Continuing the countdown of the top 40 players on the Atlanta Falcons, let’s break down the 31st best player in safety Charles Godfrey.
To read about the methodology in how these rankings came about, you can click here.
Total Score: 43.5/100
Last year’s rank: N/A
Player Grade: 50/100
Teams he is starter: 4 out of 32
Teams he is best position player: 0 out of 32
Teams he is role player: 25 out of 32
Peak-Year Bonus: +1
Positional Bonus: +3
While Godfrey has taken a back seat to Ricardo Allen in the competition at free safety, he still ranks higher than the second-year defensive back due to the fact that Godfrey is a lot more proven commodity.
Godfrey has tallied 75 starts over seven seasons during his NFL career, and while he has not always performed at a high level in them, it does at least make him still a viable candidate to start in the NFL.
Godfrey hopes his second season with the Falcons fares better than his first. He was cut by the Carolina Panthers midway through the 2014 season and spent the rest of the year mostly inactive on the Falcons as the team looked to try and give opportunities for young, developing safeties Kemal Ishmael and Dezmen Southward.
Godfrey has routinely struggled in coverage during his NFL career, particularly with the Panthers, who hoped his experience as a cornerback during his collegiate days at Iowa would make him into a safety capable of covering the slot against wide receivers. However, Godfrey never really fared well in this role and was a much more effective player when asked to play zone coverage where he could use his superior speed and range in space and solid hitting ability.
Despite this fact, the Panthers thought it was a good idea to convert Godfrey into a nickel cornerback a year ago. To no one’s surprise, Godfrey struggled in seven games in Carolina before being released. His 2014 campaign could be considered a complete wash, especially when considering that he was just a year removed from a torn Achilles that sidelined him for most of 2013.
Godfrey hopes that another year removed from that injury coupled with the arrival of Dan Quinn to Atlanta will give him a fresh start and a second chance to impact in Atlanta. Although he may be fighting an uphill battle to win a starting spot, Godfrey’s experience makes him a good candidate to serve as the team’s third or fourth safety since he has played both free and strong safety. He also gives the team a decent insurance policy in case Allen’s first season as a starter is a rocky one. While Godfrey isn’t likely to shine as a starter should he be thrust into the lineup, he should at least be competent enough that the Falcons could get through the 2015 season.
With Godfrey working on a one-year contract, this year in Atlanta might be the definitive one for the remainder of his career. Should he stick and put together a solid campaign, he may be able to continue as a contributor for a few more years in the league. If not, the soon-to-be 30-year old safety might be quickly find himself out of second chances.