The Atlanta Falcons added some defensive line help ahead of Week 8’s matchup against the Carolina Panthers.
On Wednesday, October 26, Atlanta re-signed Kobe Smith to their practice squad.
The move comes after the team released its 2020 second-round pick, Marlon Davidson.
Unfortunately for Davidson, his career had been riddled with injuries and while Smith may not have the same NFL experience, a healthy defensive lineman in the rotation is better than one on injured reserve.
Smith Has Yet to Appear in a Regular-Season NFL Game
Smith originally joined the league out of South Carolina following the 2020 NFL Draft when the Tennessee Titans picked him up as an undrafted free agent.
Since then, the Lawrenceville (GA) native has also spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles. However, Smith has not appeared in a regular-season game.
Before entering the draft, the 6-foot-2, 300-pound defensive lineman logged 84 total tackles, seven tackles for loss, two sacks and seven quarterback hits in 48 games (17 starts) for the SC Gamecocks from 2016 to 2019.
The Falcons first signed Smith on October 10 ahead of their Week 6 win over the San Francisco 49ers.
Falcons Update Practice Squad
Per the official league rules, NFL organizations may establish a practice squad of 16 players. All players with zero accrued seasons or fewer than nine regular-season games in a single season are eligible for the practice squad. Additionally, teams can have up to 10 players with two or fewer accrued seasons and a max of six established veterans with unlimited accrued seasons on their practice squad.
A practice squad player is only able to be elevated three times per season and any more than that would mean the team would have to sign them to the 53-man roster or release them.
Below is the Falcons’ updated practice squad heading into Week 8 against the Carolina Panthers:
1. WR Josh Ali
2. DB Cornell Armstrong
3. WR Cameron Batson
4. RB B.J. Baylor
5. DT Jalen Dalton
6. WR Frank Darby
7. ILB Dorian Etheridge
8. TE Tucker Fisk
9. CB Matt Hankins
10. WR Ra’Shaun Henry
11. CB Bopete Keyes
12. DB Dylan Mabin
13. OL Ryan Neuzil
14. OL Justin Shaffer
15. DL Kobe Smith
The Falcons also released linebacker Jordan Brailford and signed cornerback Thakarius “BoPete” Keyes to the practice squad this week.
Keyes, 24, originally entered the league with the Kansas City Chiefs in the seventh round of the 2020 draft (No. 237 overall). He was waived by KC after his rookie year and then picked up by the Indianapolis Colts, where he spent most of the 2021 season before a short stint with the New England Patriots and Chicago Bears.
Most recently, Keyes was with the Houston Texans.
Through 12 appearances and one NFL start, the former Tulane defensive back has tallied nine tackles.
The Falcons have also been dealing with injuries in their secondary and have had to resort to their second and even third-string defensive backs. The addition of Keyes adds a nice cushion to the Falcons’ weakest position at the moment.
Atlanta currently has 15 players on their 16-man practice roster and only 52 on their 53-man active roster, so expect them to make more moves before Sunday.