Last season the Falcons had one of the better CB groups in the NFL with Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes- now with the fantastic acquisition of Asante Samuel this group is just plain nasty. While Robinson and Grimes are great man-cover corners, neither could be given the 'ball hawk' moniker. They both play the man better than they do the ball, and this results in excellent coverage, but not game changing interceptions.
Enter Asante Samuel- the definition of 'ball hawk'. Amassing 19 interceptions in the last three seasons he adds the perfect element to the Falcons' secondary that will really pair extremely well with Robinson. This allows Grimes to move into the nickel role, which is fantastic for the Falcons. Playing him as the #3 corner also ensures he's no to integral to the defense that if he leaves in a year they'll be left in the dark.
The 1,2 and 3 are set- those guys aren't losing their roles. However, the battle for the forth CB spot will be a fascinating one. Dominique Franks is a decent option, and played quite well in limited time in 2011, but Darren Walls and two UDFAs are looking to earn that spot. Ultimately I think the Falcons carry five cornerbacks this year, and don't sleep on UDFA signing Peyton Thompson out of San Jose State. Despite playing at a small school he came up big with 7 interceptions in his career, and was a leader on special teams. It's this ST ability that I think could find him a spot on the roster.
Who are we kidding though? This is all about Samuel, Robinson and Grimes. You won't find a better three cornerbacks on the same team outside of maybe Philadelphia, but unlike the Eagles the Falcons have the rest of the defense around them too. In a division where you need to see Brees, Newton and Freeman for six of your sixteen games it's vital to be able to make the QB's life difficult, and these corners can fill that role.
Projected Depth Chart
LCB: Asante Samuel/ Brent Grimes/ Peyton Thompson
RCD: Dunta Robinson/ Dominique Franks