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Deion Sanders Makes History During College Football Signing Day: NFL Tracker

The Atlanta Falcons are continuing to update and upgrade their roster. Keep track of all the moves.

The season is here, but the Atlanta Falcons are continuing to update and upgrade their roster. Keep track of all the moves. ...

DEC 16 DEION MAKES HISTORY Former Atlanta Falcons standout and NFL star Deion Sanders has made waves in the coaching ranks since taking over at Jackson State in September of 2020.

However, none of those waves were as massive as the one he produced on Wednesday during college football's Early Signing Day, with Sanders flipping the nation's No. 1 overall recruit, Travis Hunter from Florida State.

Hunter signed on the dotted line during a shocking announcement ceremony, cementing his decision, and giving the FBS level Tigers the nation's top talent.

What is even more intriguing about Sanders though, is that his run on 2022's top players might not be over just yet...

DEC 13 SAFETY OUT Per NFL Network, Falcons safety Erik Harris is out for the season with a torn pec. Ian Rapoport writes, “He’s headed for surgery, with the starter ending his 2021 with 64 tackles and eight passes defended.”

NOV 23 PUNTER MOVE The Atlanta Falcons have created a Punter Merry-Go-Round this season and on Monday a COVID issue caused them to do it again.

The team announced that punter Dustin Colquitt was placed on the reserve COVID-19 list.

The Falcons also announced they’ve released offensive lineman Joe Sculthorpe from the practice squad.

The Falcons released punter Cam Nizlialek back on Nov. 9. He played in six games this season before the switch to Colquitt … and with a Sunday game against the Jags on the horizon?

Here comes another switch.

NOV 13 JULIO TO IR The move to the Tennessee Titans is not working out quite the way Julio Jones envisioned it.

The Titans on Saturday placed the veteran receiver Julio Jones - and former Falcons superstar - on short-term (three-week) IR. Jones has been dealing with hamstring issues that worsened this week.

The Falcons traded the disgruntled Jones to the Titans in exchange for a 2022 second- and a 2023 fourth-round draft pick. While Tennessee is 7-2, the Jones acquisition has yet to work out for his new club. Jones has 21 catches for 336 yards and no TDs.

NOV 11 CAM IS BACK The Falcons know the Panthers well. And they know Cam Newton - a native of Atlanta - well.

And now they are about to be part of a reunion.

Unfortunately for the Falcons, they ended up on the wrong side of a frustrating 19-13 defeat at the end of October. But soon - Dec. 12 - another crack.

And this one will have a familiar feel, as the Panthers on Thursday officially announced the signing of street free agent QB Cam Newton ... a way to fix the team's problems at the position that sort of began when they let him go two years ago.

They weren't bad enough to draft high enough. They tried Teddy Bridgewater. They traded for Sam Darnold.

None of that has really worked, and now Darold is dinged up.

Enter Cam. Again.

Will Cam - a self-professed "Falcons fan'' - be back in charge in December? That seems likely. Will he terrorize the NFC South as the former NFL MVP once did?

That is the Carolina throwback plan.

OCT 26: THURMAN IN, DOSS OUT The Atlanta Falcons have signed defensive lineman Nick Thurman to the practice squad. In a corresponding move, the Falcons have released wide receiver Keelan Doss from the practice squad.

Thurman was originally signed by the Houston Texans following the 2018 NFL Draft out of the University of Houston and has spent time with the Texans, Buccaneers and Patriots. The 6-foot-4, 305-pound defensive lineman recorded 10 total tackles (seven solo) in seven games (one start) for the Patriots in 2020.

OCT 20 BRYANT PASSES Warren Bryant, one of the best players in the early years of the Atlanta Falcons, passed away on Oct. 10 He was 65 years old.

Bryant went No. 6 overall in his NFL Draft, to Atlanta, where he played seven of his eight NFL seasons. He earned All-Rookie honors in his first season, and in 1978, helped the Falcons to their first-ever playoff berth.

Bryant graduated from Kentucky with a degree in Special Education, which he used for his post-football career. “I enjoyed my years in the NFL, but my passion was working with the disabled,” he once said, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

OCT 5: MOVES TO LONDON The Falcons on Wednesday engineered a handful of moves, per NFL sources, signing Dustin Colquitt and Mike Pennel to the active roster, also signbig Elliott Fry and Shawn Williams to the practice squad, and placing Isaiah Oliver and Cam Nizialek on IR.

SEPT 28: TUESDAY TRYOUTS Atlanta is giving tryouts to five free agents, including defensive backs Maurice Smith of Georgia and Will Sunderland of Troy.

