Falcons Roster Review and Outlook: Safeties

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This is the final edition of a ten-part series reviewing the Falcons’ season and discussing the future outlook position-by-position. If you missed any other installments, be sure to check them out.

The Falcons’ safety group this year was evenly split between newcomers and old-timers, with veterans Duron Harmon and Erik Harris being brought in to mentor Richie Grant and Jaylinn Hawkins.

Harmon played in all 18 games and totaled two interceptions, five pass breakups, 67 tackles, two tackles for loss, and allowed catches on 69% of targets. I had high hopes for him when Atlanta acquired him, but he ended up being a mediocre performer for the defense in 2021.

After suffering a season-ending injury, Harris only played in 14 games, but he totaled six pass breakups, 60 tackles, three tackles for loss, and allowed receptions on 70% of targets. Harris’s performance was just as unimpressive as Harmon’s.

Jaylinn Hawkins notched two interceptions, one pass breakup, 19 tackles, and gave up completions on 70% of targets. Entering his third season in the NFL, Hawkins has shown flashes of greatness, occasionally demonstrating his ability to be a real difference-maker on the back end. He’s still got consistency issues, but hopefully, he’s ready to step into a starting role in 2022.

The lone rookie of the position group, Richie Grant totaled two pass deflections, 28 tackles, and allowed receptions on nearly 80% of targets. Grant played more nickel back than traditional safety, but it’s unclear how the Falcons see him in 2022.

With so much investment in Grant and Hawkins, I’d be surprised if the Falcons brought back either Harmon or Harris. However, if Pees sees Grant as the future at nickel and decides not to re-sign Isaiah Oliver, I could see Atlanta retaining either Harris or Harmon for next season.

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