A QB? Kyle Pitts? Penei Sewell? A commerce? Atlanta Falcons have choices at No. 4


It’s beginning to play out just a little bit clearer now. For months, Jacksonville has been locked in throughout the draft. It’s appeared as if the New York Jets have been as effectively. Then, San Francisco traded all the best way as much as No. 3 and also you don’t do this except there’s a participant you recognize you badly need.

All of which units up very apparently for the Atlanta Falcons. Not essentially good. Undoubtedly not dangerous. Simply…attention-grabbing, as a result of it leaves new normal supervisor Terry Fontenot and new head coach Arthur Smith with choices of their first Falcons draft.

Engaged on the premise San Francisco or the Jets don’t pull a stunner, the highest three picks ought to go quarterback-quarterback-quarterback, with Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson anticipated to be two of these gamers.

The intrigue begins at No. 4. There are a couple of alternative ways for the Falcons to go.

Draft a quarterback

As a normal supervisor and coach, you don’t wish to be perennially selecting within the Prime 5. If you’re, you possible aren’t going to have your job for very lengthy. So whereas Atlanta is right here, investing in a quarterback could be one very apparent option to go.

How Atlanta handles this might rely on what its board seems like. If a quarterback the crew views within the Prime 5 is obtainable — and a minimum of of Trey Lance, Justin Fields and Mac Jones must be accessible — then it is smart to choose the signal-caller.

There are wrinkles right here, although. Barring an damage to Matt Ryan, a quarterback wouldn’t play in 2021. It will be extremely unlikely the quarterback would play in 2022, both, though based on Roster Administration System, Atlanta would save $23.75 million in cap house if he had been to be a chosen post-June 1 minimize (whereas nonetheless carrying $24,921,500 in useless cash).

So if Atlanta views the soon-to-be-36-year-old Ryan as a participant to construct round for the subsequent three years, then a quarterback wouldn’t make sense as a result of nearly half of the participant’s rookie contract will probably be sitting behind Ryan.

There are two causes to take a quarterback right here: Your plan is to maneuver on from Ryan someplace within the close to future after 2021 otherwise you consider the participant is so transformative he’s your quarterback for the subsequent decade-plus post-Ryan. If neither a kind of issues are true, higher to get an elite expertise at one other place and draft a quarterback afterward you possibly can doubtlessly develop.

Atlanta at present has one quarterback on the roster — Ryan — so the Falcons want somebody there. Who it’s might decide a lot in regards to the short- and long-term way forward for the franchise. It’s the primary really huge determination for Fontenot and Smith and one that might outline their early tenures.

Take Oregon offensive lineman Penei Sewell

The query right here may be how the Falcons view Sewell. He’s 6-foot-6, 325 kilos and has his expertise at sort out, so that will be the extra wise spot. Whereas it will be a shock to see him at guard — the Falcons have Jake Matthews and Kaleb McGary at sort out already, so guard could possibly be the short-term play. To take a participant you view as a long-term guard at No. 4 could be a stretch — the final guard to go within the Prime 10 was Quenton Nelson to Indianapolis in 2018 — but when the long-term play could be for Sewell to be a sort out, he could be well worth the funding.

McGary is underneath contract by way of 2022 and Matthews by way of 2023 so Sewell could possibly be inside for a 12 months earlier than transferring exterior since neither participant has assured cash left on their offers ought to Atlanta go this route. And taking a sort out within the Prime 5 isn’t remarkable — the Giants did so final 12 months at No. 4 with Andrew Thomas.

However Sewell will improve the offensive line if Atlanta picks him and will supply a blindside protector for the subsequent decade for whoever is enjoying quarterback for the Falcons. It gained’t be an thrilling choose, but it surely may be a secure one with a excessive ground and excessive ceiling. Sewell is an elite prospect.

Draft Florida TE Kyle Pitts

It might sound excessive to take a good finish at No. 4 — it hasn’t been accomplished within the Tremendous Bowl period. Simply twice has a good finish gone within the Prime 5: Corridor of Famer Mike Ditka in 1961 and four-time Professional Bowler Riley Odoms in 1972. Each went fifth.

That stated, Pitts is a distinct sort of participant and the NFL has developed offensively to the place tight ends have gotten extra beneficial by the 12 months in offenses. The 6-foot-6, 245-pound Pitts ran an unofficial 4.44-second 40-yard sprint time, jumped 33½ inches within the vertical and had 22 bench press repetitions at Florida’s professional day. He’s not what a good finish was. He’s what a good finish might find yourself being sooner or later.

“He’s a distinct chicken than what a standard tight finish has been,” stated Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell, a former NFL tight finish. “Or definitely has been after I performed.”

He’s younger, too, which theoretically means extra room for progress sooner or later. He gained’t flip 21 till October and elevated his manufacturing yearly at Florida (though he had fewer receptions in a COVID-altered 2020 season). In lower than three full seasons, he grew to become Florida’s all-time chief for receiving yards by a good finish (1,492) and second in receptions (100).

Tight finish is a tough place to transition to from school to the NFL, even for first spherical, Prime 10, picks. However Atlanta’s roster development might help right here, too. Hayden Hurst is within the final 12 months of his contract (though Atlanta might choose up his fifth-year possibility) and Lee Smith is on a one-year deal. At receiver, Calvin Ridley is in a contract 12 months (though, like Hurst, Atlanta has a fifth-year possibility) and Julio Jones is underneath contract till 2023.

However placing Pitts in a pass-catching corps with Jones, Ridley and Hurst could possibly be a nightmare for opposing defenses for the subsequent two seasons, a minimum of.

Commerce down

This goes again to the quarterback. If there are groups — Carolina, Denver, New England and Washington are candidates — who desperately need one of many remaining quarterbacks, Fontenot might transfer off of the choose and commerce down to choose up extra future draft capital. You want a keen commerce accomplice with a purpose to pull this off, however Atlanta may even have some choices.

Contemplating the state of the roster, this could not be the worst transfer if he had been in a position to pull it off. Buying and selling again additionally opens up a extra life like possibility of taking a defensive participant — linebacker Micah Parsons could possibly be accessible at Nos. 8 or 9, for instance, and defensive lineman Kwity Paye and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah could possibly be accessible later than that. Corners Caleb Farley and Patrick Surtain II might find yourself in that blend, too, relying the place Atlanta moved right down to. And different gamers could possibly be concerned right here, too, as the center of Spherical 1 is the place the highest defenders may begin coming off the board.

Atlanta has 20 gamers underneath contract for 2022, though that quantity might go up if Hurst and Ridley obtain their fifth-year choices, and the protection will want new, younger expertise. Whereas defensive gamers aren’t the elite of the elite on this 12 months’s draft, there are gifted playmakers accessible and if Fontenot can use No. 4 as a option to get extra picks to bolster the long-term constructing of the roster, it may be the most effective play for Atlanta to make if it isn’t in love with a quarterback.

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