Best Atlanta Falcons all-time draft pick: Safety
Who is the best safety the Falcons have ever drafted? It doesn’t seem like a there is huge pool of players to select from. They’ve only selected three safety’s in the first round of the draft throughout the franchise’s history. Those three would are Clarence Ellos in 1972, Devin Bush Sr in 1995 and Keanu Neal in 2016.
There are other choices as well like Tom Pridemore, Scott Case, and William Moore.
All are solid options, but Case may be the best of the bunch. He was a second-round pick out of Oklahoma in 1984 and played 11 seasons in the back end of the Falcons defense. At 6-foot-one and 188 pounds Case wasn’t the biggest guy on the field but he was an absolute thumper and you could feel his presence.
He was drafted as a safety but moved around during his career playing corner, free safety, and nickel as well. In his 11 seasons with the Falcons, he recorded 959 tackles, 30 interceptions, one touchdown, and seven fumble recoveries. His best season came in 1988 when he had 10 interceptions, and selected to his only pro bowl.
Case was playing right cornerback at the time, because of some inconsistent and wild play at times. He played right cornerback in parts of four seasons but battled injuries as well. In 1990 he was moved to free safety and became an absolute tackling machine.
The move was made in 1990 and in that year alone he recorded 170 tackles to go along with three interceptions. The next year was more of the same with 162 tackles, two interceptions, and two fumble recoveries. The Falcons weren’t very good during these times, however, they only had one winning season and that was in 1991 when they won their first playoff game since 1978.
Case signed with the Dallas Cowboys in 1995 as a free agent where he played defensive back. The 12-year vet would help lead Dallas to a Super Bowl that year.
Although he didn’t win much in time in Atlanta he still left an impact on the franchise and is still loved by long time Falcon fans.
Moore gets some consideration for this as well, he was drafted in the second round of the 2009 draft and spent six seasons in Atlanta with the team. During his career, he recorded 364 tackles, 11, 16 interceptions, forced 11 fumbles and had 12 quarterback hits. He also added three and a half sacks.
Moore was added the 2013 pro bowl as an alternate. That season he had four interceptions, broke up nine passes and recorded 75 tackles.
Pridemore is a name that many diehards will love. The Falcons selected him in the ninth round of the 1978 draft. While he never made all-pro or a pro bowl team, he was a hard-hitting free safety in the backend for eight seasons. He was extremely durable playing in 26 games in all but one season.
Pridemore made his mark as an interception machine. He had 21 in his career for 372 yards and a touchdown.
The Falcons have been fortunate to have solid safety play throughout the years. If he can stay healthy Neal could join the ranks of Case and others.