Falcons cut down to 53-man roster

The Falcons trimmed to their 53-man roster, but they are closely watching the waiver wire for cornerbacks and offensive linemen.

“Today is an important day for us to keep evaluating through the roster,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said on Saturday. “We will continue to dig throughout the weekend. Thomas (Dimitroff) and I are still going through some film together.”

In addition to monitoring the other cuts from around the league, the Falcons can sign 10-players to the practice squad.

“The versatility has been a really important aspect that we are looking at, not only from our own team that we are evaluating,” Dimitroff said. “We are always looking to improve our depth.”

The Falcons placed cornerbacks Akeem King (foot) and DeMarcus Van Dyke (concussion) on injured reserve.

The team also reached an injury settlement with running back Brandon Wilds, while linebacker Tyler Starr was waived/injured.

Cornerback Jalen Collins, who’s suspended for the first four games for using performance enhancing drugs, was placed on the reserve suspended list.

To get to 53, the Falcons waived defensive tackle Joey Mbu, wide receiver J.D. McKissic, safety Sharrod Neasman, quarterback Matt Simms and tight end D.J. Tialavea.

“Obviously, there were some tough decisions,” Dimitroff said. “What is really interesting about this group was not only was it on-the-field skills that we were looking for of course, which is of most importance, but the brotherhood side that Dan continues to press on with these guys … Brotherhood, team and family is huge.”

C.J. Goodwin, a converted wide receiver, made the roster at cornerback.

Goodwin, 26, is a former college basketball player, who played just two seasons of college football at the Division II level.

He was granted a tryout by the Pittsburgh Steelers in June 2014 and was later added to the 90-man roster on Aug. 31, 2014. He spent the 2104 season on Pittsburgh’s practice squad before being released on Aug. 31, 2015.

The Falcons signed Goodwin as a wide receiver to the practice squad on Nov. 13, 2015.

Late in Quinn’s first season, the Falcons had Goodwin line up against All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones. Goodwin, who’s 6 feet 3 and 190 pounds, turned a few heads.

“I love the length that he can play at the line of scrimmage and the ball skills,” Quinn said. “That’s really what allowed the transition to take place.”

In a surprise move, veteran wide receiver Nick Williams was kept over McKissic, who was among the most productive players of the exhibition season.

“Both Nick and J.D. have totally battled for it through the competition,” Quinn said. “It was a very tough decision to make regarding those two. It could have gone either way. One had more versatility on offense. One maybe on special teams. It was a great battle.”

Defensive tackle Courtney Upshaw, a converted linebacker, made the initial roster.

“Really, it’s that position flexibility,” Quinn said. “Here’s a guy who’s still learning. He’s has very good quickness for a big guy.”

The Falcons elected to keep just two quarterbacks — Matt Ryan and Matt Schaub — when they released Simms. Sean Renfree, last season’s backup, was released on the cutdown to 75 players.

The Falcons elected to keep four tight ends with third-round pick Austin Hooper and undrafted rookie Joshua Perkins making the cut along with veterans Jacob Tamme and Levine Toilolo.

“It was really just the way the young guys battled their way into the mix,” Quinn said. “It was a real credit to (tight end coach) Wade (Harman) to help get those guys available and ready.”

Several of the released players will be signed to the practice squad.

“It’s a real chance to develop some guys and bring them forward,” Quinn said. “(Guard) Ben Garland is a shining example of that. He came in on the practice squad last year from Denver.”

While more moves are expected, here’s the initial 53-man roster:



WR 11 Julio Jones,16 Justin Hardy, 14 Eric Weems

LT 70 Jake Matthews, 76 Tom Compton

LG 67 Andy Levitre, 71 Wes Schweitzer

C 51 Alex Mack, 63 Ben Garland

RG 65 Chris Chester, 68 Mike Person

RT 73 Ryan Schraeder

TE 83 Jacob Tamme, 81 Austin Hooper, 80 Levine Toilolo,, 82 Joshua Perkins

WR 12 Mohamed Sanu,19 Aldrick Robinson,15 Nick Williams

QB 2 Matt Ryan, 8 Matt Schaub

RB 24 Devonta Freeman, 26 Tevin Coleman, 28 Terron Ward

FB 42 Patrick DiMarco


DE 99 Adrian Clayborn, 50 Brooks Reed, 93 Dwight Freeney

DT 94 Tyson Jackson , 95 Jonathan Babineaux

DT 97 Grady Jarrett, 91 Courtney Upshaw

DE 90 Derrick Shelby, 77 Ra’Shede Hageman

LB 44 Vic Beasley Jr., 41 Philip Wheeler

LB 55 Paul Worrilow, 45 Deion Jones, 53 LaRoy Reynolds

LB 56 Sean Weatherspoon, 59 De’Vondre Campbell

CB 23 Robert Alford, 29 C.J. Goodwin

CB 21 Desmond Trufant, 34 Brian Poole

S 37 Ricardo Allen, 27 Robenson Therezie

S 22 Keanu Neal, 36 Kemal Ishmael, 38 Dashon Goldson


K 3 Matt Bryant

KO 5 Matt Bosher

P 5 Matt Bosher

KR 26 Tevin Coleman,14 Eric Weems

PR 14 Eric Weems, 16 Justin Hardy, 15 Nick Williams

LS 47 Josh Harris

H 5 Matt Bosher