Rise Up Falcons 2017 Roster Review: First Training Camp Week Complete

By Cory Woodroof

As we gear up for the 2017 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 next edition will be published after the Birds take the field in Miami.

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OFFENSE

QB (3)

  1. Matt Ryan
  2. Matt Schaub
  3. Matt Simms

The Falcons have no need to carry three QBs, but the organization really likes Matt Simms, and re-signing him in the offseason with no practice squad eligibility left might indicate he’s the heir apparent to back up Ryan once Schaub’s career is over. In the surprise of the roster moves this season, Simms makes the 53 as a third quarterback. UDFA QB Alek Torgersen has the direct line to the practice squad spot.

RB (4)

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

Brian Hill, right now, has the draft clout and the ceiling the team may want to fill in the third running back spot on the roster. RBs Terron Ward and BJ Daniels will need to impress to unseat a fifth-round draft pick who could be groomed for more down the road. Coleman, who started at FB in Seattle, gets the FB nod over UDFA Tyler Renew.

WR (6)

  1. Julio Jones
  2. Mohamed Sanu Sr.
  3. Taylor Gabriel
  4. Justin Hardy
  5. Andre Roberts
  6. Reggie Davis

Davis is the talk of training camp when it comes to the UDFAs. He’s a vertical threat who could perhaps take Aldrick Robinson’s role in the offense, though he will have to show his merits as a special teams player to get activated on game days if he makes the cut. WR Anthony Dablé and Deante Burton are also names to watch as potential sixth WRs.

TE (4)

  1. Austin Hooper
  2. Levine Toilolo
  3. Joshua Perkins
  4. Eric Saubert

With news of DJ Tialavea’s move to offensive tackle, the tight end group is essentially set. A lesser-had conversation of camp is whether or not Perkins or Saubert will make the 53 –  Saubert is an incredibly raw player, but has tremendous upside. Perkins would to have the edge there with a year under his belt, where he flashed potential. Will the team carry four tight ends under Sarkisian? Time will tell, but right now, we’ll have them both in the mix.

OL (9)

  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. G/C Cornelius Edison
  9. T Andreas Knappe

The offensive line has four starters entrenched, with Schweitzer and Garland competing for right guard (both roster locks). Harlow is safe as a mid-round draft pick and reserve. That leaves Edison, who has experience in the league and can play both center and guard, and Knappe, who the team indicated would have been their sixth-round pick if they’d had one. T Kevin Graf and T Wil Freeman are two other names to watch for.

DEFENSE

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

This group feels locked, unless DE J’Terius Jones pushes Reed out of his spot on the roster with a stellar preseason. Reed is a good reserve player being paid like a starter, and if the team loves Jones’ upside and feel comfortable with him getting reserve snaps on game day and playing special teams, Reed’s time with Atlanta could end. Right now, though, Reed’s got the edge because he brings more to the table in the short term.

LB (6)

  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

OLBs Josh Keyes, Jermaine Grace and Jack Lynn could all vie for a spot on the practice squad. Keyes would seem to have the edge there with his experience, but Grace has upside.

S (4)

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

The backup strong safety battle is interesting – Ishmael would likely slot in if Neal got hurt, but UDFAs Jordan Moore and Quincy Mauger have the kind of skillsets Quinn likes at the position. Neasman gets the nod right now, but it’s a competition worth watching.

CB (5)

  1. CB Desmond Trufant
  2. CB Robert Alford
  3. CB Brian Poole
  4. CB Jalen Collins
  5. CB C.J. Goodwin

The cornerback group is as deep as it ever has been, with Collins, Goodwin and Deji Olatoye all vying for the last two spots. The team could conceivably keep six corners, but one of them would need to be inactive on gameday. Let’s say Olatoye, a good player in his own right, is cut loose and allowed to find an opportunity elsewhere.

STs (3)

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

No conversation here. K Mike Meyer could latch on to the practice squad if the team likes his potential as a replacement for Bryant.

PRACTICE SQUAD

  1. QB Alek Torgersen
  2. RB Terron Ward
  3. WR Anthony Dablé
  4. T Wil Freeman
  5. T D.J. Tialavea
  6. DE J’Terius Jones
  7. OLB Josh Keyes
  8. S Quincy Mauger
  9. CB Akeem King
  10. K Mike Meyer
  11. TE Alex Gray

Torgersen is the PS QB, Ward stick around on the PS so he’s still with the team, Dablé takes a year to develop on the PS (same with Freeman), Tialavea makes the PS, because the team likes him if they’re willing to have him go through a position change at this point before the season, Jones, a near roster guy, makes the PS and is likely a call-up person if injury strikes the DL, Keyes returns to the PS, Mauger shows enough in camp/preseason to keep around, King gets a year to get healthy on the PS (a call-up guy if injury hits CB group) and Meyer waits a year to see if he can replace Bryant if the veteran kicker calls it quits after 2017. Gray’s spot is secure as part of his program with the NFL.

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

Photo from AtlantaFalcons.com

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