1. T.J. Yates (Quaterback)
The Georgia-native has not been off to the start that was expected of him. Even though Matt Ryan will be the starting quarterback, the coaching staff still would like to have a reliable second-option if Ryan goes down. Yates has been competing with Sean Renfree for the backup role, and from everything happening so far, Renfree seems to be out-performing Yates. Yates will be given the chance to prove his worth, as he will be the backup to Matt Ryan in the first preseason game against the Tennessee Titans. Both quarterbacks will get numerous amounts of snaps, but these preseason games are very important to these players. Jobs are on the line, and the Falcons will most likely shy away in keeping three quarterbacks. If Yates wants to make the 53-man roster this upcoming season, he has to step his game up on the practice field and this preseason.
2. Dezmen Southward (Cornerback)
This could come as surprise to many as Dezmen Southward is only in the beginning of his career. But with this new scheme implemented by Richard Smith, how long can the team wait for him to progress? His previous injuries have hampered him and put him behind in the depth chart. He is competing with guys such as Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford, Jalen Collins, and Philip Adams. Kevin White, an undrafted free agent, also is a legitimate threat to Southward, as he was one of the most coveted undrafted rookie free agents. Southward hasn’t made much noise this preseason, and that is a cause of concern. The 2014 third-round draft selection is the most notable player on the bubble, but hopefully he can find a way to turn things around.
3. Colin Mooney (Fullback)
Colin Mooney was brought into the Falcons organization to compete with fullback Patrick DiMarco. DiMarco started to go downhill towards the end of the 2014 season, especially against the Carolina Panthers in Week 17. But the Falcons still seem to have instilled their trust in DiMarco, as he is number one on the depth chart against the Tennessee Titans for the first preseason game. Atlanta needs another player to create holes for the running backs, but it looks like Mooney might have to pack his bags as NFL teams very rarely carry two fullbacks on the roster.
4. Tyler Starr (Linebacker)
This player has been battling for his job since the Falcons drafted him in the seventh-round of the 2014 NFL Draft. While getting drafted might be a surreal feeling, it is only the beginning, as players then need to prove themselves worthy of making the roster. Starr is in the place where he needs to be a player that coaches talk about after practice. Atlanta has a starting linebacking core and some solid depth players behind the starters, so Starr making the 53-man roster seems slim. Unless Starr can make impactful plays throughout the preseason, it looks like Starr making the roster is a long-shot.