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Old 27.08.2014, 04:18 PM
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Default Your final 53...

It's nearly that time of year again... Falcons Week 1 again... uh-oh! Just wondering what y'all were thinking after training camp and pre-season as far as your final 53 goes? Obviously Thursday night is going to be a big game for some players but more of that in the notes below.

So, here goes:

Offense (23):

QB: Brees, Griffin. (2)

I like what I've seen from Griffin in pre-season. Not afraid to air it out and definitely knows how to play in a pro-style offense and call the shots. It's no knock on McCown. I just reckon we start to look to the future now and only carry two QBs. Let's face it - if Brees goes down the year is pretty much done anyway. So with that in mind, I'm saying Griffin will benefit from being active on gameday this season with a view to being the heir-apparent in a few years time. McCown is on speed dial incase either go down during the season.

HB: Ingram, Thomas, Robinson, Cadet. (4)

Pick themselves really. Think Ingram is primed for a massive year this year. His knee/feet seem fully healed up and he's finally looking like that lights out all-purpose RB that everyone saw tearing it up in Tuscaloosa. Really pumped just from pre-season this year and the fact that Payton's actually leaving him on passing downs this year. His pass protection is actually pretty stout and it makes the offense so much less predictable when we start throwing the football with Ingram back there. Pierre Thomas is Pierre Thomas, such a great asset to have in the backfield. Robinson is there for the hard yards. And I'm not that taken by Cadet but he makes the roster for his versatility of being able to play RB, split out wide and also do a job on special teams and in the return game. Useful player to have on the roster. Strozier goes to the practice squad as an intriguing long term prospect.

FB: Johnson. (1)

I like Johnson. Very similar to Collins but may turn out to be an even better run blocker. Obviously Lorig was brought in to be an out and out run blocker but it just hasn't happened for him. Maybe he goes onto the IR designated to return. But with Johnson I've always liked what I've seen for him at FB and all told he could have pipped Collins last year. But another year wiser I think he'll do a good job and the Saints won't miss a beat in a position that I think may well see more snaps this year than it ever has in a Payton-offense.

WR: Colston, Stills, Cooks, Meachem, Morgan. (5)

Another easy call for me. The time is up for Nicky Toon in my opinion. Just hasn't shown enough in game situations to be kept. Meachem will be there for his run blocking and the fact he knows the scheme inside out. Fast Joe Morgan has out-performed Toon in all facets as well. Colston, Stills and Cooks are automatic. Toon may well end up on the practice squad, but maybe he's just cut all together. Fully expect the big dog out of Valdosta State Seantavious Jones to go on the PS. And maybe Coleman as well, even though he's looked a little bit ungainly at times his size makes him an intriguing prospect.

TE: Graham, Watson, Hill. (3)

No change here. Hill has looked strong this pre-season as well. Seems to have got a bit leaner and seems much quicker and more agile. (Whether we need another TE like that is open for debate but still - I like the look of him in the passing game). Nic Jacobs is an interesting project with good size to be a potential all round TE. I reckon he gets stashed on the PS. It's all about Jimmy this year for me though. Hopefully fully healthy and ready to run riot all the way to Arizona. He won't get a better match-up this season than going up against the rag-tag bunch of streetballers that Atlanta call their LB corps and a safety with the coverage capabilities of "Willie Mo". I'm expecting big things right out of the gate. Count it.

T: Strief, Armstead, Harris. (3)

Same unit that finished last season at tackle. Strief has developed into an incrediblely solid contributor week in week out. Also, even though I disagreed with the way Payton axed Charlie Brown three days before we went up against Greg Hardy (the player Brown had his best game of the season a couple of weeks beforehand), I've got to say that it's paid off well in the long run (the fact it cost us that match-up aside!). The potential for Armstead to become a top tackle in the NFL is there and he could literally redefine the position on swing and screen plays. Very excited about what he can produce. Harris in there as solid depth as always. Rooks goes onto the PS really just be virtue of being a draft pick as I haven't seen anything out of him at all to be honest.

G: Evans, Grubbs, Kelemete. (3)

First slight shock of the write-up here. (If debating over a third-string guard can be classed as shocking!?). But I go for Kelemete over Marcel Jones. I've liked what I've seen from Kelemete and he's generally graded out well in the pre-season so far. Especially up against St Louis. It's a bit of a coin flip between him and Jones but I think Jones has generally been regressing all pre-season and had a poor game against the Colts. Ride the hot-hand and go with Kelemete. Marcel Jones should still be PS eligible so you keep him on there if anyone goes down.

C: Goodwin, Lelito (2)

A good battle between the two but I think deep down everyone knew Goody was going to win out. Lelito provides great depth at center and guard though.
Ok... there's a character limit. Defense and ST coming up in the next post!

Last edited by WhoDatSay; 27.08.2014 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 27.08.2014, 04:19 PM
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Defense (27):

DE: Jordan, Hicks, Walker, Foster. (4)

Great collection of DEs here. Massive fan of all four. Rob Ryan loves switching up the personnel on D and having four DEs who are equally strong rushing the passer or stopping the run allows him to do that. I expect all four to get a solid number of snaps this year with Jordan and Hicks obviously getting the lions share. When you think that all four of these boys are still on their rookie contracts and two of them are UDFAs it really shows what a good job the front office has done. (And obviously highlights how important it is to get Jordan's contract sealed up for the long term next off season!)

