When the Falcons cut William Moore, they essentially boxed themselves into one of three outcomes at strong safety:
- Trot out Kemal Ishmael or Robenson Therezie, let them (hopefully) grow into the role, and determine how big of a need the position is for 2017;
- Sign a free agent or two to compete for the position, i.e. Charles Godfrey, apparently;
- Draft a long-term solution at safety.
The Falcons do appear to like Therezie, but everything they've done this offseason indicates they're not ready to hand him the keys at either spot. Godfrey is on board as a potential stopgap and the team has indicated they'll poke around free agency more if they don't get what they want out of the draft, but again, the arrow is pointing toward a draft solution. The Falcons have obviously been hot for Florida safety Keanu Neal, and you can add another pair of promising names to the list, though one of them could play safety or linebacker.
The Boise State product isn't quite as intriguing as Neal in my book, but he's a hitter who offers a ton in run support, and he's aggressive enough in coverage to jump routes and come away with a lot of knockdowns and a few picks per year. That aggression and physicality makes him a nice fit for Dan Quinn's defense.
His coverage skills, however, do not. I'll leave the film work to my esteemed colleague Charles McDonald, but Thompson isn't an overly instinctive or fluid in coverage, which could be a problem for a team that has enough issues in coverage as it is. If the Falcons think they can coach him up on that front, though, he's an interesting piece for Quinn's defense.
Then there's Cravens.
Cravens is a fascinating player, a truly versatile defender who teams are looking at for both linebacker and safety, and I'm not entirely clear on where the Falcons see him lining up. He'd be interesting in either spot and could be asked to play both, though I think his range and athleticism would make him a strong safety option for Atlanta. The major concern there is that he's not always a wrap-up tackler, and we've had quite enough of that at safety for the last several years.
Who's your preferred safety in this class?