Yesterday, Thomas Dimitroff met with the media via video conference, and today it was Dan Quinn’s turn. Dimitroff talked about several topics from the new acquisitions to the upcoming NFL Draft. Quinn dealt with many of the same questions, but there was one especially intriguing aspect. When asked about whether Foye Oluokun is ready to step up into a starter’s role following the departure of De’Vondre Campbell in free agency, Quinn responded, “I know that he is.”
Asked if Foye Oluokun was ready to step into a starting role with De'Vondre Campbell gone to Arizona: "I know that he is." #Falcons
— William McFadden (@willmcfadden) April 8, 2020
Oluokun was a sixth-round pick out of Yale in 2018, where he actually played safety. He bulked up in his first year with the Falcons and switched positions to linebacker, appearing in all 16 games as a rookie and starting in seven — thanks to an injury to Deion Jones. It wasn’t perfect, but Oluokun proved to be a tackling machine, racking up 91 of them as a part-time starter and grading out as a 65.7, according to Pro Football Focus, which was much better than his running mate, De’Vondre Campbell, who graded out as a 57.4.
Despite that, the Falcons stuck with Campbell as the starting linebacker in 2019 — no matter how much he struggled. Oluokun still played in all 16 games but only received three starts, tallying 62 total tackles. Once again, he graded out significantly better than Campell — a 62.7 compared to a 50.1 — which is why many Falcons fans were wondering why Quinn didn’t utilize him more in the first place.
Oluokun should be a slight upgrade over Campbell and could end up being a significant one if he continues to develop in a larger role. It looks like the Falcons are set with their starting linebackers, so I would take that out of the equation in the first round, considering their other, more glaring needs — like on the defensive line and at cornerback. However, I do expect them to bring in at least one more linebacker, whether it be through free agency or the draft.
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