Outside Options for the Atlanta Falcons
There are not many good free agent cornerbacks on the market for the Atlanta Falcons to choose from. Former Falcon Brent Grimes is still available. He logged an unimpressive 61.0 PFF coverage grade last season and has lost a step. He also had a less than amicable split from the team, following his first stint in Atlanta. Veteran Leon Hall is also still on the market, but he struggled big time in coverage last year with a grade of 57.1. Morris Claiborne who was once a top 10 NFL Draft Pick out of LSU, now finds himself still looking for work. He earned a 60.3 coverage grade from PFF, as a 15 game starter for the Jets last season. He would be a reclamation project, but one that might be worth taking on for the Falcons.
Veteran Orlando Scandrick is the best free agent cornerback option the Atlanta Falcons could sign. He was ranked cornerback number 40 for 2018 by Pro Football Focus. He posted a 70.4 coverage grade last season, a grade which was better than the 68.7 logged by Atlanta’s number one cornerback Desmond Trufant. He saw 68 snaps lined up in the slot and another 34 in the box. The 5’10 Scandrick has had several solid seasons during his ten-year career. The veteran who has nine interceptions on his NFL resume, would be a welcomed addition to the Atlanta Falcons secondary. Scandrick carried a 1.5 million dollar cap hit for the Kansas City Chiefs last season, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility, for Atlanta to land him for the veterans minimum.
Other than signing Orlando Scandrick, the Atlanta Falcons should definitely be monitoring the waiver wire in search of experienced cornerbacks. In particular, cornerbacks that can defend from the slot are badly needed. The trade market is another option that general manager Thomas Dimitroff should be thoroughly exploring. In today’s passing oriented NFL, the nickel cornerback is a starter. Atlanta being one injury away at cornerback or free safety, from possibly having an inexperienced cornerback playing major snaps, must do something to shore up the position. In a league where rookies are often targeted by the opposition and flagged by the officials, slot cornerback is not the position that needs to go unaddressed.
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