A couple of months ago when the Falcons announced they were converting Dezmen Southward to cornerback, we all reacted with distinctly mixed feelings. Given Southward's size and speed combination, and Dan Quinn's preference for that length in particular at the position, it was certainly possible Southward would make an impact in Quinn's defense right away.
Then, of course, the Falcons signed Phillip Adams and drafted both Jalen Collins and Akeem King. Collins is probably an immediate starter in this defense, and with Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford already on board, there's not an obvious spot for Southward now or in the immediate future. He recently had surgery and should be full steam ahead for the season, but at that point he may realistically be fifth on the depth chart at corner.
Long-term, of course, Southward still has a shot to contribute. He's a skilled athlete, Adams is gone next year and this is something of a make-or-break year for Alford, who has tons of talent but hasn't put together an injury-free, quality season just yet. It's certainly possible Southward could be ticketed for outside duties over the long haul, with Desmond Trufant moving all around to cover the toughest assignments other teams can offer, but he's got a ways to go to get there. It's not 100% clear he's even going to stick at corner.
That leaves his future very, very murky. He's a third round pick of the previous regime, so his draft status won't save him if Quinn and company don't like what he brings to the table, and Southward is already off to a slow start thanks to that injury. My guess is that he'll top out as a reserve cornerback and special teamer for Quinn and company, but I'll certainly hope I'm wrong about that.
What do you guys think?