Atlanta Falcons 2020 Season Preview: Damontae Kazee
In sports, you have to be ready when your number is called, and Damontae Kazee is a walking example of that. When safeties Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal suffered injures, he was able to jump in right away and fill the void.
Kazee has played so well at safety over the past two seasons that the team will keep him there even though Neal is healthy again. Like Allen, he is a former fifth-round draft pick the Falcons found who came in and cemented his role with the team.
His numbers were down from 2018, but he was still extremely productive with three interceptions, one forced fumble, 74 tackles and two tackles for a loss. In 2018 he intercepted seven passes, recorded 82 tackles and one tackle for loss.
Kazee played in all 16 games last season and stared in 14 of those contests. This was his second full season playing safety, and the first year at free safety, but he picked it up extremely well.
In 2019, Kazee lined up at free safety as opposed to strong safety, where he played just over 800 snaps and 107 on special teams.
Neal is now back in the fold and the Falcons drafted Jaylinn Hawkins in the fourth-round of the draft. The team now has depth at the position, which is a good thing for them. Kazee is extremely versatile, he can play both safety positions and nickel, which allows him to move over the field in different defensive alignments. More importantly, it allows him to be on the field with Neal and Allen at the same time.
One thing that will interesting to see from Kazee this year is how much he can continue to grow. This will be his third full season at the position after moving from cornerback and playing primarily special teams in 2017. It seems he will stick at free safety this season, so his growth there will be something to watch this season. While he may not have All-Pro potential, he has the makings of a very good starting safety in the NFL.