We delved into the Falcons' team needs a little bit yesterday through our examination of left guard. Now it's time to consider another glaring weakness at free safety.
This Falcons draft class did a nice job of upgrading the overall talent level and filling some holes on this roster, so it's fair to say that there's only 3-4 positions that truly alarm me at this juncture, which is better than a few short months ago. Safety is my biggest concern, though, both because of the players the Falcons have available there and how critical a quality group of safeties is for Dan Quinn's defense. We know that William Moore, when healthy, can deliver strong run game support, tackling and aggression in coverage, and if he is injured, Kemal Ishmael does a nice job with his William Moore impression. At free safety, however, things are much murkier.
Charles Godfrey may be healthy enough to lock down the position for a year and play at a reasonably high level, as FalcFans' Aaron Freeman outlined earlier this year. But beyond him, the only options on the roster are Ishmael or Moore converting from their more natural roles, special teamer Sean Baker or former fifth rounder Ricardo Allen, seventh round draft choice Akeem King or Dezmen Southward moving back from corner to free safety. I'm not putting a lot of stock into the idea that Robert Alford might be moving just yet, but I wouldn't totally rule out that option, either.
The bottom line is that there's nothing inspiring there. Southward is the most obvious choice in many ways, given his size, speed and coverage ability, but the Falcons appear to want to give him a go at corner. Moving Moore full-time is an intriguing option, but he's not the ideal cover fit for what Quinn likes to do. And Alford, while aggressive, fast and physical enough to make the transition work, may be too undisciplined and too likely to gamble for the coaching staff to trust back there. Godfrey's been competent or better at free safety in his career, and right now he offers the the team's best chance for steady play back there. It's not sexy by any means, but his track record gives you a better feeling than, say, the six guys in the mix for a job at left guard do.
As is the case with guard, the Falcons appear content to patch over the position for a year and either bring back their stopgap option, go with a breakout candidate over the long haul if one appears, or spend dollars and/or a pick to upgrade the position in 2016. Let's hope this isn't an Achilles heel for Atlanta in 2015.