The signing of Dwight Lowery thoroughly underwhelmed many of you. He wasn't the elite free safety we all had in mind after Thomas Decoud
got kicked to the curb left town. But according to Pro Football Focus, you shouldn't sleep on him.
He would move to the Jacksonville Jaguars ahead of the 2011 season and, taking over as a starting safety for the team, had the lowest-graded full season of his career to date (+0.6). That’s not the worst thing in the world, considering it was essentially an average season. 2012 was much better and, while he missed some time through injury, he still finished the year as our 10th-highest graded safety in coverage. His 2013 season ended in Week 3, and he now gets the chance to earn a starting job once again in 2014 in Atlanta.
In short, if he's healthy, he's solid in pass coverage. I'm not sure what secondary you were watching last season, but that's an instant upgrade. Reliability at free safety?! Mind. Blown.
Look, the Falcons are immediately better with Lowery in the mix. That said, he's not a permanent solution. And that's where Dezmen Southward comes in. Folks rave about his athleticism, speed, and nose for the ball. They also tend to gloss over just how raw he is. I'm not a betting man, but I'd wager a twelver of Milwaukee's Best that Southward doesn't supplant Lowery before the season starts. He will eventually, maybe even by mid-season, but Lowery's an adequate fill-in for now.