Will France’s Anthony Dable soon start climbing up Atlanta Falcons depth chart?

In his second try at the NFLwith the Atlanta Falcons, are French American football player Anthony Dable’s prospects of making the roster improving?

He has seen action in both preseason games played so far, against the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers. Although both were losses for the Falcons, Dable has caught five passes, all from backup quarterback Matt Simms, for a total of 58 yards. In the second game against the Steelers, he was the third leading wide receiver in terms of the number of snaps he was on the field – 31 – and second leading receiver in terms of yardage with three catches for 32 yards. Against the Dolphins, he had 27 snap counts, second best among wideouts. He is third among wide receivers with 58 snap counts in two games. Both Marvin Hall and Deante Burton have been on the field for 60 snaps.

This is his second NFL training camp in two years. He attended training camp with the New York Giants in 2016 but was released just before the regular season started. He had a tryout with the New England Patriots before being signed by the Falcons earlier this year.

With two more preseason games remaining, Dable is still in a fierce battle with 12 other wide receivers in the Falcons training camp. Atlanta will play the Arizona Cardinals on August 26 and then face the Jacksonville Jaguars on August 31. The Falcons play their first regular season game of the year on September 10 away against the Chicago Bears.

However, Dave Choate of Falcoholic.com, is still optimistic about Dable’s chances of making the roster although he still thinks he may wind up on the practice squad:

“Anthony Dable has impressed me to this point. He is big, fast and able to achieve separation, and he’s been one of the better young receivers in training camp and preseason to this point. You’d like to see him get a few more targets headed his way, but the physical talent is undeniable, and that alone makes him intriguing.

Dable’s biggest obstacle is the other young receivers on the roster today. Marvin Hall has played fairly well outside of a couple of big mistakes, and Reggie Davis has been one of the most impressive players in preseason thus far, period. Dable’s chances of beating both out are probably still a bit slim, but he can help himself by producing in the next two preseason games. I do think he has a shot at the practice squad, at minimum.”

The Falcons currently have 91 players on the roster and will have to trim it to 53 by Sept. 2. This marks the first year teams are allowed to keep a full 90-man roster through all four preseason games.

Based on the latest Atlanta Falcons depth chart, Dable is still facing an uphill battle. However, with his number of snaps and catches increasing, maybe his chances of playing in a regular season NFL game are increasing as well.

NFL practice squads

Making the final 53 man roster would be a dream for an international player such as Dable. The practice squad is more likely.
All around the NFL, teams will have to trim their rosters to the mandatory 53-man limit before the league’s deadline on Sept. 2. Beginning Sept. 3 , teams can start assembling practice squads, groups of 10 players who practice with the team throughout the week but are not eligible to be active on game days.
Many times, teams use practice squads to keep players who have potential but need development. It gives teams an opportunity to invest in players in a low-cost (by NFL standards) and low-risk way. It also provides teams with a stash of backup players who are familiar with the scheme and system, which is helpful in the event of injury.

The NFL tweaked its rules for practice squad eligibility in 2016. In 2014, the NFL and NFLPAagreed to a rule that expanded the practice squad roster limits from eight to 10 players. The rule expired prior to the 2016 league year, but it has been renewed. In addition, last year teams could have two of the 10 practice squad spots filled by players who had two or more years of experience on an NFL roster. This year, that number has been increased to four players.

Dable a star in Europe

The 6’5″, 215 lb, 27-year-old Dablé enjoyed a superb season in 2015, winning his second straight German Bowl with the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions, the Eurobowl, all while also helping France to a fourth place finish in the IFAF World Championships.

Dablé had signed with France’s Aix-en-Provence Argonautes for the 2016 season where he had intended to continue his education at the University of Provence. However, the interest from the New York Giants and now other NFL teams has put those plans on hold for now.

Widely considered one of the most dangerous receivers and returners in EuropeDablé had returned to his native France after spending the past three seasons in the German top league with the Lions and also one season with the Berlin Rebels (2013). Prior to that, Dable played for three years with Grenoble Centaures of the French league.


Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.