The Atlanta Falcons may have had the league’s worst linebackers only two years ago. Now they looked stacked from top to bottom, in part thanks to reportedly new linebacker Jermaine Grace. We will not know for sure until the Falcons announce it, and there is always the chance Atlanta makes a late waiver claim or two, but it seems that Grace will make the final roster, if not the practice squad.
So who is this guy?
Grace was suspended for... rental cars?
If you are wondering why you had not heard of Grace, it is probably because he was suspended all of last season for receiving discounted luxury car rentals. Really, NCAA? Great job protecting the integrity of college football.
Grace, the 6-1, 210-pound leading tackler (79) from the 2015 UM squad, was dismissed along with defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad on Aug. 27 because he violated NCAA rules in a highly publicized luxury car-rental case.
Setchen said Grace has been working out in Miami several days a week with former Hurricanes strength-and-conditioning coach Andreu Swasey.
It looks like Grace added another 13 pounds since he announced he would enter the league. That should push him into Deion Jones territory.
He was one of the best Miami players
It can get a little tough to stay on top of the team’s undrafted players. Under Mike Smith, being undrafted was a death sentence. However, a handful of undrafted guys have gone on to shine under Dan Quinn. Grace appears to have the talent to shine.
Grace, a Miramar, Florida native, was arguably UM’s best defensive player at the time he was dismissed last August amid a school investigation into several players’ dealings with a South Beach luxury car rental agency. He played in 37 games and started 10 — all in 2015, when he made a career-high 79 tackles and broke up five passes He finished his career with 147 tackles, 12.5 for losses, and dive sacks.
Grace missed out on that final season where some said he could have solidified his spot as a midround draft pick. After this preseason, I think it is fair to say that was a real possibility.
He can play special teams
LaRoy Reynolds has the always concerning second opinion, and our best guess is we will not see him again anytime soon.
Also I just love watching returners get blown up.
Grace took less money to come to Atlanta
Gotta love a guy who played his hand perfectly.
Former Miami LB Jermaine Grace turned down $30,000 from the Detroit Lions to sign for $5,000 with the Atlanta Falcons -- Situation was— Erick Marrero (@ErickMarreroU) April 30, 2017
Grace was a beast this preseason
No one made a surprising impact this preseason like Grace, who probably even edged out Chris Odom. Grace averaged over 8 tackles the last two games, along with an impressive pick. He ran at middle linebacker, and his scouting report suggests some similarities with Deion Jones. He’s a bit undersized, but speedy with some nice coverage ability. When Jones went out, we saw a completely different defense when Atlanta’s slooooooooooow backups came in. Grace looks like a much better fit in Quinn’s defense with his 4.56 40 speed.