Also on the list: tight end David Helm, linebacker Josh Watson and receiver Jordan Matthews.

SEPT 22: PRIME TIME GAME TIME: Former Atlanta Falcons cornerback and current Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders had surgery on Wednesday to repair a lingering foot and tow issue. 

Having coached barefoot because of the pain, Sanders is still planning to coach Jackson State this weekend. 

READ MORE: Deion Sanders' Toe Surgery, Still Plans to Coach

SEPT 11: COPELAND CUT: The Falcons have elected to release linebacker Brandon Copeland on Saturday prior to Week 1's game against the Philadelphia Eagles. In a corresponding move, elevated linebacker James Vaughters from the practice squad.

A seven-year veteran, Copeland went undrafted out of Penn in 2013. Since then, the 30-year-old has played for the Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans, Eagles, New York Jets and New England Patriots. For his career, he has recorded 117 total tackles and seven sacks.

SEPT 10: 2 MOVES The Atlanta Falcons have signed kicker Elliott Fry to the team’s practice squad. In a corresponding move, the Falcons have placed outside linebacker George Obinna on the Reserve/Injured List.

Fry was on the Atlanta practice squad and appeared in one game as a standard practice squad elevation, making 1-of-1 field goals and 1-of-2 extra points at Green Bay in Week 4.

SEPT 6: FALCON WORK OUT WR: The Falcons brought wide receiver Cody Core for a workout sources told Falcon Report. 

Core (6'3/205) was originally a sixth-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2016. In three years with the Bengals, Core had  59 catches for 360 yards and a touchdown.

He joined the New York Giants in 2019 and signed a two-year contract in 2020, but he was placed on injured reserve in August of 2020. 

Born in Auburn, Ala. Core had 37 catches for 644 yards and four touchdowns his senior year at Ole Miss. 

We'll continue to monitor Core's status with the Falcons. 



CB Chris Williamson, Delrick Abrams
DL Eli Ankou, Zac Dawe, Chris Slayton, 
LB Emmanuel Ellerbee, Kobe Jones, Tuzar Skipper, Erroll Thompson
OL Ryan Neuzil, Willie Beavers, Sam Jones, Joe Sculthorpe, Kion Smith, Matt Gono (PUP)
RB Caleb Huntley, D'Onta Foreman
S    Dwayne Johnson Jr., JR Pace
TE  John Raine, David Wells,  Parker Hesse (Reserve/COVID-19) 
WR Chris Rowland, Trevor Davis, Juwan Green, Antonio Nunn
P    Dom Maggio

AUG 31, 11:37 a.m.: WR CUT: Wide receiver Juwan Green is the latest Falcon to be released. D. Orlando Ledbetter reported the news via Twitter. 

Green was in his second year out of Albany. He had a drop against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday night, but bounced back to be the Falcons leading receiver with three catches for 58 yards and a touchdown.

AUG 31: CAM NEWTON RELEASED - The New England Patriots have cut quarterback Cam Newton, beginning the Mac Jones era. This will start the "Cam Newton as a backup" rumors all over the league, including Dallas. Mac Jones will be the first rookie to start for the Patriots since Drew Bledsoe, and Jones' first opponent in his first career NFL start will be former Alabama teammate Tua Tagovailoa.

AUG 31, 11:20 a.m.: 3 MORE CUTS REVEALED: The Falcons have released three more players according to reports: linebacker Emmanuel Ellerbe, offensive lineman Ryan Neuzil, and safety JR Pace.

Ellerbe was signed in the offseason, but he hadn't played in the NFL since he saw time with both the LA Chargers and Seattle Seahawks in 2018. He finished last year on the Houston Texans practice squad.

Neuzil was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Appalachian State and was competing for a backup offensive guard position. He's a practice squad candidate for the Falcons.

Pace was also an undrafted free agent. He had 41 tackles and and interception in eight games for Northwestern in 2020. Like Neuzil, Pace could be signed to the Falcons practice squad if he clears waivers.

The Falcons roster currently stands at 68 players.

AUG 31, 10:47 a.m.: WR/KR CUT: ESPN's Michael Rothstein report that the Falcons will be releasing wide receiver Trevor Davis. Davis last played in the NFL in 2019 with three teams, the Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, and Oakland Raiders.

His primary value was a punt and kick returner, but those positions will be filled by rookie Avery Williams and pro-bowler Cordarrelle Patterson

The Falcons roster currently stands at 71 players.

