In January 2022, the Falcons signed cornerback Dee Alford out of the Canadian Football League to a reserve/futures contract. A year and a half later, Alford could be pushing for a starting role, according to ESPN’s Michael Rothstein.
After going undrafted out of Tusculum, Alford signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL in 2020 but didn’t get to play after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the season. When the team returned in 2021, Alford won a starting job and helped lead the Bombers to their second consecutive Grey Cup title.
Following his signing in the offseason, Alford defied the odds by making the 53-man roster. Alford served as a depth piece in the Falcons secondary for much of the year but did come up with a few big plays. In a Week 2 loss to the Rams, Alford gained his team two points with a safety. Two weeks later, he recorded a game-clinching interception over the Browns.
According to Rothstein, Alford has been rising in the offseason for Atlanta. In spring practices, Alford reportedly “took the vast majority of first-team reps at slot (cornerback).” Mike Hughes was the presumed starter at nickelback heading into the offseason, but Alford is making himself hard to ignore as he pushes for a starting role.
Here are a few other rumors coming out of the NFC South:
- A sixth-round pick for the Panthers last year, Cade Mays may find himself in a bit of a larger role than last year to start the 2023 season, according to Joseph Person of The Athletic. With starting right guard Austin Corbett still recovering from an ACL repair surgery, Mays has reportedly stepped up this offseason. While his rookie year saw him block out of the backfield in short-yardage situations, Mays is in line to begin the season as a starter at right guard for Carolina.
- The Saints are no strangers to injuries in the past few years. They are feeling it the worst this season in the wide receiving corps, where we got some recent updates from Terrin Waack of nola.com. Michael Thomas‘s woes continued thanks to toe surgery that landed him on injured reserve last year. He’s “slowly but surely” working his way back but is, reportedly, “still not full-go.” Last year’s rookie sensation Chris Olave missed the end of minicamp with an inflamed Achilles tendon but is expected to be okay. The other rookie from last year, Rashid Shaheed, suffered a groin injury in organized team activities that held him out of minicamp. He’s also expected to be fine by the time camp rolls around.