The Atlanta Falcons have added lots of defensive free agent pieces in the hopes of the defense playing much better in 2023. Atlanta general manager Terry Fontenot just acquired another one.
The Falcons announced on July 29 that they have signed former Indianapolis Colts second-round pick Kemoko Turay. The 28-year-old played four seasons at linebacker for the Colts. Last season, he played defensive line for the San Francisco 49ers.
Indianapolis drafted Turay at No. 52 overall in the 2018 NFL draft. He started three games at linebacker as a rookie. During that season, he recorded 15 combined tackles, including 1 tackle for loss, 13 quarterback hits and 4 sacks.
But Turay never started again after his rookie season.
In Week 5 of 2019, he broke his ankle and missed the remainder of the season. He also sat out the beginning of the 2020 campaign. Turay finally returned in Week 11 of 2020.
During those two seasons, the second-round pick did not match the production he had during his rookie season. From 2019-20, he posted 9 combined tackles, 8 quarterback hits and 2.5 sacks.
Turay was healthy in 2021, playing in 13 games. He registered a career-high 5.5 sacks with 8 quarterback hits and 5 tackles for loss.
But the Colts didn’t bother retaining Turay after 2021. He left in free agency to sign with the 49ers.
In San Francisco, he had 1 solo in three games during 2022. He spent most of the season on the 49ers practice squad.
It is not clear what position Turay will play at Atlanta training camp. In the Falcons’ press release of the signing, the team called the 28-year-old an outside linebacker. But on the official team depth chart, Turay is listed as a defensive lineman.
In addition to Turay, the Falcons also signed defensive lineman Justin Ellis. Atlanta signed Ellis and Turay a day after head coach Arthur Smith suggested defensive tackle Eddie Goldman may retire.