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Atlanta Falcons News

Falcons Urged to Target Ex First-Round Defender

The Atlanta Falcons had a putrid offensive performance against the Detroit Lions in Week 3. But the roster addition the Bleacher Report NFL staff is calling for the Falcons to make is on defense.

The BR staff is imploring the Falcons to pursue free agent cornerback William Jackson III.

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“Jeff Okudah’s tenure with the Lions was marred by injuries and he missed the Falcons’ first two games of this season with a bad ankle,” the BR staff wrote. “That has forced the team to dive into its depth chart to find another starting corner to play opposite of A.J. Terrell.

“Even though Okudah suited up this week, his history suggests that he can’t be counted on to stay healthy, so the Falcons should bring in a proven veteran for some insurance, especially since they’re gunning for a division title.

“While Jackson III has battled through injuries in recent years as well, he at least has a résumé that includes 51 career passes defended to add some depth to the position group for the Dirty Birds.”

The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Jackson at No. 24 overall in the 2016 NFL draft. But he never lived up to his first-round billing.

In four seasons with the Bengals, Jackson registered 3 interceptions and 41 pass defenses. He spent the past two seasons with the Washington Commanders and Pittsburgh Steelers. However, he never played a game for the Steelers because of a back injury.

Suggesting the Falcons add a player who has missed 18 games since 2021 because of Okudah’s injury history is interesting. Especially when Okudah just returned and played fairly well in limited action.

With 11 defensive snaps, Okudah posted a 66.5 player grade (out of 100) at Pro Football Focus in Week 3.

But as Detroit displayed on Sunday, it’s not possible to have too much depth. The Lions were missing seven key contributors, including three starters in the secondary, in Week 3.

Yet, that didn’t stop the Lions from holding the Falcons to 139 passing yards and 3.1 yards per pass.

With Jackson being a former first-round talent, it might not be the worst idea to take a flier on him. Although he won’t do anything to help Atlanta’s bigger problem — the passing attack on offense.