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Falcons training camp battles: Who wins the third cornerback gig?

Will the Falcons stay inside the building or look elsewhere for their third cornerback?

Akeem King Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s open this one up by noting that Jalen Collins is the presumptive third cornerback when he returns from his four game suspension, and no one here is really going to quibble with that. If anyone ends up with the job over the long haul, it will be because they were incredibly impressive in a four game audition, and nobody here is going to be all that unhappy about that outcome.

During those four games, though, the Falcons are going to need to have someone other than Collins patrolling the field alongside the likes of Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford. Our staff has mulled the possible outcomes and delivered this piping hot set of predictions, so peruse and share your best guess in the comments with us, if you would.

Caleb Rutherford

CB3: C.J. Goodwin

The CJ Goodwin experiment is an interesting one because Goodwin could easily flame out and never play NFL football again, but an NFL coaching staff taking the time to teach a player a whole different position means there’s something to be had with that player. I think the Falcons are going to surprise some folks by trotting Goodwin out there as our third DB, potentially matching up with a TE in base nickel sets. He’s tall (6’3”), he’s got WR skills, and I don’t think expectations are too high for our third CB position. Akeem King is an interesting prospect - he’s my pick behind Goodwin - but he may not even make the team. The Falcons have a ton of DBs that have an outside shot of making the team. They used 10 total defensive backs last year, and only ~6 or 7 on the current roster are surefire locks to make the team. If the coaching staff is happy with the surefire players, we might see a few projects (like Goodwin) stick around.

The DW

CB3: Akeem King

This should be Jalen Collins, but his four game suspension makes it impossible. It’s still possible the team finds another veteran corner in free agency, but the early word out of camp is that King has been impressive. His size is a huge asset, so he figures to be lined up on the outside, with Alford sliding into slot for coverage in nickel and dime situations.

Dave Choate

CB3: Akeem King

The logical choice. King was drafted late last year, yes, but he’s got the length, physicality, and (arguably) ability that Dan Quinn looks for in his cornerbacks, so what’s working against him at this point is his lack of experience and competition on the roster. With Collins out of the way for a little while, we’ll get to see whether King is a long-term solution for the Falcons at corner or just a decent stopgap.

Kendall Jackson

CB3: Akeem King

Kendall Jackson refused to give up his reasons for selecting Akeem King, no matter how much he was tortured.

Allen Strk

CB3: Outside signing or trade

Similar to last year, the Falcons will make a significant late move to fill a massive need. James Stone couldn't transition into being a starting left guard based on poor games against the Jets and Dolphins. They were forced into trading a sixth round pick for Andy Levitre. After playing just forty snaps last season and not being a natural cornerback, it’s difficult to see Akeem King transitioning smoothly into playing a prominent role. Demarcus Van Dyke and C.J Goodwin don’t inspire much confidence either. Whether they trade for a disgruntled veteran like last year or sign someone, the third cornerback going into opening day is currently not on the Falcons’ roster.

William McFadden

CB3: Akeem King

This appears to be King’s job to lose, and I see two options that could play out. Either King continues to impress the coaching staff during training camp and wins the job while Jalen Collins is suspended, or he still looks like a developmental project and the Falcons sign a veteran stop-gap corner. The optimist in me wants to believe that King is ready for this chance and will make the most of it. At 6-foot-3, he is the type of corner that Quinn likes to work with and he’s shown flashes of potential. It’s about time someone unexpected breaks out for Atlanta’s defense. Why not Akeem King?