4. Foyesade Oluokun
Another name highlighted as a player the Falcons should build around. Foye entered 2021 as the MLB2 on the Falcons depth chart, under Deion Jones. He ended the season with 6 pass deflections, 3 interceptions, and an incredible 192 tackles, which is the 7th most in a season in NFL history. He also took on the role of the “quarterback of the defense”, calling plays in the huddle. A role Jones had previously filled. Oluokun ended 2021 as the Falcons MLB1. He absolutely needs to remain in that role.
Let’s not rehash old arguments. But it should be very clear that this defense, weak as it is, would be worse with the loss of Oluokun. The Falcons felt they’d be in a better place by removing duties from Deion Jones. Reverting to the old system would be an actual regression in the eyes of the coaching staff. It simply wouldn’t instill any level of confidence from the fans in this defense making steps forward.
The issue the Falcons will run into is finances. Yes, they’ve made some moves to free up a bit of space. But Oluokun is coming off an incredibly productive season and will be looking to command a wage accordingly. Can the Falcons justify shelling another $10 mil a year on a position that already has Jones accounting for $20 mil in 2022? It would be a difficult sell. But for the Falcons to take progressive steps defensively, it might be one they need to make.