Former Atlanta Falcons safety Keanu Neal has officially signed a one-year contract worth $5 million that reunites him with Dan Quinn in Dallas. This, however, leaves the Falcons without a true top safety on roster. Currently, the team looks to be starting fourth round pick Jaylinn Hawkins and newly signed free agent Erik Harris as their two safeties.
Hawkins started two games for the Falcons last season but did not make a big impact. He was a bit of a surprise pick to many, as lots of draft analysts did not value Hawkins as highly as the Falcons took him. He looks to get a chance to compete for a starting job, but with a new front office and geocaching staff, there are no promises or ties to him.
Harris, on the other hand, brings a veteran presence to a young Falcons secondary. Harris spent time in the CFL before playing with the Saints, and most recently with the Raiders. He started 12 games for the Raiders last year and had a decent season but looks to be a key depth piece with the potential to start.
Can the Falcons find their Neal replacement in the draft?
With the initial free agency wave passed, and the Falcons being in rough cap space, the team will likely turn to the 2021 NFL Draft to find help in the secondary and more specifically the safety position. Both Harris and Hawkins will get their fair chances to start for the Falcons, but with only three safeties under roster currently, the team will need both young starting talent and depth as they look to fill out the roster.
Here are three targets on day-two and beyond the Falcons could land as a replacement for the departed Neal.