There are quite a few holes on this Falcons defense, but there’s one position group that isn’t being discussed as much despite a real need. That position group is the safety group.
As I have stated before, the safety group is potentially a year away from needing new starters. Given that Keanu Neal’s future is uncertain due to his injury history and Ricardo Allen’s contract is up after 2021, it’s appropriate to start looking for replacements. Damontae Kazee is also a free agent, so let’s take a look at one of the top prospects in the upcoming draft class, one Jeremy Chinn.
Chinn is a very athletic prospect from Southern Illinois that was highly productive. In his senior year, he accumulated 71 tackles, 4 interceptions and three pass breakups. Chinn not only has the size to play the strong safety position in this defense, but he has good ball skills as well.
Chinn also has good footwork for a man his size, which will make him a good man cover Safety with more development. He is certainly a compelling prospect that can be used in different ways by the right defensive coordinator, and if he winds up in Atlanta, Raheem Morris will hopefully be that guy.
- Excellent size and length for the position (6’3”, 221 lbs and 32 1/8’ arms)
- Excellent speed and athleticism (4.45 40 meter dash)
- Very good footwork for his size when in man coverage
- Highly competitive and an effort player
- Above average ball skills. Knows how to attack he ball in the air
- Has the size and physicality to be an in box safety
- Comes downhill in a hurry with bad intentions as a tackler
- Questionable instincts when in zone coverage
- Has issues when it comes to recognizing route combinations in front of him
- Can look lost when asked to play in space
- Seems to lower his head too often when making tackles, taking his eyes off his target
Jeremy Chinn is what Dan Quinn looks for in his safeties, as he’s big, rangy, tough and physical. He still needs to develop the nuances in his game when it comes to zone coverage, but he has the length and footwork right now to contribute immediately in man. Right now, Chinn has the physical stature and versatility to play in big nickel and have some LB responsibilities.
I see him as a second day pick who could emerge as a starter if the team looks to move on from Neal, and a long-term piece of the puzzle in the secondary.