While the Falcons first team defense has looked good so far in the preseason, they still lack depth across the board, especially in the secondary. Atlanta ranked dead last in pass defense last season, and although they have a terrific cornerback in Desmond Trufant, the rest of the secondary is very vulnerable. Dawan Landry spent the 2014 season as a member of Rex Ryan’s defense in New York. The 9 year veteran was not expected to get a ton of playing time for the Jets heading into the 2014 season, however he ended up playing in all 16 games and recording 106 combined tackles.
ProFootballFocus ranked Landry as the 9th best safety in the NFL last season. That is well better than the Falcons first safety from last year on the list, Dwight Lowery, who left to Indianapolis in free agency. William Moore is the Falcons most experienced body in the secondary, but has struggled mightily with injuries over his career. Landry has played in 16 games in 6 straight seasons in the NFL, and is a big hitter who grades out well against both the run and the pass. He also brings a lot of veteran experience to a secondary full of young guys.
The current secondary situation for the Falcons is cloudy heading into the regular season, but the safety position is the biggest question mark on the defense. Ricardo Allen currently holds the number one spot on the depth chart at free safety. Allen was cut last year, but re-signed with the Falcons as a member of the practice squad. He impressed mightily throughout the entire offseason and especially in training camp. He earned the starting job heading into the preseason and performed well for his first times on the big stage. Quinn seems to hold Allen in high regard, but that will not matter if he cannot get the job done on Sundays.
The Falcons backup safeties currently consist of Kemal Ishmael and Charles Godfrey. Ishmael was a 7th round pick by Atlanta in 2013. After barely seeing the field in 2013, Ishmael played in all 16 games in his sophomore season and was actually a nice surprise. He combined for 98 tackles and intercepted 4 balls, however, he did have a tendency to get beat in coverage. Ishmael has looked good so far this preseason and looks to be a nice piece to the Falcons secondary in 2015. On the other hand, Godfrey is a current veteran safety on the Falcons who has not impressed in the preseason. Godfrey has started just three games over the last two seasons after starting 72 games in his first five seasons with the Carolina Panthers. Godfrey’s age has certainly gotten to him over the years and Landry could certainly be a step up.
Even though the season is approaching rapidly, there has not been a lot of buzz around Landry in free agency. He will be entering his 10th season in the NFL and will be turning 32 at the end of this year, but he was a terrific surprise for the Jets last season and could do the same thing for the Falcons this year. Atlanta needs better depth in the secondary, and the addition of Landry would likely come cheap. If he does sign with the Falcons, he might actually turn out to be the most consistent safety on the team.