Jermaine Grace’s story is one of perseverance. An UDFA out of Miami in 2017; he wound up making the 53-man roster for the Falcons only to be released after five games. He then spent short stints with the Colts, Browns, and Seahawks before returning to Atlanta’s practice squad. Now, he’s vying to make the active roster once again, and he’s doing a damn fine job of making sure everybody knows who he is.
Dan Quinn talked a few weeks ago about how Grace reminds him of Deion Jones because of his speed and coverage skills – two attributes that are becoming necessities for linebackers in today’s pass-happy NFL. In week one of the preseason, those coverage skills were on display against Josh Rosen and the Miami Dolphins.
Jumped the route!@AtlantaFalcons LB Jermaine Grace intercepts Josh Rosen's pass. #ATLvsMIA pic.twitter.com/iqm11JfrhN
— NFL (@NFL) August 9, 2019
However, that’s a ball that never should have been thrown in the first place and a relatively simple play for Grace to make. I’ve been much more impressed with what he has been able to do in the two games since against the Jets and Redskins.
Grace led the team in tackles versus the Jets with six. Then played perhaps his best game of the preseason yesterday against the Redskins. He made several plays in coverage, including this one on a critical third down in the red zone.
Jermaine Coup de Grace highlights from #WASvsATL: pic.twitter.com/q4YtXw8jtC
— Aaron Freeman (@falcfans) August 23, 2019
But even better to me were the plays following when the receivers caught the ball, and Grace was able to show off his lightning-quick closing speed and power behind his pads, preventing any yards after the catch.
I don’t think many people can do what Deion Jones does, and it’s only preseason, but it’s difficult not to acknowledge their similar playing styles and talent. We know Deion Jones, Foyesade Oluokon, and De’Vondre Campbell are locks to make the roster and probably play the majority of snaps. Duke Riley had a fantastic showing yesterday, so he will likely make the 53-man as well. But after that, nobody is more deserving than Grace who has proven he belongs on an NFL team. Those five should be your Falcons linebacking core entering week one of the season.