We are dealing with another Jalen Collins suspension, who apparently loves performance enhancing drugs more than playing football. We finally know why Collins was practicing with the third team defense, and it is because he is missing the first 10 games of the 2017 season.
Collins is curiously enough still on the roster, so the Falcons are probably giving him another chance to live up to his draft status. Or they will cut him as soon as he comes off of suspension.
What does it mean for the secondary? We know the top three corners will be Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford, and Brian Poole. After that, things get murky. Under Quinn, the team has typically kept nine defensive backs, with five or six corners.
The Falcons currently have C.J. Goodwin, Jarnor Jones, Damontae Kazee, Akeem King, Deji Olatoye, and Blidi Wreh-Wilson listed as cornerbacks. I expect them to keep Keanu Neal, Ricardo Allen, Sharrod Neasman, and Damontae Kazee as safeties, leaving five spots for pure corners.
C.J. Goodwin is probably the favorite for the number 4 spot. The converted wide receiver has been shining at camp, and has transitioned to his new position stunningly well.
I haven’t heard much from Jarnor Jones. He’s a big corner, and Dan Quinn definitely loves big corners. His 40 time is terribly slow. The undrafted free agent likely will have an uphill battle just to make the practice squad.
Rookie Kazee has been a little banged up, and is expected to play at both safety and corner. He should get some snaps but I am not sure if he is going to play serious time at corner. I would consider him a safety that can cover the slot, but would definitely be out of place covering a starting wide receiver outside. It will be interesting to see where he is played against the Dolphins. He’s guaranteed a roster spot regardless.
Akeem King flashed last season before ending up on injured reserve, but he’s been nearly invisible so far in camp. It’s tough to predict what to expect from King if he hasn’t been mention in the last week of training camp. King could realistically fall anywhere between a contributor, a practice squad player, or flat out cut. We probably need to see him in preseason to get a better feel on his abilities.
Deji Olatoye played in a handful of games last year and held his own. He’s been making an impression in camp, so I would predict he picks up a roster spot behind Goodwin. He’s cheap, young, and experienced enough to serve as the team’s fifth corner.
I’m not sure why Blidi Wreh-Wilson is still on the team. He may serve as a player they can sign in case of an emergency, but I don’t see him breaking into this group.
Five corners and no room for Collins
Looking at the this depth chart (Trufant-Alford-Poole-Goodwin-Olatoye-Kazee), I am not sure where Collins would have fit even if he was not suspended. If camp is any indication, he was probably battling Olatoye for the final corner spot. We did not hear about Collins doing much impressive even when playing in the third string defense, while Olatoye has raised some eyebrows.
Maybe this suspension won’t even matter, and the Falcons can make a decision on Collins in week 11. If the whole group makes it there healthy, Collins is probably gone.