FLOWERY BRANCH — In addition to filling the right cornerback spot during Jalen Collins’ four-game suspension, the Falcons must find some depth at nickel and outside.
The Falcons must find out if Akeem King, a converted safety and seventh-round pick in 2015, is ready for action.
Robert Alford could actually start at right cornerback in the base until Collins is ready. Then slide inside in the nickel while King comes in at right cornerback.
The Falcons, who looked at veterans cornerbacks Leon Hall and Brandon Boykin over the offseason, must decide if King is a viable option.
King, who played in five games as a reserve, had one tackle and one pass breakup over 15 snaps last season, had a strong offseason.
“He’s now starting to come into his own,” secondary/senior assistant coach Marquand Manuel said.
The most intriguing prospect in the cornerback group is C.J. Goodwin, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound converted wide receiver and former college basketball player.
“He’s competing,” Manuel said. “He’s doing an awesome job competing. He’s a natural attack-the-ball defender because of basketball.”
Goodwin, of Wheeling, W.Va., played basketball at Bethany College for two seasons. He went on to play football at Fairmont State and California (Pa.) before he signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I compare him a lot to the corner from Miami of Ohio that Green Bay drafted (Quinten Rollins),” Manuel said. “He’s a former basketball player who can come out here and actually play football. …I’m really excited to see what he ends up being. I’m encouraged.”
The Falcons used the 17th overall pick in the draft to select strong safety Keanu Neal. He’s slated to replace William Moore at strong safety.
Left cornerback Desmond Trufant, who started right away as a rookie in the NFL, has been impressed with Neal.
“He can move with the best of them,” Trufant said. “That’s what I was really impressed with. He just has to continue to grow mentally and things like that, but he’s looking good.”
THE DEFENSIVE BACKS
Cornerbacks — Akeem King, DeMarcus Van Dyke, C.J. Goodwin, Devonte Johnson, Jalen Collins, Robert Alford, Desmond Trufant, David Mims II and Jordan Sefon.
Safeties — Ricardo Allen, Robenson Therezie, Sharrod Neaseman, Brian Poole, Keanu Neal, Charles Godfrey, Kemal Ishmael and Damian Parms.
90-MAN ROSTER ANALYSIS — POSITION BY POSITION
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