On Friday, the 49ers leapfrogged to the No. 3 overall pick in next month’s NFL Draft, thanks to the Miami Dolphins. In exchange, the Niners surrendered their original No. 12 overall pick, a 2022 third-rounder (Robert Saleh compensatory selection), and a first-round pick in both 2022 and 2023, ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported.
In another report by Schefter, it turns out that the Niners discussed a potential trade with the Atlanta Falcons for their No. 4 overall pick.
This means either the Falcons or Niners couldn’t commit to the trade. However, this also means the Falcons could still be interested in trading back.
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The Falcons Are Open to All Possibilities
For the first time since 2008, the Falcons have a top 5 draft pick for the first time since taking Matt Ryan at No. 3 overall. This year, they’ll pick at number four, and Falcons GM Terry Fontenot said the franchise is open to “all possibilities.”
“There are so many different scenarios,” Fontenot said via AtlantaFalcons.com. “There are going to be some really good players there at No. 4. We can move up, and we can move down and acquire more picks. There’s just a lot of different scenarios to really go through. It’s a prime spot to be in. It’s not somewhere that we want to be in very often with this team, but we are going to take advantage of that and be open to all possibilities.”
With Matt Ryan starting this season, the Falcons shouldn’t be that desperate for another quarterback at No. 4, but you never know what could happen, hense the Niners surprising move.
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What if the Falcons Trade Up or Down?
The 2021 NFL draft class is stacked with quarterback talent, but if that’s the position the Falcons are looking for, Pro Football Focus believes Atlanta needs to trade up to select Justin Fields.
“Fields is extremely accurate, takes great care of the football, and has unparalleled wheels for the position, Anthony Treash of PFF writes. He may not come in right away and light up the league as a rookie if Atlanta were to have a change of heart and decide to trade Matt Ryan, but the talent is there for him to be a franchise quarterback.”
On the other hand, the Falcons could look to trade back if they aren’t in a hurry to draft a QB.
CBS Sports analyst Ryan Wilson has the Falcons moving back to select Florida Gators’ tight end, Kyle Pitts, at No. 8 overall. In return, the Falcons would receive more draft capital to use to help fill their roster vacancy.
Other game-changing draft needs for the Falcons are at edge rusher, cornerback, and a safety.