Round 5, Pick 149: Damontae Kazee
With the former of the two fifth-rounders, the Falcons went with a ball-hawk out of San Diego State. Right after the selection, experts were already chirping “steal”. Kazee is not the super-athlete, physical hitter that Dan Quinn is known for drafting, but this guy is a game-time player. There is nothing sexy about his size or speed, but when the tape is rolling, Kazee is constantly making plays.
Kazee probably would have been taken around this time in last year’s draft. He was named Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year and had 8 interceptions. Kazee decided to return for his senior season and was unfortunately only able to record 7 interceptions, but he was named Defensive Player of the Year in the Mountain West once again.
Do not let Kazee’s 5′ 10″, 184-pound frame fool you. He is a competitor and is not afraid to stick his nose in there and make tackles. He recorded 142 tackles including 8.5 for loss in his last two seasons with the Aztecs and forced 6 fumbles over his career. He may not have the ability to be an outside corner in the NFL, but I would not doubt this guy given his competitive nature. Atlanta got a rare player in the 5th round that can come in and contribute immediately. Atlanta will utilize him as a nickel-corner, and may possibly try him out at free safety given his ball skills.
Atlanta was able to turn their first two picks that they received from the Bills into really nice assets. Riley will immediately be able to come in and compete for playing time at linebacker. Then they select Kazee here, whose play may warrant a first-round grade. Many players have made it far in this league without being the biggest and fastest. Keanu Neal referred to the 40-yard dash as “overrated”, and several other NFL players have chimed in agreeing. However, the tape usually does not lie, and Kazee is a big-time player.