Atlanta Falcons

Predicting the Last 5 In, Last 5 out for Atlanta's Final 53-Man Roster

Scott CarasikContributor IIJuly 2, 2014

Predicting the Last 5 In, Last 5 out for Atlanta's Final 53-Man Roster

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    David Goldman/Associated Press

    In reviewing the Atlanta Falcons roster, there are quite a few players who look to be set or highly likely to make the roster based on their fit within the team and their experience on the roster. The last five in on the roster or the last five to just miss the roster will all be a big part of the Falcons' involvement in Hard Knocks.

    The main positions of contention will be based around special teams, the defensive line and nickel or dime cornerback. Atlanta's competitions around the roster will dictate who the last five in and last five out will end up being during training camp.

Out: FB Patrick DiMarco

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    Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    The Falcons don't really use a traditional fullback for more than 200 snaps in a season. Someone like Patrick DiMarco has some value in that role, but he'll have to show he's got the special teams prowess to keep his job as the starter there.

    However, allowing someone like Bear Pascoe or Jacob Pederson to compete at fullback with Roosevelt Nix, Maurice Hagens and Patrick DiMarco could give the Falcons more versatility from the spot. They could roll with an H-back instead of a traditional fullback.

In: FB/TE Jacob Pedersen

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    Matthew Holst/Getty Images

    If there was someone who was going to take the starting fullback role from Patrick DiMarco, it would likely be Roosevelt Nix. However, if the Falcons decide to go with a guy to be that true H-back they wanted when they drafted Bradie Ewing, the right pick is Jacob Pedersen.

    Pedersen is very similar to former Washington tight end Chris Cooley in his build and skill set. Both players are 6'3" and in the 240-250-pound range. And they both are underrated blockers who have good short-to-intermediate route-running abilities.

Out: WR Courtney Roby

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    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    Sure, Courtney Roby was just signed to the current roster. But the final roster spot on offense is going to come down to who is the best all-around special teams player out of Josh Vaughan, Jerome Smith and all of the wide receivers who aren't named Drew Davis, Devin Hester, Harry Douglas, Roddy White or Julio Jones.

    Roby isn't a great all-around special teams player despite being a great returner. The bigger issue comes from his inability to be an impact player at receiver. He's not even played the position during the regular season outside of six snaps in the past three years—total.

In: WR Geraldo Boldewijn

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    Otto Kitsinger/Associated Press

    The one wide receiver who looks like he's going to step up is Brian Finneran clone Geraldo Boldewijn out of Boise State. He's got some of the best hands on the team and could turn into a reliable third-down option as a 6'3", 215-pound possession receiver.

    It's not just his abilities as a receiver that will earn him the final roster spot. He's a solid gunner on the kick and punt units and has the abilities to develop into a core special teams player if the Falcons let him use his safety size and physicality in Kevin Cone's old role.

Out: DL Peria Jerry

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    Rich Addicks/Associated Press

    Peria Jerry is on a hot seat. After the Falcons re-signed Jonathan Babineaux and Corey Peters this offseason to combine with the signings of Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson and the drafting of Ra'Shede Hageman, Jerry finds himself at the bottom of the depth chart.

    The only way it makes sense for Peria Jerry to even make the roster with all these new additions is for Peters to end up on the physically unable to perform list when the season starts. His play declined so much from when he was drafted to now that he's only a rotational player at best.

In: DL Corey Peters

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Corey Peters was one of the Falcons' best defensive linemen from 2010 to 2013. But with additions of Ra'Shede Hageman, Tyson Jackson, Paul Soliai and the re-signing of Jonathan Babineaux, Peters has an uphill climb for playing time.

    Because Peters can play 1-, 3- and 5-technique, he still holds a ton of value in the Falcons defensive scheme. But his recovery from an Achilles injury will be what dictates his playing time in preseason and training camp. If he's healthy, he could potentially start and force Babineaux into a designated pass-rushing role.

Out: CB Javier Arenas

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The Falcons are likely only going to keep five cornerbacks. And between Josh Wilson and Javier Arenas, Wilson has much more value as a core special teams player and not just as a returner. He's also better as a pure cornerback and nickel than Arenas is as well.

    The Falcons need someone who can come in and start if need be, and that's not Arenas. Arenas was at his best when he was nothing more than a nickel corner and return specialist at Alabama. In the NFL, he needs a team that will understand what his best role is and has a spot for him. That team isn't Atlanta.

In: CB Josh Wilson

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    The Falcons needed some more veteran depth at cornerback in 2013 so that they weren't continually playing Robert Alford before he was ready. Now that Alford is pretty much guaranteed to be the starter, the best backup cornerback is one who can play both outside and in the slot.

    Josh Wilson is the best Falcons corner on the roster for that. Robert McClain and Javier Arenas will be his biggest competition for the third cornerback role. McClain has an inside track because of experience in the scheme, but Wilson should easily be able to beat Arenas for the next spot.

Out: S Zeke Motta

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    Reinhold Matay/Associated Press

    This one likely won't be because of Zeke Motta's play on the field. Motta has been a solid fit for coordinator Mike Nolan's defense as a strong safety. But he has to compete with Kemal Ishmael as both a special teams ace and reserve safety at both spots.

    Motta is also dealing with a neck injury that may not be healing properly since he was still inactive at minicamps just a few weeks ago and, according to ESPN's Vaughn McClure, could be out for the season. With William Moore starting and Ishmael's ability to stay healthy, Motta is likely on the outside looking in.

In: S Kemal Ishmael

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    David Goldman/Associated Press

    When it comes to who makes the roster at safety, it's more about special teams than anything else. Kemal Ishmael is a solid strong safety and a great, reliable tackler. However, he will have to compete with Zeke Motta for the primary backup role behind William Moore.

    Ishmael's special teams skills are excellent and should allow him to see more playing time than rookie third-round pick Dezmen Southward on game days with both of them on the roster. Add in an injury to Motta, and Ishmael has the inside track on the final roster spot right now.

     

    All stats used are from Pro Football Focus' Premium Stats (subscription required), ESPN.com, CFBStats or NFL.com. All combine and pro-day info is courtesy of NFLDraftScout.com. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac and Rotoworld.

    Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, college football, the NFL and the NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.

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