Thomas Dimitroff stated that the team would have some big guys on the practice field, and Alec Savoie and Terren Jones look like perfect examples of the kind of size that Dimitroff was referring to.

    Grade: C

Ryan Schraeder, OT, Valdosta State

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    6'7", 300-pound former Valdosta State tackle Ryan Schraeder joins Alec Savoie and Terren Jones in what has quickly become a deep pool of young offensive tackles on Atlanta's post-draft roster.

    Schraeder earned All-American honors at the junior college level before arriving at Valdosta State in 2011.

    Schraeder played with Panthers fourth-round pick Edmund Kugbila in college, and together they led the Blazers to the NCAA Division II Championship in 2012.

    Like Kugbila, Schraeder is going to have to prove that he can handle the jump in competition.

    Grade: C+

Sean Sellwood, P/K, Utah

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    Sean Sellwood set Utah's career record for punts of 50 yards or more with 51 during his four years on campus.

    He also has experience as holder for field goals and extra points.

    Sellwood has a pretty strong leg, but Matt Bosher has shown steady improvement during his time with the Falcons.

    Teams like to bring in fresh legs to compete in camp, but I'd be surprised if Sellwood was able to surpass Matt Bosher for Atlanta's punting duties.

    Grade: D

Matt Smith, C, Kentucky

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    Todd McClure began his career with the Falcons as a seventh-round draft pick in 1999.  Former Kentucky center Matt Smith will attempt to best McClure's feat by winning a roster spot and fighting for the starting center position as an undrafted free agent.

    Smith was a three-year starter at Kentucky and he represented the Wildcats at SEC Media Days last season.

    After playing against SEC defensive lines, Smith shouldn't be to shocked by the athleticism he will see up front in the NFL.

    Peter Konz will probably win the Falcons' starting job at center, but Smith could stick around on the practice squad with a strong showing.

    Grade: B+

Momo Thomas, CB, Colorado State

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    The Falcons play a ton of nickel coverage under Mike Nolan, so Momo Thomas shouldn't be too discouraged by the fact that Atlanta took two cornerbacks at the top of the draft. 

    At 5'9", 185 pounds, Thomas is smaller than Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford, but he played in 42 games for Colorado State and has some experience in the return game.

    Thomas can find a spot on the roster by finding the football in the preseason and outworking Peyton Thompson or Terrance Johnson.

    Grade: B

Brandon Thurmond, DE, Arkansas Pine-Bluff

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    Brandon Thurmond was probably overshadowed by his teammate (on the other side of the ball) Terron Armstead during much of the pre-draft process, but he's got some ability to shoot gaps and make plays along the defensive line.

    It's going to be a crowded competition at defensive end, but Thurmond can make a name for himself if he demonstrates that he's able to be disruptive against NFL talent during camp. 

    Like most undrafted free agents, he's also going to have to make some noise on special teams if he really wants to stick though.

    Grade: C

Ronnie Wingo, RB, Arkansas

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    The Falcons' three-deep chart at running back is pretty set with Steven Jackson, Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling. 

    However, Ronnie Wingo is a SEC veteran who may be able to give Antone Smith some competition for roster spot as a special teams ace and utility running back.

    Wingo's size (6'3", 231 lbs) is intriguing, and he proved that he can wear multiple hats (rushing, receiving and blocking) during his time in the backfield for the Razorbacks.

    Grade: B-

Paul Worrilow, LB, Delaware

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    Paul Worrilow was a four-year starter at Delaware who flew around the football and became one of the faces of the Blue Hens program.

    As we've stated before, it looks like there may be a spot for at least one undrafted free agent to make the Falcons roster at linebacker if he can beat out Pat Schiller, Brian Banks or Robert James. 

    Worrilow will have to learn quickly and outperform guys like Nick Clancy and Joplo Bartu on special teams during the preseason if he wants to be the guy.

    Grade: B+


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