One of the position groups that could look drastically different for the Falcons in 2021 is the safety position.
Following the news of veteran free safety Ricardo Allen being released last week and both Damontae Kazee and Keanu Neal scheduled to become free agents, the Falcons could be looking for two new starters at safety depending on how things shake out.
Let's take a closer look at where the team stands at this position.
Who's still on the roster (players with * following their name are set to become free agents):
- Keanu Neal*
- Damontae Kazee*
- Sharrod Neasman*
- Jaylinn Hawkins
Neal, 25, started in 15 games for Atlanta in the 2020 season and recorded 98 tackles, three quarterback hits, one interception, one forced fumble and one sack. Following two consecutive years that ended in season-ending injuries, Neal has shown tremendous ability to overcome adversity and still perform at a high level. season that his market value will probably be significantly increased despite his injury history. When Neal's on the field, he makes his presence known with his physical style of play. In 49 games with the Falcons, Neal has registered 332 tackles, two interceptions, eight forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, 16 tackles for loss and one sack.
Kazee, 27, was placed on injured reserve early last season after tearing his Achilles. Prior to his injury, Kazee solidified his role as a play maker in the secondary for Atlanta. His best season came in 2018 when he led the league in interceptions with seven. In four seasons with the Falcons, Kazee has recorded 199 tackles and recorded five fumbles.
Neasman, 29, started in two games for the Falcons last season and has been a key special teams and depth player over the last five seasons. During his time in Atlanta, Neasman has tallied 64 tackles, one sack and 15 special teams tackles.
Hawkins, 23, was drafted in the fourth round of last year's draft. He started two games in his rookie campaign and registered seven tackles and one quarterback hit.
While general manager Terry Fontenot and coach Arthur Smith continue to evaluate their roster together ahead of free agency and the draft, the safety position appears to be one that could be at the top of their list.