The Talented Secondary Of The Atlanta Falcons Are Looking To Build Off Of A Productive 2018 Season.
This is the third article in this three-part series that covered the players on the Atlanta Falcons that I would recommend buying ahead of the 2019 season. Part one covered the recommendations on the defensive line and part two covered the linebackers. This article will cover the secondary.
Desmond Trufant, Cornerback:
Desmond Trufant had a down year in 2017 and wanted to get back to the player he was in the 2013 and 2014 seasons in 2018. With the team’s secondary being fairly young, it was up to Trufant to lead the way and that’s exactly what he did, thanks in large part to his experience. Desmond, 28, finished with 55 tackles and 12 pass deflections over 16 games. Desmond Trufant has always been someone that I liked coming out of the University of Washington due to his size, athleticism, and play making ability. I think he is someone that Dan Quinn will be leaning on once again in 2019.
He has been a very solid cornerback for most of his career and I see him building on his 2018 season. In my experience, Trufant is someone who usually flies under the radar, in IDP leagues, but every year there is that cornerback that you traded for or grabbed off the wire that pays off big. I think he will be that guy in 2019 and he’s someone who I’d get off the wire or try to acquire with via trade for a late round pick.
Keanu Neal, Strong Safety:
His 2018 season was basically over before it really started. Keanu Neal, 23, started the season opener, but injured his knee in the third quarter and didn’t return. It was later determined that he sustained an ACL injury, thus ending his season. This was a huge blow to the Falcons defense and to IDP owners. Neal was trending up in 2018 and was a play maker and a snap hog in his prior two seasons. Shortly after the new year the Atlanta Falcons picked up Neal’s fifth-year option for 2020.
I, like the Falcons, have a great amount of confidence in Neal’s ability to rebound from what was basically a lost season and show that he can, once again, be one of the better young safeties in the league. He makes a great buy low for 2019, and I have no concerns about offering a mid round or even a late early round pick if needed to secure his services.
Damontae Kazee, Safety:
When Keanu Neal went down in the season opener, the Atlanta Falcons turned to, 25 year-old, Damontae Kazee to fill the void. Not only, did Kazee, a 15 game starter, fill in, but he also made a great case to be a starter in 2019 with his 61 tackles, 7 interceptions, and 10 pass deflections in 2018. I was lucky enough to get him off the wire in two of my three leagues ahead of week two and he was a weekly starter from that point on. I am looking for Kazee to build off last season’s success and is someone I’d be looking to get.
I think Kazee has the potential to finish 2019 as a top 10 safety in IDP leagues and thus he is someone that I would see if you can get for a mid round pick or a late early round pick. Some owners might be unsure of what 2019 could be like for Kazee, so if you act now, I think you can get him for less then what his production will be at the end of next season.
Anytime you have a young, productive, and aggressive secondary it usually means great production from an IDP standpoint. Depending on what your team needs, I think each one of these players will be great additions for the upcoming season. If I had to pick in order of priority I would choose Kazee, Neal, then Trufant. Hopefully, you find these recommendations helpful in your quest to build that championship roster for 2019. Please keep an eye out for part one on the Baltimore Ravens.