This off-season the cornerback position for the Falcons has garnered a lot of attention. Between the contractual issues with Brent Grimes, and the trade that brought Asante Samuel it's easy to see why, however the most underrated move of Atlanta's FA period was the move that ensured FS Thomas DeCoud stayed a member of the Falcons long term.
It's apropos that DeCoud's signing was quiet- because it suits the player perfectly. Over the last three seasons there are few safeties in the National Football League who have played better, and many who played worse who got far more fanfare than the 2008 third round pick. Last season he amassed a career high 86 tackles, pairing them with a fantastic four interceptions. DeCoud was an impact player in all sixteen games, but was consistently undervalued. Thankfully the organization didn't think the same way as most of the football world, and they ensured he stayed in the fold.
Across from DeCoud is 4th year SS William Moore. While he did have a down 2011 campaign it was really due to injury, which sidelined him for four games. However, Moore still managed to finish the season with 54 tackles and two interceptions. Any time you see one position stacked with young starting talent you need to look at the source, and the fact DeCoud and Moore were taken in consecutive drafts shows you that the front office are doing a great job scouting the position.
In order to ensure the safety position remained strong Atlanta drafted Charles Mitchell in the 6th round as a cheap insurance policy for Moore. The Mississippi State rookie wont threaten Moore's starting spot, but he'll offer special teams help and grow into a contributor. The same can be said of Shann Schillinger who will backup DeCoud at the FS spot. He's valuable depth, though it's unlikely he'll ever figure into a starting role.
Projected Depth Chart
FS- Thomas DeCoud/ Shann Schillinger
SS- William Moore/ Charles Mitchell
While it's possible a 5th safety could find his way onto the roster, it's unlikely. This is one of the youngest, most talented safety units in the NFL and given the quarterback talent in the NFC South it's wise to keep the spot strong.