Atlanta Falcons rookie safety Damontae Kazee hasn’t played a single regular season game yet. Heck, he’s greener than grass. (Unless we’re talking about Dave’s grass, which is weed-ridden and brown.) But that hasn’t stopped Kazee from getting an incredible amount of hype, particularly given his status as a fifth round draft pick.
NFL.com’s Ike Taylor published an interesting list yesterday afternoon. It highlights five defensive players on the rise, at least from Taylor’s perspective. Three of the five players have NFL experience, while two are rookies. Kazee was one of the two rookies. T.J. Watt, the 30th overall pick in April’s draft, was the other. Here’s part of Taylor’s glowing review:
Kazee has balled out in training camp and preseason as a free safety for the Falcons. He's earned first-team reps and has made several impressive plays. Kazee has outstanding awareness and ball skills, which will make it hard for Dan Quinn to keep him off the field, even with a deep secondary. Expect big things from a guy who reminds me a lot of Earl Thomas and Tyrann Mathieu -- both small, dominant free safeties.
Taylor is so bullish on Kazee that he goes on to suggest that the Pro Bowl could be in the 24 year old’s not-so-distant future. While I love seeing any Atlanta Falcons draft pick get hyped, this all seems a little premature. For now Kazee looks to have been a steal in the draft, and the Falcons are lucky he fell so far. He’s solid depth headed into the season, and I doubt Ricardo Allen doesn’t have his head on a swivel. That said, it’s going to take more than complimentary write ups by NFL analysts to help him unseat Allen.