Chargers Free Agency

Chargers Free Agency Preview: Brian Poole

By John Wozniak
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 16: Brian Poole #34 of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates after the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 16, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 16: Brian Poole #34 of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates after the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 16, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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While the Los Angeles Chargers’ first-round draft pick is on everyone’s mind, the front office is tracking unrestricted free agents.

Finding value players in free agency is always a challenge.

The secondary, led by Casey Hayward Jr. and Desmond King II, played its part in the Bolts’ winning season. Adding quality to the depth chart improves the Bolts’ chances of another winning season in 2019. In this edition of the free agency preview, Bolt Beat takes a look at Brian Poole.

Poole was given a three-year deal by the Atlanta Falcons, where he played in all but one regular season game between 2016 and 2018.

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – DECEMBER 09: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers is tackled by Brian Poole #34 of the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of a game at Lambeau Field on December 09, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – DECEMBER 09: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers is tackled by Brian Poole #34 of the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of a game at Lambeau Field on December 09, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Brian Poole – CB

Age: 26

Years Played: 3

2018 Salary: $630,000

Tackles: 195

Sacks: 5

Interceptions: 4

Fumble Recoveries: 2

Games Missed: 1

The Chargers have an opportunity to pick up a free agent without breaking the bank. Poole signed a three-year, $1.6 million contract in 2016 with the Falcons, an average annual salary of $541,167 (via spotrac). The 26-year-old is unlikely to demand a huge salary.

The Falcons got good value from Poole. He was in on over 2,000 snaps, but he will have to find a new team in 2019, as the Falcons are shaking up their backfield. NFL.com officially lists Poole as 5-foot-9. That’s a concern, but his height did not phase Dan Quinn, who also coached him with the Florida Gators.

PICKED!

Brian Poole picks off Cam Newton… going the other way! #RiseUp https://t.co/krrf4Pd2E1

— NFL (@NFL) December 24, 2016

More from Bolt Beat

Here’s PFF’s free agent breakdown of Poole:

Since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2016, Poole has been a mainstay in the Falcons’ secondary in slot coverage. In his rookie year, which culminated in a trip to Super Bowl LI, he logged over 1,000 snaps with 754 in coverage, 449 covering the slot. He finished with a career-best passer rating allowed that season at 91.2, a 69.1 overall grade and a 66.3 percent catch rate allowed. NFL teams are clamoring for interchangeable chess pieces on defense and Poole fits the bill as a depth option in covering the slot. via Profootball Focus

Pro football players are continually being asked to do more. Versatility separates positional players, it gives coaches options on the field. Quality interchangeable players aren’t always easy to find.

Poole gives hope to all undrafted free agents. He helped the Falcons to the Super Bowl in 2016 in his rookie year. One of the other 31 NFL teams might just pick up a bargain with Poole, and that could be the Chargers.

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