AUG 31, 10:35 a.m.: FROM 1ST TEAM TO WAIVERS: The Falcons released offensive tackle Willie Beavers according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. Beavers was elevated to starting right tackle during the preseason with the absence of Kaleb McGary, but he was overmatched against opponents in all three of Atlanta's preseason games.

The Falcons roster currently stands at 72 players.

AUG 31, 10 a.m.: ANOTHER RB GONE: ESPN's Michael Rothstein reported on Twitter that undrafted free agent running back Caleb Huntley was going to be part of today's cuts. 

Huntley was the second running back released as Javian Hawkins was released last week and subsequently picked up by the Tennessee Titans. Huntley should have a place on the Falcons practice squad if he clears waivers.

Huntley's release brings the Falcons roster to 73. They must still release 20 players to reach the 53-man deadline by 4 p.m.

AUG 30: LATE NIGHT CUTS: The Falcons have released wide receiver Chris Rowland, linebacker Kobe Jones, edge rusher Tuzar Skipper, and safety Dwayne Johnson Jr.

The only surprise of this batch is receiver Chris Rowland. Rowland had looked good in the slot and was excellent as a return specialist. Rookie Avery Williams was drafted from Boise state to be the return-man for the Falcons this year, but Rowland was insurance for Williams and had a good training camp in the slot.

AUG 30: 2 DL CUT AHEAD OF DEADLINE: With the deadline to get to 53 players less than 24 hours away, the Falcons parted ways with defensive linemen Eli Ankou and Zac Dawe. 

Ankou was signed on Aug. 18 when the Falcons were short on linemen because of injuries. He spent last season with the Dallas Cowboys. 

Dawe was an undrafted free agent out of BYU. Atlanta may consider bringing him back to the practice squad if he clears waivers.

The roster is at 78 players ahead of Tuesday's 4 p.m. deadline.

AUG 24: CUT DOWN DAY: The Falcons confirmed the signing of quarterback Josh Rosen, and in a corresponding move placed injured quarterback A.J. McCarron on Injured Reserve.

Atlanta also released offensive lineman Willie Wright, wide receiver Austin Trammell, running back Javian Hawkins, defensive lineman Olive Sagapolu, and linebacker Shareef Miller.

Atlanta met the deadline of 80 players on the roster by Tuesday. The next cutdown day will be a big one. NFL teams must trim their roster from 80 to 53 by next Tuesday.

AUG 24: ROSEN SET TO SIGN: Jordan Schultz reports the Falcons are set to sign former 2018 Top 10 NFL Draft pick Josh Rosen at quarterback. Rosen will roster spot of A.J. McCarron who was lost for the season to a knee injury.

AUG 23: ITO GETS A JOB Ito Smith, a fourth-round selection by the Falcons in the 2018 NFL Draft before playing three years here leading to him being waived in April, has caught on in Minnesota.

In a handful of Vikings moves that include the release of former Atlanta QB Danny Etling - who might come in handy for the Falcons right about now - Ito is now in Minnesota.

Smith, 25, the former Southern Miss standout, is coming off a 2020 season in which he had 343 scrimmage yards and a touchdown. Smith’s career stats include 175 carries, 689 rushing yards, 55 receptions, 314 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

AUG 20: TE MOVES The Falcons have signed tight end David Wells and in a corresponding roster move, put tight end Ryan Becker on the Reserve/Injured list. In 2018 Wells was signed by the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent and was on the practice squads with the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots 

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AUG 18: DL SIGNED The Falcons have resigned big defensive lineman Eli Ankou. Ankou hasn't played for the Falcons, but he was with Atlanta from rookie mini-camp until OTA's in June. At 6'3 and 325 pounds, Ankou gives the Falcons size at the nose guard position in Dean Pees' 3-4 defense.

He spent last season with the Dallas Cowboys, playing in seven games and totaling five tackles.

AUG 17: BADET OUT The Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday waived Jeff Badet from injured reserve with injury settlement, a source tells FalconsSI.

Badet, who went undrafted in 2018, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.27 seconds at Oklahoma's pro day in March. He might be the NFL's fastest man. But he's now free again.

AUG 16: 2 CUT Atlanta released linebacker George Obinna and and offensive lineman Bryce Hargrove.

Obinna was listed fourth string on the Falcons depth chart and was credited with two tackles in the preseason game against the Titans on Friday night.

Obinna is the all-time sack leader at Sacramento State where he played defensive end. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cleveland Browns after the 2020 NFL Draft.

Hargrove signed by the Falcons as an undrafted free agent out of Pittsburgh this year. Listed at 6'4 and 320 pounds, Hargrove was competing for a roster spot at guard and was listed third team at right guard behind Chris Lindstrom and Willie Wright.

