Stephen Brashear/Associated Press
The biggest hole on the current Falcons roster is at free safety. Though, even if Thomas DeCoud had been brought back, it would have still been the biggest hole on the Falcons roster. The Falcons decided to go in another direction because they feel they have an upgrade.
When someone like Dwight Lowery, who missed most of last season due to injury, is considered an upgrade, that's sad. When a rookie who's raw like Dezmen Southward is considered an upgrade, that's even worse in a lot of ways.
But Lowery and Southward should be upgrades at free safety this year. They should show more range, ball skills and tackling ability in one season than DeCoud showed during six seasons. But the question now becomes who the best of the pairing is; it becomes who will start.
Southward has all the physical tools to be one of the best safeties in the NFL, yet he's so raw that it makes it tough to properly evaluate him. The Falcons need to work him in slowly during the regular season, throw him in during non-crucial situations like 1st-and-10 on the 45.
It will help him develop quicker than sitting on the bench would. Lowery should begin the season as the starter, but by the time the season ends, it'd be shocking if he remained the starting free safety. Atlanta needs more range than what Lowery provides at the position.
Projected Winner: Dwight Lowery
All stats used are from Pro Football Focus' Premium Stats (subscription required), ESPN.com, CFBStats or NFL.com. All combine and pro day info is courtesy of NFLDraftScout.com. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac and Rotoworld.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, college football, the NFL and the NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.