Falcons keep Josh Rosen, Feleipe Franks in cutdown to 53-man roster

Falcons head coach Arthur Smith confers with backup quarterback Josh Rosen as they prepare to play the Cleveland Browns the final exhibition game of the preseason Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

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Falcons head coach Arthur Smith confers with backup quarterback Josh Rosen as they prepare to play the Cleveland Browns the final exhibition game of the preseason Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

The Falcons kept quarterbacks Josh Rosen and Feleipe Franks in their initial cutdown to the 53-man roster Tuesday.

ExploreSee the Falcons' 53-man depth chart

The team is looking for a backup quarterback to Matt Ryan after the retirement of Matt Schaub and the season-ending injury to AJ McCarron in the exhibition season.

Also, Cameron Nizialek, who played at Columbia and Georgia, won the punting competition as Dom Maggio was waived injured.

Rosen, who was the 10th pick in the 2018 draft, was signed Aug. 24. He played the second half against Cleveland on Sunday and completed 9 of 18 passes for 118 yards and touchdown. Franks, an undrafted rookie from Florida and Arkansas, showed the ability to extend plays.

Undrafted rookie linebacker Dorian Etheridge made the initial roster.

Under general manager Terry Fontenot and coach Arthur Smith, the Falcons have repeatedly started that the roster would be fluid throughout the season. They have the fourth position on the waiver wire and plan to make claims if they can improve the roster.

“We’ll monitor everything all week,” Smith said. “Really, nothing is final until we got into late next week when we (start) getting ready for Philly.”

Here are the players who were released Tuesday:

CB Delrick Abrams - Waived

DL Eli Ankou - Terminated, Vested Veteran

OL Willie Beavers - Waived

WR Trevor Davis - Terminated, Vested Veteran

DL Zac Dawe - Waived

ILB Emmanuel Ellerbee - Waived

RB D’Onta Foreman - Terminated, Vested Veteran

OL Matt Gono - Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform

WR Juwan Green - Waived

TE Parker Hesse - Reserve/COVID-19

RB Caleb Huntley - Waived

S Dwayne Johnson - Waived

OLB Kobe Jones - Waived

OL Sam Jones - Waived

P Dom Maggio - Waived/Injured

OL Ryan Neuzil - Waived

WR Antonio Nunn - Waived

S JR Pace - Waived

TE John Raine - Waived

WR Chris Rowland - Waived

OL Joe Sculthorpe - Waived

OLB Tuzar Skipper - Waived

DL Chris Slayton - Waived

OL Kion Smith - Waived

ILB Erroll Thompson - Waived

TE David Wells - Waived

CB Chris Williamson - Waived

Huntley and Pace are local players. Huntley played at Locust Grove High and Ball State, while Pace played at Woodward Academy and Northwestern.

Rowland played at Tennessee State. Rowland was signed in 2020 and spent most of the season on the Falcons’ practice squad. He was called up to the 53-man roster for the final two games last season.

Rowland had a target and played 27 offensive snaps (50%) and five special-teams snaps (19%) against the Titans in the opening exhibition game. He had a punt return for 12 yards and two kickoff returns for 34 yards.

Against Miami in the second exhibition game, he played 20 offensive snaps (39%) and nine on special teams (39%). He had a punt return for 4 yards and a kickoff return of 16 yards.

In the final game against the Browns, he played 16 offensive snaps (29%) and 2 special teams snaps (11%).

He essentially was competing with Avery Williams for the punt return job.

Rowland, who’s 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, was the 2019 Black College Football player of the year and received his award during the Black College Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony Feb. 15, 2020, in Atlanta.

While at Tennessee State, Rowland set an HBCU record with 104 receptions in 2019, eclipsing the mark of 103 set by Mississippi Valley State’s Jerry Rice in 1984.

Ankou, who’s 6-foot-3 and 325 pounds, played at UCLA. He played 19 defensive snaps (24%) in the 19-10 loss to the Browns on Sunday. Dawe played 21 defensive snaps (27%) against the Browns.

Dawe, who played at Brigham Young, was signed as an undrafted rookie after the 2021 draft.

Here’s the 53-man roster:

QUARTERBACKS (3)

Feleipe Franks

Josh Rosen

Matt Ryan

DEFENSIVE LINE (6)

Jonathan Bullard

John Cominsky

Marlon Davidson

Ta’Quon Graham

Grady Jarrett

RUNNING BACKS (4)

Mike Davis

Qadree Ollison

Cordarrelle Patterson

Keith Smith

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (5)

Brandon Copeland

Dante Fowler Jr.

Steven Means

Adetokunbo Ogundeji

Jacob Tuioti-Mariner

WIDE RECEIVERS (6)

Christian Blake

Frank Darby

Russell Gage

Calvin Ridley

Tajae Sharpe

Olamide Zaccheaus

INSIDE LINEBACKERS (4)

Dorian Etheridge

Deion Jones

Foyesade Oluokun

Mykal Walker

TIGHT ENDS (3)

Hayden Hurst

Kyle Pitts

Lee Smith

DEFENSIVE BACKS (11)

Richie Grant

T.J. Green

Darren Hall

Duron Harmon

Erik Harris

Jaylinn Hawkins

Fabian Moreau

Isaiah Oliver

Kendall Sheffield

A..J. Terrell

Avery Williams

OFFENSIVE LINE (8)

Josh Andrews

Drew Dalman

Matt Hennessy

Chris Lindstrom

Jake Matthews

Jalen Mayfield

Kaleb McGary

Jason Spriggs

SPECIALISTS (3)

Josh Harris

Younghoe Koo

Cameron Nizialek

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