As miserable as the Falcons defense has been in 2020, former sixth-round pick Foye Oluokun has been absolutely exceptional. I wrote back in January that he would step up and be a key piece, but I never expected this level of production. I knew that De’Vondre Campbell’s time in Atlanta was as good as done, and Foye was the next man up. Thankfully, he’s delivered.
LB Foyesade Oluokun before coming out of the game on Sunday:
-3 forced fumbles
-Elite 91.3 overall grade pic.twitter.com/BGJbnNVgei
— PFF ATL Falcons (@PFF_Falcons) September 22, 2020
Granted, this is only one game, but Foye has kept up the intensity since recovering from the injury he suffered against Dallas. He has 40 combined tackles, 2 TFL, 3 FF, and an INT in 2020. In Week 6 against the Vikings, Oluokun graded out at 74.8, according to PFF — 10th among all linebackers. The signs were there in 2019.
Foye Oluokun finally has enough snaps to qualify and he’s currently the 16th(!) rated LB per PFF while De’Vondre Campbell is the 70th rated LB out of 87 qualifiers.
Oluokun needs to see more of the field and not just in garbage time.
— #BringMeBieniemy (@mattkaroly) December 10, 2019
Top-5 #Falcons PFF Defensive Grades vs. Cardinals
1. LB Foyesade Oluokun – 90.6
2. DE Takk McKinley – 78.3
3. DB Kendall Sheffield – 77.0
4. DT Grady Jarrett – 72.5
5. DB Damontae Kazee – 68.7
— Evan Birchfield (@EvanBirchfield) October 14, 2019
Oluokun only played NINE snaps in that Cardinals game. I have to give Thomas Dimitroff credit — Oluokun was a heck of a steal in the sixth-round. The converted safety out of Yale has been undoubtedly the biggest surprise of the Falcons defense this season. Now, interim head coach Raheem Morris wants him to get back to his roots.
Raheem Morris says the Falcons have a package on defense that utilizes Foye Oluokun at defensive back. He's one of the most versatile and intelligent players on Atlanta's defense. "He's evolved into one of the premier linebackers in the league."
— William McFadden (@willmcfadden) October 21, 2020
It’s exciting to see some creativity, and Oluokun could be used in an Isaiah Simmons at Clemson type hybrid role. He’s played inside and outside linebacker, and I think he’s fast enough to be used as a safety. He’s shown he’s perfectly capable at sub-linebacker next to Deion Jones in nickel situations.
As exciting as Atlanta’s offensive pieces will be for a new head coach/general manager pairing — Oluokun, Jarrett, Terrell, and Jones are equally as enticing on the defensive side of the ball.
I wrote about 4th round rookie Mykal Walker playing well so far, but having Oluokun emerge as a keystone piece on defense will give Atlanta some freedom during the draft. The pieces are there, and hopefully, both guys keep it up so Atlanta can focus on areas other than linebacker during the 2021 offseason.