Next week is also a cut week for NFL teams as they are required to have a maximum of 80 players on the roster by Tuesday, August 24.

READ MORE: Falcons Make 2 Cuts, get Below 85 Man Deadline

AUG 15: A LOSS AND MOVES Not too many conclusions can be drawn in a game that didn't feature first-team players on offense or defense. But for players trying to either make the squad or move up the depth chart, this was an opportunity to rise or fall.

We know of the obvious fallers, as the Falcons have parted ways with four players: Wide receiver J’Mon Moore is waived with an injury designation, and also gone are defensive tackle John Atkins, cornerback Marcus Murphy and tackle William Sweet. (Teams must cut from 90 to 85 by Tuesday.)

Beyond that? We take a look at the five biggest risers and fallers from Friday night's action.

Riser: Dean Pees, Defensive Coordinator

The casual Falcons fan might not have known much about their new defensive coordinator, but those that tuned in on Friday saw a revamped Atlanta defense that was aggressive getting after the quarterback under Dean Pees.

Atlanta had four sacks, having only registered 29 sacks in all of 2020. The Falcons only surrendered 244 yards despite not getting any help from the offense.

For a team that finished 29th in total defense and dead last in passing defense in 2020, Friday's effort against the Titans was sensational.

Faller: Atlanta Offense

While there were no first-team players in action on Friday, the second team did little to put any pressure on the players in front of them. If the reserves showed anything, it was that Atlanta lacks depth on offense, particularly at quarterback and offensive line.

Atlanta had a paltry 138 yards of total offense. They managed just 21 yards passing and had 23:27 time of possession.

Riser: Feleipe Franks, Quarterback

Rookie quarterback Feleipe Franks wasn't good throwing the ball. He was 2 of 9 passing for 16 yards and was sacked three times. But he sparked the Atlanta offense with his legs.

Franks' mobility brings an element to the offense that Matt Ryan and backup A.J. McCarron lack. Franks rushed for 76 yards including a 52 yard scramble that was Atlanta's biggest play.

Faller: A.J. McCarron, Quarterback

Franks might not have been good, but McCarron was awful. He got very little help from his offensive line, but he finished 5 of 12 passing with an interception. Another interception was reversed on replay.

McCarron's quarterback rating was a paltry 14.6, making Franks' 39.6 look good by comparison. The Titans quarterbacks Logan Woodside and Matt Barkley finished with a combined rating of 110.4.

If there's only two spots to be had on the 53-man roster for quarterbacks, Matt Ryan will get one spot and Franks maybe gets the nod after the first preseason game.

Riser: Jaylinn Hawkins, Safety

Hawkins was one of the stars of the Atlanta D. The second-year man out of Cal was a fourth-round pick in 2020. He snuffed out a second-half Titans drive with a pass break-up and sack on the same series.

Riser: Dorian Etheridge, Linebacker

Linebacker may be the deepest position on Atlanta's roster, and Etheridge did his part to make sure he'd be a part of the Falcons future. Etheridge finished with 13 tackles and three tackles for loss. No other Falcon had more than five tackles.

Etheridge was signed as an undrafted free agent from Louisville. He played in 46 games over four years with the Cardinals and had 50 tackles with 9.5 tackles for loss in 2020.

Faller: Willie Beavers, Right Tackle

With Kaleb McGary spending much of training camp on the PUP list, Beavers got a shot at the starting right tackle position. A capable backup, Beavers was in over his head against the Titans defensive line. While he certainly wasn't alone with his struggles in the trenches, he showed that McGary should have no trouble regaining his starting spot if he's healthy.

Riser: Marlon Davidson, Defensive Line

Davidson struggled as a rookie after being taken in the second round of the 2020 draft. He admitted to being immature and enjoying his new lifestyle too much.

A newly-focused Davidson has had a good training camp, and he immediately put pressure on Titans quarterback Logan Woodside.

Atlanta wasn't able to address the defensive line in the draft or free agency, so getting the most out of Davidson would be a boon to the Pees and the Falcons.

Faller: Jalen Mayfield, Right Tackle

Mayfield was Atlanta's third-round draft pick, 68th overall, in April's NFL Draft. He had a reputation for being a good run-blocker with work needed in pass protection.

He was overwhelmed in his first live action as an NFL player. Like Beavers, he was part of an entire unit to struggle, but he didn't put any pressure on McGary (or Beavers) for a starting spot.

The Falcons play the Dolphins in Miami on Saturday night at 7. We should see more of the first-team players in action as Atlanta gets closer to the first game of the season on September 12 against the Eagles.