Three summers ago, I made predictions about what the Atlanta Falcons roster might look like in 2015. Recently, I revisited those predictions to discover just how oddly accurate and wildly inaccurate they were in most cases.
But in so doing, it got the creative juices flowing once more to try and do it again, this time predicting what the Falcons roster might look like three years from now in 2018. As I did then, I will break down each position group with the goal of examining a pathway that the Falcons roster could go down.
Earlier, I broke down the cornerback position and it’s now time to go deeper into the secondary by examining the safeties…
The Falcons have a youthful pair of starters in 2018 at the safety position due to a pair of draft picks being used in consecutive years to secure starters.
The first of those picks is used on University of Miami safety Deon Bush in 2016, with the team moving up into the top 50 picks to nab him. Bush instantly replaces Ricardo Allen as the team’s starter at free safety, becoming a far more effective starter due to his superior speed, range and burgeoning ball skills. By 2018, Bush picks off over 10 passes in his two-year stint with the Falcons, helping him earn his first trip to the Pro Bowl in 2017.
The following year the Falcons take another safety, this time selecting Louisville’s Josh Harvey-Clemons, a local that once played for the University of Georgia. Harvey-Clemons got booted from Georgia’s roster in 2013, but was able to clean up his act in Louisville before returning to Atlanta as a second-round pick in 2017. Harvey-Clemons becomes attractive to the Falcons as they looked for a replacement for William Moore, who was released after 2016. Harvey-Clemons has massive size that draws comparisons to Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor, and similarly to both Chancellor and his predecessor in Moore, flies around the field laying hits on opponents.
Allen still remains a Falcon, with the experience he earned in 2015 making him a prime candidate to be Bush’s backup at free safety. Allen is also able to serve as an extra slot cornerback in a pinch for the team in sub-packages and brings extra value as one of the team’s most productive special teams players.
The team opts against re-signing Kemal Ishmael when he hits free agency in 2017, despite two years of solid service as a reserve behind Moore. Instead, Quinn dials up the number of one of his former players from the University of Florida, signing ex-Jacksonville Jaguars safety Josh Evans in free agency. Evans brings the ability to play both free and strong safety, although he’s primarily asked to play behind Harvey-Clemons at the strong spot . Between he and Allen, the Falcons have about 60 NFL starts worth of experience on their bench by the time 2018 arrives.