The Falcons have major decisions to make with free agency and the NFL draft approaching. Here’s a look at every player on the Falcons roster, with beat writer D. Orlando Ledbetter’s opinion on whether the player should stay or go.
* Finished 2014 season on injured reserve
MATT RYAN: Stay
He had the Falcons within 10 yards of the Super Bowl, but that was when they had a rushing attack and an offensive line. Matty Ice is a keeper.
SEAN RENFREE: Go
The team doesn’t have the luxury of carrying three quarterbacks. He showed some development in the exhibition season, but the team will need this roster spot for the defense.
T.J. YATES: Stay
He knows the offense from his days in Houston and will be a good sounding board for Ryan. He can get you through a tight spot if needed. Potential unrestricted free agent.
DEVONTA FREEMAN: Stay
Was sparingly used as a rookie, with just 65 carries while playing in all 16 games. He could be a good fit in the zone blocking scheme.
JACQUIZZ RODGERS: Go
He’s been dependable, but an upgrade is needed. Over 305 career carries, he’s averaged 3.7 yards per carry. Potential unrestricted free agent.
*ANTONE SMITH: Stay
You have to look at Smith as a big-time special-teams player coming off of knee surgery. He can provide a spark for the offense. Potential unrestricted free agent.
JEROME SMITH: Stay
At 6-foot and 226 pounds, he could be a banger in the new scheme. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry at Syracuse.
STEVEN JACKSON: Go
The new regime respects what he’s done in the league, but it’s time for some younger and fresher legs in the backfield. He’s been injured in each of the past two seasons and hasn’t played all 16 games since 2012.
PATRICK DiMARCO: Go
The new scheme will required a bigger and stronger lead blocker. He’s steady, but is no longer a scheme-fit.
JULIO JONES: Stay
He’s coming off a 104-catch season. It’s ludicrous to even think about trading him, but Jones, who scored only six touchdowns last season, needs to do more in the red zone.
ERIC WEEMS: Stay
He’s still productive on special teams and is pound-for-pound the toughest player on the roster. Potential unrestricted free agent.
DEVIN HESTER: Stay
He caught only 38 of 59 targets (64.4 percent) last season for 504 yards and two touchdowns. Hester is still a dangerous returner.
DREW DAVIS: Go
He’ll find a home elsewhere, but Roddy White’s heir apparent will be drafted and take this slot.
HARRY DOUGLAS: Stay
With Douglas and White over 30, the team will try to upgrade the position. He’s caught 136 of 206 targets (66 percent) over the past two seasons.
RODDY WHITE: Stay
White, 33, didn’t have a 1,000 yards receiving for the second consecutive season. Keep him around to show his replacement how to practice and some tricks of the trade.
LEVINE TOILOLO: Stay
He caught 31 of 54 targets (57.4 percent) for 238 yards and two touchdowns. He’s a mobile and willing blocker.
BEAR PASCOE: Go
He was used exclusively as a blocker. Caught only two passes. Potential unrestricted free agent.
JAMES STONE: Stay
He has the agility to play in the zone blocking schemes. He needs to get stronger.
JUSTIN BLALOCK: Stay
The nine-year vet is no longer a scheme fit, but his cerebral play may allow him to adjust. Never count out the wily veterans.
JONATHAN SCOTT: Go
He’s played one game over the past two seasons and is set to become an unrestricted free agent. Potential unrestricted free agent.
GABE CARIMI: Go
He played with a lot of energy in 2014, but just wasn’t good enough at the point of attack. Potential unrestricted free agent.
HARLAND GUNN: Stay
He’s been a reliable backup over the past three seasons. He’s only 25 and is athletic enough to play in the zone blocking scheme.
JAKE MATTHEWS: Stay
The sixth player taken in the 2014 draft struggled some at left tackle because of injury. Once he recovered, he played well. A big jump in play is expected in 2015.
RYAN SCHRAEDER: Stay
Took over a right tackle and turned in a respectable campaign. The former basketball player has the skills to zone block. Has the nasty temperment to be the next Tyson Clabo.
JON ASAMOAH: Stay
The back injury last season is worrisome, but he fits the new scheme. He was the third-highest graded linemen behind Schrader and Blalock.
*JOE HAWLEY: Stay
The team hopes he recovers from knee surgery. He is built in the Todd McClure mode, who thrived in the zone blocking system under Alex Gibbs.
*PETER KONZ: Stay
There won’t be a happier lineman. A shift to the zone blocking scheme could save his career.
*SAM BAKER: Stay
He had a slow 20-yard shuttle time (4.92) and three-cone time (8.02) on his Pro Day in 2008. He may not fit the new scheme.
*LAMAR HOLMES: Go
He’s been a disappointment since being taken in the third round of the 2012 draft. With the emergence of Schrader and Matthews, he’s expendable if Baker fits.
*MIKE JOHNSON: Stay
He’s battled through injuries since he was taken in third round of the 2010 draft. If the surgeries have not robbed him of his athletic ability, he could help in a role. Potential unrestricted free agent.
OSI UMENYIORA: Stay
This was a tough one, but he was miscast in that designated pass-rusher role. Let the new staff see if they can coax a flashback season out of him. Potential unrestricted free agent.
