September 27th, 2020 at 8:01am CST by Sam Robinson
Going into Week 3, the NFL has done well to prevent the coronavirus from making a major impact on its season — personnel-wise, at least. But the Falcons will be down their first-round pick as a result of the virus.
The Falcons placed cornerback A.J. Terrell on the reserve/COVID list Saturday. Players do not have to test positive to land on the list, but Adam Schefter of ESPN.com says Terrell did indeed test positive on Friday (Twitter link). The team found out about the test results on Friday night, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com, who adds that Terrell was not at the team’s walkthrough Saturday (Twitter link). Terrell practiced Friday.
Luckily, as Schefter and others reported on Sunday morning, all tests administered on Falcons players and coaches on Saturday came back negative, so the club’s Week 3 contest against the Bears will go forward as planned (Twitter link). For now, the league has avoided a major COVID-related crisis.
Terrell, however, must now go through the protocols in order to return to the team. He will miss Sunday’s game, joining fellow Falcon secondary starter Ricardo Allen in that regard. The Falcons also promoted cornerbacks Delrick Abrams Jr. and Tyler Hall on Saturday. They also elevated linebacker Edmond Robinson from their practice squad.
Atlanta used the No. 16 overall pick on Terrell this year and turned to him as a Day 1 starter. The Clemson alum has played 100% of the Falcons’ defensive snaps for a team that enters Sunday’s game ranking 28th in DVOA pass defense.
The Falcons agreed to add 14 players to their practice squad Sunday. Teams can re-sign players they cut to P-squads if they clear waivers after Saturday’s cuts.
Atlanta will take the unusual step of carrying two P-squad quarterbacks. The team cut both Kyle Lauletta and Kurt Benkert on Saturday, but both landed on the Falcons’ taxi squad. Teams are allowed to carry 16 players — up from 10 in 2019 — on their squads.
Benkert, who was with Atlanta in 2019, and Lauletta — a recent Giants draftee who recently joined the Falcons — will play behind active-roster QBs Matt Ryan and Matt Schaub. Here is the Falcons’ full squad:
Atlanta added Treadwell last year but did not see a considerable impact from the former first-round pick. The Vikings cut Treadwell ahead of the 2019 regular season, following the formerly coveted prospects struggles to claim a consistent role in Minnesota.
Wilcox re-signed with the Falcons a month ago. He has played for five teams but has not seen regular-season action since the 2018 season. The former Cowboys started suffered a season-ending injury last summer.
The cuts of Benkert and Lauletta leave two quarterbacks — Matt Ryan and Matt Schaub — on Atlanta’s roster. With Ryan being one of the most durable passers in the NFL, the Falcons can take advantage of an extra roster spot by keeping just two QBs.