Tabeek's roster predictions: Falcons cornerbacks

Several positions are up for grabs but here's an early guess at how the Atlanta Falcons' 53-man roster could look heading into 2020

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here belong to Matthew Tabeek and not the Atlanta Falcons, unless noted otherwise.

One of the Atlanta Falcons' top priorities heading into the offseason was to upgrade the defense. In case you need a refresher, just remember these four rankings – 19, 22, 22 and 29 – that's where the Falcons ranked (in order) in turnover differential, passing defense, scoring defense and in sacks.

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Four of the Falcons' six draft picks in April's NFL Draft were on the defensive side of the ball and they also went out and signed several free agents on that side of the ball, including edge rusher Dante Fowler and cornerback Darqueze Dennard.

OVERVIEW

Looking the part: Rookie cornerback A.J. Terrell has made his presence known by making plays in just about every practice since training camp kicked off. The former Clemson standout certainly looks worthy of the No. 16 overall pick and is playing with a lot of confidence and swagger.

Experience helps: The No. 1 concern heading into the draft was secondary and coming out of the draft, many questioned whether the Falcons were still too young and inexperienced back there. While Terrell has quelled much of the concerns with his play on the field, the Falcons went out and added some much-needed depth and experience by bringing in former Bengals cornerback and first-round pick Darqueze Dennard.

Steady improvement: There's been a lot of on-the-job learning for Isaiah Oliver and the good news is that he keeps improving. Just like this time last year, Oliver once again looks more confident in camp and is making plays. The difference heading into 2020 is the experience and he's also had the benefit of working under new secondary coach Joe Whitt and defensive coordinator Raheem Morris for an entire offseason, too.

RECENT HISTORY

Here are the number of cornerbacks the Falcons have kept in previous seasons on the initial roster:

LOCKS

Here are the players who I think are locks to make the team (i.e., starters and key reserves) unless something unforeseen should happen (listed in alphabetical order):

  • Darqueze Dennard
  • Isaiah Oliver
  • Kendall Sheffield
  • A.J. Terrell
  • Blidi Wreh-Wilson

ON THE BUBBLE

Here are the players who I think are still in the mix to make the team, could land on the practice squad or will be released (listed in alphabetical order):

  • Delrick Abrams
  • Tyler Hall
  • Josh Hawkins
  • Jordan Miller

PREDICTION

  • 2020 roster forecast: 6 cornerbacks

Tabeek's Take: One battle to keep a close eye on during the final days of camp will be between Josh Hawkins and Jordan Miller. Right now I'm giving the edge to Hawkins. It's clear that A.J. Terrell and Isaiah Oliver will man the outside spots while, for now, I can see both Darqueze Dennard and Kendall Sheffield primarily lining up inside. Barring any unforeseen injuries, a trade or an opportunity to upgrade the position because of another team's roster move (which is always possible in late August), I don't expect any major shake-ups here and for the Falcons to once again carry six cornerbacks in 2020 (listed in alphabetical order):

  • Darqueze Dennard
  • Josh Hawkins
  • Isaiah Oliver
  • Kendall Sheffield
  • A.J. Terrell
  • Blidi Wreh-Wilson

PREDICTING THE 53-MAN ROSTER

A look into the 2020 cornerback battle. The views and opinions represented here and in the corresponding article belong to Matthew Tabeek and not the Atlanta Falcons, unless noted otherwise.

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WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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