Rise Up Falcons Roster Review: Post-Arizona Cardinals 2017 Preseason Game

By Cory Woodroof

As we gear up for the season, Rise Up Reader will provide weekly roster updates as to what they think the final 53-man count will look like the for the Atlanta Falcons.

These will be published towards the end of the week, often, around the time of the preseason game. The final edition will be published after the Birds take the field once again at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium to take on the Jaguars. Here’s the fourth look.

QB (2)

  1. Matt Ryan
  2. Matt Schaub

Matt Simms will have to latch on elsewhere if he seeks to continue his career in the league. His time looks to be over in Atlanta after a so-so preseason so far.

RB (5)

  1. Devonta Freeman
  2. Tevin Coleman
  3. Terron Ward
  4. Brian Hill
  5. Derrick Coleman

While Hill looked better Saturday running with the first team, Ward will win the third running back job this season. He looks eons better than he ever has in Atlanta, and could factor into the game plan this season. Hill tweaked his ankle during the game, which is worth monitoring.

WR (6)

  1. Julio Jones
  2. Mohamed Sanu Sr.
  3. Taylor Gabriel
  4. Justin Hardy
  5. Andre Roberts
  6. Marvin Hall Jr.

Hall feels like he’s got the leg up with his special teams play alone. Reggie Davis has flashed a plenty, but his lack of first team reps may make him the next in a long series of preseason favorites who don’t crack the roster. It’ll be curious to see if he can stick around on the practice squad, with his ability obvious. After two years with the Birds, it may be the end of the line for Scrappy Nick Williams, who struggled a bit Saturday after a nice outing at Pittsburgh. Nothing’s set in stone, though, for any of the guys not named Julio, Mohamed, Taylor, Justin and Andre.

TE (3)

  1. Austin Hooper
  2. Levine Toilolo
  3. Eric Saubert

Indeed, Saubert got a huge breath of life in him after receiving an endorsement from Keith Armstrong for his special teams play. It’ll be where Saubert makes his living at first in Atlanta, and if Armstrong goes to bat for the rookie tight end, that’s as potent a voice as any fringe roster guy can have. Joshua Perkins and Darion Griswold are by no means out of the hunt, but Saubert has steadily improved as the past three weeks have gone on, and his making the roster would help the front office save face from having to cut a draft pick.

OL (8)

  1. T Jake Matthews
  2. C Alex Mack
  3. T Ryan Schraeder
  4. G Andy Levitre
  5. G Wes Schweitzer
  6. G/C Ben Garland
  7. G Sean Harlow
  8. T Austin Pasztor

No huge changes – Pasztor didn’t play against the Cardinals, but his status as a former starter in the league makes him lightyears better than most of the undrafted guys vying for the spot. It’s his for the taking – the team wouldn’t have brought him in if they weren’t serious about him sticking around this season.


DL (9)

  1. DE Adrian Clayborn
  2. DE Takk McKinley
  3. DE Derrick Shelby
  4. DE Jack Crawford
  5. DE Brooks Reed
  6. DT Grady Jarrett
  7. DT Dontari Poe
  8. DT Courtney Upshaw
  9. DT Ra’Shede Hageman

The depth on the defensive line may keep the team from wanting to stack the position. J.T. Jones has been a hot name, but Chris Odom has nearly been as impressive through three preseason games. Both guys would be slim contributors if either made the roster, but right now, the d-line is so deep, an extra body may not be necessary. Still up in the air, though.

LB (7)

  1. OLB Vic Beasley Jr.
  2. OLB De’Vondre Campbell
  3. OLB Duke Riley
  4. OLB Kemal Ishmael
  5. ILB Deion Jones
  6. ILB LaRoy Reynolds
  7. ILB Jermaine Grace

Grace played strong against Arizona returning from injury, and if LaRoy Reynolds misses any time after suffering an injury Saturday night, Grace will be the next man up. He’s been called out for his special teams play by Armstrong, and had some nice flashes against the Cardinals. He’s a talented guy, and would be an excellent guy to groom as the potential long-term backup to Deion Jones.

S (4)

  1. FS Ricardo Allen
  2. FS Damontae Kazee
  3. SS Keanu Neal
  4. SS Sharrod Neasman

This group feels pretty set – perhaps the most hammered-in position on the roster outside of quarterback.

CB (6)

  1. CB Desmond Trufant
  2. CB Robert Alford
  3. CB Brian Poole
  4. CB C.J. Goodwin
  5. CB Deji Olatoye
  6. CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson

Jarnor Jones might be a hair too raw to count on for the active roster, and Wreh-Wilson has been pretty solid all-around this preseason. Goodwin and Olatoye have been up-and-down, but as reserve corners, they won’t be asked to do too much in actual game time. Jarnor Jones will be an excellent practice squad guy.

STs (3)

  1. K Matt Bryant
  2. P Matt Bosher
  3. LS Josh Harris

K Mike Meyer continues to not miss – he might be Bryant’s successor.


  1. QB TBA
  2. RB Kelvin Taylor
  3. WR Reggie Davis
  4. LT Andreas Knappe
  5. RT D.J. Tialavea
  6. DE Chris Odom
  7. OLB J.T. Jones
  8. S Quincy Mauger
  9. CB Jarnor Jones
  10. K Mike Meyer
  11. TE Alex Gray


Right now, it still doesn’t feel like the future practice squad QB is on the roster. Changes: J.T. Jones and Odom both stick around, and Jarnor Jones makes it back.

ALTERNATE SCENARIOS (if RB Brian Hill or LB LaRoy Reynolds land on IR to start the season)

Add OL D.J. Tialavea to the offensive line group to replace Hill’s spot — add OL Kevin Graf to his spot on the PS. 

Add J.T. Jones to the DL or LB group to replace LB Reynolds’ spot — add LB Jack Lynn to his spot on the PS. 

So, what do you think of my roster ramblings? Share below in the comments…

Photo from AtlantaFalcons.com

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