What to make of the Wayne Gallman signing, Qadree Ollison cut

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Atlanta Falcons running back Qadree Ollison #30 during joint practice with the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday August 18, 2021. (Photo by )

We have a shakeup in the running back room.

The Falcons are brining Wayne Gallman Jr. from the outside, signing him to the 53-man roster on Thursday, at the expense of someone who has been around a little while.

Qadree Ollison was waived in a corresponding move as the Falcons try to fortify their depth behind feature back Mike Davis and do-it-all runner Cordarrelle Patterson.

Before we delve further into Gallman's resume and discuss why Ollison didn't work out, let's address a central point. These are the types of moves Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith are going to make. They're going to take any chance they see to make an upgrade, even if it's minor. They're going to tinker and try to find diamonds in the rough. It's about being smart and aggressive on the open market in an attempt to add depth to a relatively thin squad.

Now, on to the running backs.

Gallman played for the New York Giants the past four seasons, with his best season coming in 2020. He had 147 carries for 682 yards and six touchdowns, good enough for a 4.6-yard average.

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The Clemson product signed with the 49ers this offseason but got cut by them this week. The Falcons pounced on a quality reserve who saw increased opportunity with the Giants after Saquon Barkley went down.

The Loganville, Ga. native stands six feet and 210 pounds and uses a tough, physical rushing style that could meld well with Arthur Smith's offense.

Adding him means saying goodbye to Ollison, a Falcons fifth-round NFL Draft pick in 2019. He totaled just 23 regular season carries for 53 yards over two years in Atlanta, though he had four touchdowns as a rookie. His opportunities were relatively sparse during the Dan Quinn era, where that staff consistently chose other rushing options which included names like Brian Hill and Ito Smith. Ollison was often a healthy scratch most game days.

He was never able to find a good rhythm this preseason, slowed some by an undisclosed injury in the middle of camp. He still made the 53-man roster over Caleb Huntley and D'Onta Foreman, who were waived and signed to the practice squad, where they remain. It's hard to say he made a great impression once he got healthy, and was only so-so in 2021 preseason games.

Gallman has a week-plus to learn the offense and prepare for carries in the regular-season opener against Philadelphia on Sept. 12. Davis will take most of the carries, but there's an opportunity to earn a role in the Falcons backfield.

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2021 Uniform Schedule

Click below to view the jerseys the Falcons will rep during each regular season game in 2021!

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