Yesterday we discussed our predictions on who will make the team at QB and RB, now we move forward with the receivers and tight ends.
Who Will Make The Team: Tony Gonzalez, Chase Coffman, Levine Toilolo
Who Will Be Cut: Andrew Szczerba
Chase Coffman has emerged as the back up to Tony Gonzalez in training camp and during preseason play this year. In three preseason games he has seven receptions for 66 yards, and has gotten the majority of snaps amongst his backup counterparts. Therefore, it would appear that Coffman is a lock for the 53 man roster, and the number two tight end.
Levine Toilolo and Andrew Szczerba haven't done anything thus far in the preseason to warrant consideration. Neither one of these players has recorded a single catch in all three preseason games. Most NFL teams want at least three tight ends on the 53 man roster, so it would appear one of them will make the squad.
At the moment, it would appear that Toilolo will be the one to make the team out of these two. While having good hands as a tight end is important, being able to block is also a factor. So far Toilolo has been the better blocker, despite Szczerba having more NFL experience.
Who Will Be Cut: Martel Moore, James Rodgers
Wide receiver has been one of the few pleasant surprises for the Atlanta Falcons this year. While we are accustomed to the great Roddy White and Julio Jones, and the solid Harry Douglas, a number of receivers have made an impression on us in training camp and in preseason games.
Darius Johnson has had the best preseason of any of these backup players and has gone from virtual unknown heading into training camp to arguably becoming the Falcons 4th WR. Regardless of what happens against Jacksonville he's more than likely to become a member of the team.
Johnson has 13 catches for 139 yards and 1 touchdown in three preseason games. He's been spectacular at getting open, breaking tackles and using his speed to be an effective receiver for the Falcons. Standing at only 5'10 and weighing 175 pounds, Jackson probably won't be a number one or two receiver, but he's got the perfect makeup for a slot receiver. The speedy rookie has done more than enough to prove himself to Coach Mike Smith and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter that he absolutely deserves a spot on this team after his great play thus far in the preseason.
Drew Davis has also put up good numbers this preseason with six catches for 98 yards. He didn't record a catch in last week's game against Tennessee, but his impressive training camp, and the two games prior to last week's game should be more than enough to secure a spot for Davis on the team.
Kevin Cone is the biggest, and arguably, the most physical player out of the back up wide outs, but has not had as good a preseason as Johnson or Davis. He only has two catches for 36 yards in the preseason. In our visits to training camp, he seemed to be doing a good job in receiving drills and particularly in the one on one corner vs. receiver drills. That success hasn't translated to the field really this year, but the Falcons have used him in special teams before. This could be the key to him making the team, his special teams contributions. Despite his miniscule numbers he's put up so far, he will still probably get a roster spot.
Despite the fact that Martel Moore was having a really good camp, he hasn't gotten a shot in any preseason game, and doesn't even have one single target on a receiving play. Moore has no NFL experience.
James Rodgers only has two catches for nine yards and has virtually no NFL experience either. Due to the two of them getting very limited playing time, it appears that they are the odd men out, and Kevin Cone's experience will win the final spot.
For Moore and Rodgers, it appears that they may be the final two cut on the receiving corps.
What are your predictions for the tight end race? Let us know in the comments section.
Here is how our projected roster is shaping up so far:
QB- Matt Ryan, Dominique Davis
RB- Steven Jackson, Jacquizz Rodgers, Jason Snelling, Antone Smith
TE- Tony Gonzalez, Chase Coffman, Andrew Szczerba
Tomorrow, we will cover the much maligned offensive line and defensive line.
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