KROY BIERMANN: Go
The 42nd-ranked defensive end (Pro Football Focus) the league is replaceable. He just is too light to fit the new 4-3 scheme, but could help on special teams and in a backup role. Potential unrestricted free agent.
RA’SHEDE HAGEMAN: Stay
A perfect fit for the scheme. Hopefully the light bulb goes on in his brain that allows him to play 100 percent of the time.
STANSLY MAPONGA: Stay
The fifth-round pick in 2013 is intriguing. He’s showed some pass-rush ability at TCU. Perhaps coach Dan Quinn, a defensive line coach by trade, can get him rolling.
COREY PETERS: Stay
If he hits the open market some team will pay him good cash. He played on a home-team discount while coming back from Achilles surgery last season. Potential unrestricted free agent.
MALLICIAH GOODMAN: Go
Played 594 snaps last season and didn’t register a sack. The 54th-rated defensive end in 2014 is replaceable.
JONATHAN MASSAQUOI: Stay
He’s flashed some pass-rush ability and may flourish under a less restrictive regime that embraces the uniqueness of the players. Must be on time for meetings.
JONATHAN BABINEAUX: Stay
He could move back to under tackle next to Soliai and be a force. Babineaux can still help in a rotation situation.
PAUL SOLIAI: Stay
He can slide over to nose tackle, which was Grady Jackson’s spot in the Falcons’ old 4-3. He could be a force. He played 519 snaps last year.
CLIFF MATTHEWS: Go
He’s a steady special-teamer, but with the team trying to upgrade the position he’ll have to go. Potential unrestricted free agent.
TYSON JACKSON: Go
Where does he fit in the new defense? He’s been a 3-4 end, but has not distinguished himself.
*MARQUIS SPRUILL: Stay
Former coach Mike Smith raved about his recovery from a knee injury. He has the speed that the new regime covets.
*SEAN WEATHERSPOON: Stay
Once the team is comfortable with his recovery from Achilles surgery, they could offer a modest make-good deal. The former first-round pick was close to playing at a Pro Bowl level before injuries took over in 2013. Potential unrestricted free agent.
NATE STUPAR: Go
He’s a solid special-teamer. The fleet of linebackers need to be upgraded.
PRINCE SHEMBO: Stay
He could benefit from a move to outside linebacker, his college position. He performed well while playing out of position inside last season.
TYLER STARR: Go
The experiment should end. He didn’t make enough progress last season, and he’s too small for the new scheme.
PAUL WORRILOW: Stay
Stepped up to lead the defense in tackles over the past two seasons. He called the signal last year, but may be too slow for the new regime.
JOPLO BARTU: Stay
Has the speed that the new coaches covet. He could benefit to a move to weakside linebacker.
*ROBERT ALFORD: Stay
He’s coming back from a broken wrist, but showed some promised last season. There are still some rough edges that need to be worked on.
DWIGHT LOWERY: Stay
Team got him on the cheap last season. He’ll want to maximize his leverage and may get more on the open market. Potential unrestricted free agent.
DESMOND TRUFANT: Stay
Was the top0ranked player on the defense and was named to the PFWA all-NFC team alongside Richard Sherman. New coaches will like that he’s tough against the run, too.
JOSH WILSON: Go
The new regime likes bigger cornerbacks. The former second-round pick of Seattle was one of the first players replaced by Pete Carroll when he was traded to Baltimore for a conditional pick in August 2010. Potential unrestricted free agent.
ROBERT McCLAIN: Go
Another smallish corner who no longer is a scheme fit. A fierce competitor will find a home on another roster. Potential unrestricted free agent.
*WILLIAM MOORE: Stay
He could help lead the revival of the defense. He’ll have to play the Kam Chancellor (of the Seahawks) role as the big-hitter in the secondary.
JAVIER ARENAS: Go
He lost the competition at nickel back and basically was insurance last season. This could be the end of the road for the former high draft pick. Potential unrestricted free agent.
SEAN BAKER: Go
He spent most of the season on the practice squad, but was forced to play after a rash of injuries.
CHARLES GODFREY: Go
The classy veteran was insurance last season. He’s a free agent and expected to look elsewhere for a deal. Potential unrestricted free agent.
KEMAL ISHMAEL: Stay
Battled through the highs and lows of last season while showing some promise. New coaches will be impressed with his ball skills.
RICARDO ALLEN: Go
Big and physical tackler in college, but he’s only 5-9 and 187 pounds. He doesn’t fit, you must acquit.
DEZMEN SOUTHWARD: Go
The new staff will love his size (6-0, 211) and speed (4.35 at his Pro Day). He’ll get first shot at the free safety spot, but will his instincts be good enough for him to excel.
MATT BRYANT: Stay
Team has to find some cash for the clutch kicker, who could become a free agent. He does turn 40 in May. Potential unrestricted free agent.
MATT BOSHER: Stay
He was signed to a contract extension last season. His touchbacks on kickoffs are valuable along with his directional punting.
JOSH HARRIS: Stay
Long snappers are to be seen and not heard. We haven’t heard from Harris. That means that he’s doing his job.
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