Every NFL team is required to get to 53 players by Tuesday’s deadline, and the Falcons have already begun the process, trimming their roster by four over the weekend, including 2021 third-round pick Jalen Mayfield.
It’s especially interesting the club cut Mayfield because they drafted him with a decently high selection and the offensive line is paper thin. For Atlanta to move on from him not even three years into his career with this kind of depth, it is extremely telling of his standing.
This leads me to the topic at hand — which areas could the Falcons stand to improve amid league wide roster cuts?
Tyler Vrabel got the start at right tackle in the Falcons’ final preseason contest with the second-team offense, and it went about as poorly as you can imagine against the Steelers’ first-team defense. However, it’s not just him. The entire Falcons offensive line group is nauseating to watch, outside of the starters.
If one of the five starters were to miss any time, Desmond Ridder‘s life would be in danger. There’s no depth and not even a semblance of it. Ryan Nuezil seems to be the swing interior lineman, but that’s not exactly an inspiring option. A couple of familiar faces — Colby Gossett, Dennis Kelly, Josh Andrews, and Germain Ifedi — are available and could interest the club.
Regardless, the Falcons have the cap space to make a move and a massive need for improved depth along the front.
The club came into the offseason with holes at all three of these position groups, and it seems they’ll be entering the regular season with the same holes. If Drake London goes down, the Falcons will be trotting out Scotty Miller, Mack Hollins, and KhaDarel Hodge in three receiver sets. That is pathetic, even for a team that doesn’t emphasize the position and possesses a freak tight end in Kyle Pitts. There aren’t many attractive options available, but roster cuts could produce a few potential targets.
The Falcons decided to part ways with their most experienced backup linebacker — Mykal Walker. Atlanta could enter the season with Nate Landman and Tae Davis as the second-string linebacking duo. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it’s certainly not ideal. The Falcons could add a number of experienced players. I don’t know how much Kyle Van Noy has left in the tank, but he can provide depth at multiple positions. Rashaan Evans is still available, which makes me think his return isn’t even on the table. Offensive line and receiver are more pressing than linebacker, in my opinion; however, all three are glaring holes.
Photographer: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire