The Atlanta Falcons made a series of roster moves Saturday to reach the NFL-mandated 53-man limit. Falcons coach Dan Quinn hinted more roster shuffling could be upcoming as the Falcons tried to solidify depth at defensive back and along the offensive line. Here's a look at the current Falcons moves:
Most significant move: The Falcons chose Nick Williams over rookie J.D. McKissic as the team's sixth receiver, even though McKissic had a 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first preseason game. Quinn admitted it was the toughest decision to make. "That one was as close as we could have at any position," Quinn said. "Both Nick and J.D. totally battled for it. ... One [Williams] had more versatility on offense, one [McKissic] maybe more on teams. It was a great battle." Williams is comfortable in the offensive scheme, having played under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in Washington. Williams' parents expressed their appreciation to the Falcons.
Loaded group: The Falcons kept four tight ends on the roster with both undrafted rookie Joshua Perkins and former fourth-round pick Levine Toilolo making the cut to play behind Jacob Tamme and rookie Austin Hooper. D.J. Tiavalea, arguably the best blocker of them all, was released. "In our offense, that tight end spot, it's a very important one," Quinn said. "The way that the young guys battled their way right into the mix, it's a real credit to [tight ends coach] Wade [Harman] to help get those guys available and get them ready. ... We didn't have a set number coming in, whether it was going to be three tight ends, four tight ends. We just really wanted to see guys battle for it.''
Fresh start: Defensive lineman Courtney Upshaw, a former second-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens, made the final cut after signing a one-year deal this offseason. Upshaw was rather quiet until the final preseason game, when he recorded a sack. The former linebacker showed the potential to be disruptive up front. "Really is that position-flexibility, where here's a guy who's still learning," Quinn said. "He's got very good quickness for a big guy. We tried him at a number of spots, and you know us in terms of versatility -- the more that you can do. We've asked him to play end. We've asked him to play tackle. He played both nose tackle and three-technique. So having that versatility was very important."
Falcons moves: Injured reserve -- CB Akeem King (foot), CB DeMarcus Van Dyke (concussion). Injury settlement -- RB Brandon Wilds (knee), FB Will Ratelle (ankle). Waived/Injured -- LB Tyler Starr. Released -- K Shayne Graham, OT Bryce Harris. Waived -- WR J.D. McKissic, TE D.J. Tialavea, QB Matt Simms, S Sharrod Neasman, S Damian Parms, DE Nordly Capi, OT Laurence Gibson, DE Malliciah Goodman, DT Cory Johnson, CB Devonte Johnson, OL Collin Rahrig, WR Corey Washington, LB Matt Wells, NT Joey Mbu. Suspended list -- CB Jalen Collins (will miss first four games of regular season).