Falcons Plan to Let Kemal Ishmael Walk: Report

Kemal Ishmael

getty Kemal Ishmael #36 of the Atlanta Falcons.

The Atlanta Falcons will not re-sign safety and linebacker, Kemal Ishmael for the 2020 season, according to a report from the AJC.

Ishmael’s NFL agent, Fred Lyles was the source that told AJC so it seems like this one is permanent.

A safety out of Central Florida, Ishmael was selected by the Falcons in the seventh round (243rd overall) of the 2013 NFL draft. Since then, he has had year-to-year deals with Atlanta as a backup and key player on the special-teams roster.

Ishmael’s Scouting Report

Height: 5ft 11in

Weight: 206 lbs

Career Stats: Ishmael has played in a total of 95 NFL games and made 23 starts. He finished his 95 games as a Falcon with 290 combined tackles, 5 picks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 sack, 6 tackles for loss, and 1 defensive touchdown.

Mike Smith was worried Ishmael lacked the speed and size he needed to start and so he played behind Veteran Thomas DeCoud and Zeka Motta who was drafted in the same class. When both were injured, Ishmael stepped in, but only played three defensive snaps during 2013.

He made the starting lineup in 2014, starting 10 games and playing in 14. As a rookie, he finished with four interceptions and appeared to be a regular starter. Although he was drafted as a safety, Dan Quinn became head coach and moved him to linebacker in 2016. 

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Back at Safety

Ishmael started three games during the 2019 season. Safety, J.J. Wilcox suffered a season-ending knee injury last season in training camp, so after Ishmael spent most of his time as a Falcon at linebacker, he was moved back to safety.  He would be returned to his original position as SS and saw 75 percent of his practice time at safety and the rest of 25 percent at linebacker. He also took over the role of Keanu Neal when he tore his ACL. 

Back at safety, he didn’t do his part in coverage which was clear considering he allowed the opposing receivers to sweep in 84% of their targets for over 200 yards and two touchdowns. However, Ishamael back at linebacker was still reliable in run support and as a tackler which makes him still worthy and he’ll have no problem moving on to another team.

There is a chance that he could return in the midst of the season if the Falcons find him needing him, but he does add a lot of value to special teams are other coaches are aware of his talents.

The Falcons seemed to really be changing this roster around, yet letting the good ones go knowing they’ll get snatched up quick. In most recent news they have decided to let all-star safety Austin Hooper hit the open market who costs a lot more than some teams can afford with the cap they’re at right now. They are also letting linebacker De’Vondre Campbell look at other options who has done nothing but help the Falcons in his years.

Ishmael gave the Falcons his all during his time in Atlanta and will end up elsewhere in good hands if he decides to continue his career in the NFL.

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