Atlanta Falcons safety Kemal Ishmael has shown to be a consistent talent at the strong-safety position. He's intelligent and has good playmaking ability that combines well with his solid run stopping and his above-average tackling skills. He's not ideal for deep coverage, but the Falcons will rarely use him that way under Dan Quinn's scheme. Atlanta could be in worst shape than having the solid Ishmael on their roster.
2015 Season in Review
Ishmael showed that he's at a minimum, a serviceable or near-average NFL strong safety playing in William Moore's stead due to injuries. He showed his playmaking abilities in both zone and man coverage and against the run. Ishmael's talent level isn't going to make him a Pro Bowl safety long-term, but he does have good ability to earn a starting role and potentially create some turnovers needed to win some games.
The Falcons safety has the exceptional benefit of looking lucky. For whatever reason, Ishmael has a right-place, right-time feel to his game, because he flies around the field and always seems to be in on the play. His 2015 season included an interception, a tackle for loss and three pass deflections despite starting just five games all season. Atlanta also saw some talented play on special teams with him as well.
The fourth-year safety is in the final year of his contract making $1.707 million after he hit the escalators that are in almost every rookie contract for playing time, games started and stats accumulated to boost his base salary in 2016 from the $675,000 level. Atlanta should look into extending him after the 2016 season if he can earn a regular long-term role and show his competency within the scheme.
Ishmael should be competing for the starting strong safety role with whoever the Falcons draft or sign this offseason to play the role. The former Central Florida Golden Knight could earn the starting role and turn into a solid performer. However, Ishmael should not be the starting option for the Falcons long-term. Atlanta has to find a true long-term solution for the position, but Ishmael has a good enough fit in Quinn's defense to be the stop-gap for 2016 if need be.