Safety Ishmael Looking Like a Tackling Machine

Safety Ishmael Looking Like a Tackling Machine

Jay Adams

Published May 21, 2013 at 9:16 AM

There’s nothing that’s easy about selecting players in the NFL Draft. Sure, the first round offers a great crop of talent, but even that’s a challenging task for an NFL general manager and his scouting staff.

The real art of drafting, however, occurs in the later rounds, when finding that elusive diamond in the rough is what every GM hopes for. Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has shown prowess in those later rounds in his time in Atlanta.

With three seventh-round picks in 2013′s NFL Draft, Dimitroff had the ability to show once again that there’s talent to be found late on the third day, and he did so by drafting two safeties and a quarterback.

Central Florida’s Kemal Ishmael, the first of those three picks, looks to have all the potential in the world on paper and comes into next week’s start of OTAs with a solid college career, specifically in the tackling department.

Ishmael, in fact, was called one of the surest tacklers in the 2013 draft by Dimitroff — extremely high praise for a seventh-rounder.

Here’s why: Ishmael finished his four year career at UCF with 368 total tackles — good enough to be the Knights’ all-time leader in tackles among defensive backs and the third player in UCF history to lead the team in tackles three times during his college career.

Sure, the argument can be made that tackles are a subjective stat and kept differently everywhere, but to be in position to be credited with 368 career tackles is still a feat.

For comparison, Falcons safeties William Moore earned 280 in four years at Missouri and Thomas DeCoud had 115 in three years at Cal. Linebacker Akeem Dent had 240 at Georgia in four years and Sean Weatherspoon edged out Ishmael with 406 total tackles in four years at Missouri.

With two Pro Bowl safeties in Moore and DeCoud ahead of him, Ishmael looks like a strong contender to make an impact on special teams with his tackling skills. He’s certainly one to keep an eye on as the offseason rolls on.

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