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Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Despite adding Lowery, safety still needed

By Vaughn McClure

The Atlanta Falcons desperately needed free safety help after losing out on restricted free-agent Rafael Bush, who re-signed with the New Orleans Saints.

So rather than waiting around, the Falcons dug deep into the thin free-agent market and picked up veteran Dwight Lowery, last with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Although the 5-foot-11, 212-pound Lowery comes to Atlanta with 41 career starts to his credit, his addition doesn't automatically push him into the starting lineup alongside strong safety William Moore. Remember, Lowery has been on the street for a while after being released by the Jaguars. In all fairness to him, he suffered a season-ending concussion last September after taking a hit from then-Seattle Seahawks receiver Golden Tate. The injury led to Lowery's release.

Lowery, who began his career as a cornerback with the New York Jets, has a chance to prove he has recovered from what obviously was a significant concussion. But the Falcons likely look at him as more of a stop-gap guy as they continue to search for the long-term solution.

The void at free safety was created when the Falcons decided to part ways with veteran Thomas DeCoud, who struggled tackling and wasn't making enough plays on the ball. The Falcons figured they had the new starter in Bush, who has a friendship with Moore. But the Saints matched the Falcons' two-year, $4.5 million offer.

Now the Falcons likely have to groom a rookie for the future. It's just a matter of how high they'll invest a draft pick for safety help. They've conducted a private workout with one of the top safety prospects in Louisville's Calvin Pryor, a projected first-round pick. They also like Northern Illinois' Jimmie Ward based on how Ward performed at the Senior Bowl. Ward is, however, coming off foot surgery.

The Falcons still has a few weeks to get a closer look at some safety prospects. One of them likely will become a starter. But for now, Lowery is the insurance plan.The Atlanta Falcons desperately needed free safety help after losing out on restricted free-agent Rafael Bush, who re-signed with the New Orleans Saints.

So rather than waiting around, the Falcons dug deep into the thin free-agent market and picked up veteran Dwight Lowery, last with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Although the 5-foot-11, 212-pound Lowery comes to Atlanta with 41 career starts to his credit, his addition doesn't automatically push him into the starting lineup alongside strong safety William Moore. Remember, Lowery has been on the street for a while after being released by the Jaguars. In all fairness to him, he suffered a season-ending concussion last September after taking a hit from then-Seattle Seahawks receiver Golden Tate. The injury led to Lowery's release.

Lowery, who began his career as a cornerback with the New York Jets, has a chance to prove he has recovered from what obviously was a significant concussion. But the Falcons likely look at him as more of a stop-gap guy as they continue to search for the long-term solution.

The void at free safety was created when the Falcons decided to part ways with veteran Thomas DeCoud, who struggled tackling and wasn't making enough plays on the ball. The Falcons figured they had the new starter in Bush, who has a friendship with Moore. But the Saints matched the Falcons' two-year, $4.5 million offer.

Now the Falcons likely have to groom a rookie for the future. It's just a matter of how high they'll invest a draft pick for safety help. They've conducted a private workout with one of the top safety prospects in Louisville's Calvin Pryor, a projected first-round pick. They also like Northern Illinois' Jimmie Ward based on how Ward performed at the Senior Bowl. Ward is, however, coming off foot surgery.

The Falcons still has a few weeks to get a closer look at some safety prospects. One of them likely will become a starter. But for now, Lowery is the insurance plan.