Continuing with our list of Atlanta Falcons 2020 breakout candidates, we focus on a linebacker that should become a full-time starter for the first time in his career with De’Vondre Campbell out of the picture. If you missed our first two parts of this series, click the links below:
Oluokun was selected in the sixth round out of Yale two years ago. While in college, he was a bone-crushing safety, but Dan Quinn viewed him as a linebacker, and he quickly made the switch. As a rookie, Oluokun appeared in all 16 games and started in seven of them, thanks to a season-ending injury to Deion Jones. But not only did he play; he played rather well, racking up 91 tackles and forcing one fumble.
With Jones healthy in year two, Oluokun returned to more of a reserve role but still played in all 16 games and started in three. However, with his improved play, many wondered why Quinn didn’t turn to him more often. Still, he recorded 62 tackles and once again forced one fumble.
This offseason, the Falcons decided they couldn’t pay Campbell, but it became much easier to part ways with him knowing they have a player like Oluokun in the fold. Some wondered whether the Falcons would add another linebacker this offseason, and they did, drafting Mykal Walker in the fourth round. But while Walker will compete for some playing time, Oluokun is the clear-cut starter heading into training camp, and coaches and the players have his back.
Earlier this offseason, Dan Quinn didn’t hesitate when asked if he believes Oluokun is ready to take over the starting job next to Deion Jones, saying, “I know that he is.” And just yesterday, someone asked cornerback Isaiah Oliver the same question, and he went even deeper than that:
Isaiah Oliver says people don't fully understand how great of an athlete linebacker Foye Oluokun is. He was a former safety at Yale and has showed that athleticism with the #Falcons
— William McFadden (@willmcfadden) May 20, 2020
Oluokun is a tackling machine that could be even better than Campbell in coverage, given his background as a safety. Last year, he graded out as a 62.7, according to PFF, and he was even better the year before (65.7). Falcons fans should have no worries about their starting linebacker situation. Although their depth could be problematic if one of Jones or Oluokun goes down.