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Atlanta Falcons talk: How will Damontae Kazee fare in his first start?

The promising

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not a definite that Damontae Kazee is starting just yet, but given that Ricardo Allen is in the league’s concussion protocol, it’s very likely. That means it’s time to consider how the young safety might do.

We’re all high on Kazee’s potential for a reason, I think. He’s not a prototype athlete at the safety position, but he was insanely productive in college because he has the hands of a wide receiver and absolutely brilliant instincts. If you’ve seen any of his college game tape, what stands out again and again is how he diagnoses plays and gets himself in a position to disrupt them.

How smoothly and cleanly those skills translate to the NFL is up for debate, and we’re about to find out when Kazee takes the field against the Bills. The team has enough pieces in the secondary to hide Kazee a little bit, but he’s going to have to do some quality work against a Bills team that can surprise you with their talent, even if they’re not all that productive.

I expect Kazee to struggle a bit on Sunday, particularly with the open field tackles Allen is so adept at making, but I also would not be at all surprised if he comes away with a huge pass deflection or even an interception. It’ll likely be like that until Kazee gets the experience and evens out, but so long as he makes up for mistakes with a quality play or two, I expect we’ll be okay.

How do you think Kazee will do Sunday? Once you’ve answered, use this as your Friday night open thread.