DT/NT: Bunkley, Jenkins, Deaderick. (3)

Bunkley and Jenkins have both proven their worth. Deaderick is good experienced depth and can also switch across to DE in a 3-4 if needed. Have been impressed with him in pre-season... Roll damn Tide etc!

OLB: Galette, Haralson, Dawson, Powell, Edebali (5)

Nothing needs to be said about Junior. Legend! Haralson and Dawson carry on the jobs they were doing last season with Haralson playing most of the early downs and Killer Keyunta in on pass-rush situations. Ronald Powell out of Florida has really shone for me, especially against Indy. Obviously the potential was always there all the way from high school, and athletically he has all the tools to be a great linebacker. The knock on him was obviously staying healthy and actually having the brains to identify plays and react quickly enough on the field. I've been pleasantly surprised so far as he seems to have a real nose for the ball and is always making plays. Definitely makes the 53 for me and hopefully he can stay healthy. I expect Khairi Fortt is heading to PUP/IR. After that I reckon Edebali is the other backer I've been impressed with and reckon he sneaks onto the roster this year. What's not to like about a German Bostonian?! Galette seems to be taking him under his wing as well which has to be a good thing for his future development... as long as he doesn't take over Edebali's Twitter account as well!

ILB: Lofton, Hawthorne, Humber, Knox. (4)

Only four ILBs here (and nine LBs total) as with Rob Ryan, although the base defense is a "3-4", a lot of the time there are only actually three backers in at any one time (with a roving safety filling the other spot) so no need for 10 linebackers on the 53 in my opinion. Lofton and Hawthorne continue to start, but I reckon Ramon Humber is really breathing down their necks for playing time this year. Kyle Knox is an excellent depth linebacker who I was surprised didn't crack the Seattle 53 last season (although that is a pretty strong front seven to try and crack to be fair). Was puped when the Saints picked him up midway through last season. I like Knox as an outside rusher as much as I do on the inside, where the Saints seem to be playing him in pre-season. He's set to be a special teams standout early doors but I expect to see him work his way in there for a fair few snaps as well come the regular season.

CB: Lewis, Robinson, Bailey, White, Baptiste, Wade. (6)

First four are locks. Be interesting to see who gets the starting gig alongside "West Bank" Keenan Lewis. I'm leaning with Robinson for now. Will be a big first few weeks for him as Bailey will no doubt be breathing down his neck. Nice to not have Corey White as next man up for starting corner though. As good as he is playing the nickel/dime he really seems to struggle on the outside so very happy with the Bailey pick up for depth. Baptiste is obviously a project but he'll make the 53. Haven't been that impressed with him so far but luckily we don't draft rookie cornerbacks to start unlike another certain NFC South franchise! Hopefully he can learn a lot from this unit, get a bit of special teams work in and develop into the press outside corner that we know he can be for 2015. Trevin Wade is in purely as a special teams gunner and occasional situational blitzer from the slot as he's very quick off the snap doing that. Another corner I like the look of potential-wise is Brian Dixon. Too early for him this season but I reckon he makes the practice squad.

FS: Byrd, Bush. (2)

Obviously Byrd and Bush make the roster. So pleased we matched the RFA tender on Bush... even more so considering it was the Falcons and then looking at their safeties! The odd man out here is Jacksonville State standout UDFA Pierre Warren. He's absolutely balled out all pre-season and in camp. It really is a toss up between him and Trevin Wade for that special teams role really. But I just reckon Wade's experience takes the spot and the Saints try and sneak Warren onto the practice squad as well. Still, Thursday against the Ravens will be big time for both of these guys in working out who gets the spot.

SS: Vacarro, Sunseri, Ball. (3)

Kenny Vacarro is looking in mid-season form already. Thought the injury might set him back but he looks better than ever. Really pumped to see what he can do another year down the line in this defense. Add in another hard-hitting strong safety out of Alabama to replace the Silver Fox Roman Harper and we don't miss a beat. Marcus "Street" Ball is my wildcard pick. Apparantely tore it up in Canada last year and from what I've seen he looks capable of turning up on the field at NFL level as well. The only thing that could de-rail him is injury. He obviously sat out against Indy and hasn't practiced since. Hoping to see him on the field on Thursday to cement his place. Otherwise Warren could find his way in as the fifth safety after all. But I'd like to see Ball in there. Ball also played linebacker in college so can double up as LB depth as well in a pinch which is another plus.

Special Teams (3):

K/P: Graham/Morstead. (2)

Dimke was good competition but Graham wins out with his experience. I'm happy with Graham. Really smooth kicking stroke. Payton just needs to realise his limitations from distance and not kick him anything over about 48. Payton likes an excuse for going for it on fourth and this can be it!

LS: Drescher. (1)

Had to think long and hard over this one


--------------

Boom! That's my 53! Thoughts? Who are you guys pulling for? Can't wait to show these Falcons what toughness really is come Week 1!

WHO DAT!
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