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Falcons 53-man roster projection: Tough calls at linebacker, in secondary, with defense and specialists unveiled

Erroll Thompson, Chris Williamson make projected roster with strong training camps


The Falcons will have some difficult choices to make cut-down day, especially in the defensive backfield. That was clear while making this 53-man roster projection, where I went back and forth on a few deserving talents before settling on the list of defenders and specialists you see below.

I haven't rested easy leaving some off the list, and will continue to struggle with who should make the roster at the interior linebacker spot. Erroll Thompson and Dorian Etheridge are both deserving in my eyes.

Take a look at my defensive selections and the three specialists projected to make the final roster. Then evaluate the offensive selections posted right here. Compare and contrast that to the list you've got ruminating and feel free to let me know what you think, either on social media or through our mailbag. That should make for spicy Bair Mail on Wednesday, just the way we like it.

Here we go. Let's look at the selections:

Defensive linemen (6)

Grady Jarrett

Marlon Davidson

Tyeler Davison

Jonathan Bullard

John Cominsky

Ta'Quon Graham

Not sure I would've had Bullard on this list had I done a pre-camp roster projection. He has earned this spot with a solid camp working in coordinator Dean Pees system and could end up a starter with Jarrett and Davison. Cominsky and Graham provide rotational depth. Davidson's a wild card, with the talent to make a profound impact if he can get going strong.

Edge rushers (4)

Jacob Tuioti-Mariner

Dante Fowler

Adetokunbo Ogundeji

Steven Means

Not much drama in these selections. Ogundeji established himself early and largely maintained quality play, making him a fan favorite during this camp. There's not much to defend by selecting this edge-rushing rotation, which Brandon Copeland (listed as a linebacker) can assist in a pinch.

Linebackers (5)

Foyesade Oluokun

Deion Jones

Mykal Walker

Brandon Copeland

Erroll Thompson

A tough choice comes at the bottom of this depth chart. The first three are locks and Copeland does a ton on the inside, outside and special teams. Both Dorian Etheridge and Erroll Thompson have has solid preseasons while proving worthy of a roster spot. Emmanuel Ellerbee has been good, too, but the position group's impacted. Etheridge might be a flashier choice after paying so well versus Tennessee, but Thompson is the selection here as a powerful player at 254 pounds, far bigger than everyone in the group save Copeland, who can be impactful going downhill. He also started alongside Mykal Walker on Saturday in Miami, possibly a sign he might have a slight edge in the position battle. It must also be said that Etheridge is deserving after two preseason games. This one could go down to the wire, and I reserve the right to change my mind.  

Safeties (4)

Erik Harris

Duron Harmon

Richie Grant

Jaylinn Hawkins

Leaving TJ Green off the roster wasn't easy. He and and Dwayne Johnson have fighting hard for a roster spot, but the numbers didn't work out. Hawkins has been steadier this camp with some flash plays and could make a real jump in Year 2. Richie Grant has a bright future and could find a role as a rookie.

Cornerbacks (6)

A.J. Terrell

Fabian Moreau

Isaiah Oliver

Chris Williamson

Darren Hall

Avery Williams

 This was a tough position group to sort out. Kendall Sheffield doesn't make the cut, with others stepping up while he remains out with injury. Sometimes the timing of an injury is as rough as the ailment itself. That's the case with Sheffield right now. Williamson took his place with a good camp, showing that he can use his ideal size well in coverage. Both draft picks are also sticking around. It's way too early to cut a third-round talent despite a somewhat uneven camp, and I think Hall has potential. Williams will add a spark to the return game right away and could develop into a productive defender.

Specialists (3)

Younghoe Koo

Dom Maggio

Josh Harris

The punter battle between Maggio and Cameron Nizialek has been an odd one, with Maggio only recently starting to work. His original competitor, incumbent Sterling Hofritcher, was waived with an injury. Nizialek has more actual work this camp, but I still think Maggio's the guy and has been all along.

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