Falcons 53-man roster: Bernhardt, Landman among biggest surprises

·2 min read

The Falcons released their 53-man roster over an hour before the NFL’s 4 p.m. ET deadline on Tuesday, and there were more than a handful of surprises. The team kept 10 linebackers, six wide receivers, and just eight offensive linemen.

These five players were among the biggest surprises to make the team’s first 53-man roster of the 2022 NFL season.

WR Jared Bernhardt

(AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Former lacrosse star Jared Bernhardt definitely benefited from the team keeping six wide receivers, but either way, his consistent play throughout training camp warranted a position on the 53-man roster. Not only was Bernhardt one of the Falcons’ most productive receivers, both Drake London and Bryan Edwards have missed time. London missed the last two preseason games and the severity of his injury isn’t totally clear at this time.

ILB Nathan Landman

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Landman showed out in the final preseason game and has been earning the praise of coaches since the start of training camp. Still, the former Colorado standout faced long odds at a crowded linebacker position. Landman was one of 10 linebackers to make the initial 53-man roster, which proves the team is committed to improving the second level of the defense.

John FitzPatrick

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FitzPatrick was one of two Georgia players that Atlanta drafted in the sixth round. With guys like MyCole Pruitt, Parker Hesse and Anthony Firkser all having some prior Titans affiliation, it seemed like the rookie was destined for the practice squad. The Falcons ended up cutting Justin Shaffer, the other Bulldogs player selected in the sixth round. Feleipe Franks was also listed at tight end on the 53-man roster.

OLB Quinton Bell

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While some may have predicted it, I didn’t have Bell on my last 53-man roster projection. It wasn’t a matter of Bell’s performance, though, it was more so due to the abundance of players who were essentially guaranteed a spot, including two high draft picks. Nonetheless, Bell clearly impressed the coaching staff enough to stick around. He deserves credit for making it against some pretty tough odds.

Timmy Horne

(AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Horne was definitely deserving of a roster spot after an impressive camp, especially considering the team’s lack of depth at the nose tackle position. Anthony Rush is the starter, but Horne has shown that he can be a valuable backup/rotational piece in the middle of the Falcons defensive line. He was one of five defensive linemen to make the roster, and it’s hard to argue.

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Story originally appeared on Falcons Wire