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Falcons

Joyces’s Atlanta Falcons Roster Predictions: Linebackers

Photo: Thomson200- https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/deed.en

 

The Atlanta Falcons, along with the rest of the NFL, will have to finalize their 53-Man rosters by Saturday September 5 at 4 p.m. ET. This means that many of the players fighting for a roster spot will be sent home or signed to the practice squad after clearing waivers. In this series, I will do a breakdown of each of the Falcons positions and what they may look like entering the September 5 deadline.

For more content:

Predictions for final cuts: QB [2] | RB [5] | WR [6] | TE [3] | OL [9] | DL [9] | LB [5] | DB [6] | S [4] | SPT [3]

Above you find all the final roster projections for the upcoming final cut to be made on September 5. Here let’s take a look at the Linebackers:

First and foremost, let’s get the star out of the way. When healthy, Deion Jones is one of the best linebackers in football. Jones’ speed and athleticism make him a true sideline to sideline linebacker and he has good coverage instincts as noted by his interceptions. When he’s on the field Atlanta’s defense looks a lot better as Jones plays the proverbial quarterback role of the defense. Despite a down year in 2019, at least for the first half, fans should be excited about the star linebacker commanding the defense.

Budding star:

When Deion Jones when down with a foot injury in 2018, Atlanta turned to sixth-round pick Foye Oluokun, and he didn’t disappoint. Atlanta desperately needed someone to step up as Jones went down and Duke Riley didn’t pan out in the lineup. All Oluokun did was finish third in the NFL in tackle rate recording a tackle in 17.6 percent of his snaps. Needless to say, Oluokun was an absolute steal in a draft that also produced linebackers Darius Leonard (Colts) and Leighton Vander Esch (Cowboys). He finished seventh on the team last year in tackles, but with the departure of De’vondre Campbell, the Falcons need Foye to step up with a lot of new faces in the room.

Unfamiliar faces:

After Deion Jones and Foye Oluokun, the rest of the faces may seem like unknowns. However, there are two names to keep your eye on. Former first-round pick Deone Bucannon was added on a one-year deal. Although he didn’t pan out in Arizona, he has the versatility to be a solid depth linebacker and box safety. Atlanta did well to bring him in. The guy I believe will take over as the third starting linebacker is 2020 fourth-round pick Mykal Walker out of Fresno State. Walker showcases the athleticism it takes to shine in the league and has made some acrobatic interceptions in camp, but he has a lot to prove as a fourth-round pick.

History:

These are the number of linebackers the Falcons have kept in the past:

  • 2017: six linebackers
  • 2018: six linebackers
  • 2019: six linebackers

Guarantees:

These are the players I believe will are locks to make the roster:

  • Deion Jones
  • Foyesade Oluokun
  • Mykal Walker
  • Deone Bucannon

Fighting for a Spot:

Here are the final couple guys battling for the roster:

  • LaRoy Reynolds
  • Edmond Robinson

Final Projection:

I believe the Falcons go the route of five linebackers to begin the season. That being said, I do believe the Falcons will reevaluate this decision once cuts come out, but for now here’s who I like to make the roster:

  • Deion Jones
  • Foyesade Oluokun
  • Mykal Walker
  • Deone Bucannon
  • LaRoy Reynolds
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