5 Atlanta Falcons on the Roster Bubble - Falcons Podcast

On the Falcons Podcast, we took a look at five Atlanta Falcons veterans battling for roster spots at training camp.
Former Atlanta Falcons second-round pick Richie Grant struggled in 2023.
Former Atlanta Falcons second-round pick Richie Grant struggled in 2023. / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
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The Atlanta Falcons unquestionably have more talent and are deeper than when general manager Terry Fontenot took over prior to the 2021 NFL Draft.

With four-straight top-10 picks (and high second-round picks to go with it), the Falcons find themselves as having one of the top young-cores in all of the NFL.

With increased talent and depth, comes increased competition for roster spots. On the latest episode of the Falcons Podcast, we took a look at five veterans who are in training camp battles for roster spots and playing time. (Five players are listed below the podcast)

DeAngelo Malone, Edge

Malone was drafted in the third round in 2022. The Falcons had two-third-round picks that year. Desmond Ridder was the other. He saw spot action on defense as a rookie, but his number of defensive snaps dropped to two in 2023. He contributed on special teams, but will that be enough to save his job in 2024?

Richie Grant, Safety

Grant was taken in the second round of Fontenot's first draft class. He turns 27 in November and has been a disappointment in his three years as a Falcon. He saw his playing time cut into at the end of last year by rookie DeMarcco Hellams. Despite positive words from head coach Raheem Morris in the spring, the Falcons can save nearly $3 million by moving on from Grant.

Taylor Heinicke, Quarterback

Most of the cost savings the Falcons would have gotten by moving on from Heinicke was re-couped when they re-did his contract in the spring. Morris calls him an elite backup, but does anyone really want him taking reps away from first-round pick Michael Penix Jr. in training camp, preseason, or practice? Heinicke seems content with his role as mentor with the Falcons, but if his competitive juices flow to take snaps in the NFL again, he may need to look elsewhere.

Avery Williams, Running Back, Returner

Williams was drafted to help with special teams. He was an All-American return man at Boise State and filled that role well with the Falcons. He led the NFL in punt-return average in 2022 and saw spot duty at running back. The Falcons added Ray Ray McCloud, an ace-return man who has a better chance of contributing as a receiver than Williams does as a running back. Can Williams make the teams as just a return man with the addition of McCloud?

LaCale London, Kentavius Street, Eddie Goldman, Defensive Line

London played 204 snaps for the Falcons last year, and Street started five games after coming over from the Eagles midseason (he didn't play the last four). Goldman has retired on the Falcons twice before taking a snap. The Falcons used three draft picks on interior-defensive line. It's arguably the deepest position on the team behind running back. After playing significant snaps in 2023, London and Street could be on the outside looking in with Grady Jarrett, David Onyemata, Zach Harrison, Ta'Quon Graham, Ruke Orhorhoro, Brandon Dorlus, and Zion Logue seeming to have roster spots.

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Scott Kennedy