Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith have done an excellent job building a competitive roster from top to bottom. There will be position battles for starting positions and the last spots on the 53-man roster. We’ve come a long way from the regime’s first season at the helm. The club now features its most talented group of players in Smith and Fontenot’s tenures, paving the way for some heartbreaking decisions to get down to 53 guys. Here are some surprise cut candidates:
Some might not call this a surprise, and though some fans wouldn’t be shocked, it’s uncommon for a third-round pick to last only two seasons. Mayfield’s career hasn’t taken off as he or the Falcons had hoped for, but the experiment to move the Michigan product from his collegiate position to guard is over. Mayfield has reportedly moved back to tackle in a reserve role. I don’t know how much that will benefit him; hopefully, it will resurrect his career because the current trajectory isn’t encouraging.
This one would be more surprising than Mayfield, somehow. Arthur Smith has a man crush on Franks or something because he offers close to nothing as an offensive player. I’m not knocking his athleticism or the work he’s put into the position change, but the results haven’t been fruitful. Franks is a hell of an athlete and has taken the tight end position in stride; it just might be time to end this charade, though.
The Falcons fifth-round pick from the 2021 draft hasn’t had a terrible career thus far; in fact, there have been several moments where he looked to be an ascending talent. Unfortunately, the edge room is crowded. Lorenzo Carter, Bud Dupree, Arnold Ebiketie, and DeAngelo Malone are locks to make the roster, so it could be an uphill battle for Ogundeji to make the final 53. The Falcons should just choose to carry five edge defenders, so this would be shocking if Ogundeji is cut.
This is a candidate that might not come to everyone’s mind immediately, but it’s hard to gauge his current standing with the Falcons. He sat out 2020 due to COVID-19, returned in 2021 but had the worst year of his career, then signed with Atlanta in July of last offseason before deciding to retire.
Goldman also hasn’t been at OTAs, so there is a chance he shows up out of shape and doesn’t make the team. On the other hand, the 6-3 332-pound Goldman could wind up impressing during training camp and the preseason, earning a permanent role in the defensive line rotation.
He’ll have to beat out the likes of Timmy Horne, who went undrafted last year. The second-year pro started a couple of games toward the end of the 2022 campaign and is constantly praised for his progress. It’s not outside of the realm of possibilities that the Falcons go with Horne over Goldman if the veteran doesn’t show up to camp ready to go.
Photographer: Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire