Nov 16, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) is tackled by Atlanta Falcons strong safety Kemal Ishmael (36) during the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
When Thomas DeCoud was signed away, Falcon Nation took a deep breath and waited to see who would play the safety role. Evidently, Atlanta Falcons signed Dwight Lowery who had a history of concussions leading into the team. Many believed that targeting Arizona Cardinals Deone Bucannon was going to be our pick but, sure enough the Cardinals changed course when Bucannon was picked in the 1st round. We knew we couldn’t entirely focus on the safety position with unknown quantities in Atlanta Falcons 7th rounders Kemal Ishmael and Zeke Motta as our safeties. While Motta has had a very disturbing neck injury that may end his NFL career early, Ishmael has blossomed into his own earning 4 INT’s with 53 tackles with a fearless way of throwing his body into tackles. Not bad for a 7th rounder that many didn’t know where his place would be.
However, in the 3rd round of this past draft, the Falcons drafted Dezmen Southward out of the University of Wisconsin and to put it mildly, he was raw. While Southward can use better vision, he certainly has earned his role as a gunner on our Special Teams and giving opposing players a pop when their hit. Southward is still a rookie but, he is certainly finding a role with the team now.
With William Moore being the vocal leader of this team and Lowery being the veteran presence needed in the backfield, it’s clear that Southward and Ishmael could certainly benefit for sometime with this core group. Once the Atlanta Falcons establish a pass rush, we will reap the benefits from a ballhawk like nature that our Safeties have developed.