Fontenot was joined by Falcons’ head Arthur Smith, offensive coordinator Dave Ragone and quarterback coach Charles London, per Sports Illustrated.
This report would have meant less about a month ago, but after the Falcons traded away longtime quarterback, Matt Ryan, they could be in the market to draft a quarterback in this year’s draft with the 8th overall pick.
It’s also worth noting that his marks the second time that the Falcons have been up closer and personal with the 2022 Heisman Trophy finalist after first meeting with him at the NFL Combine.
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Pickett’s Journey to Heisman Finalist
As a 2020 senior, Pickett was set to enter the 2021 NFL draft, but he failed to produce the numbers that would have boosted his draft stock, thus he decided to stay another year. He took full advantage of eligibility granted by the NCAA as a result of the pandemic and returned for one last ride with the Pitt Panthers.
And it’s safe to say that it worked out in his favor as he finished the regular season with 314 completions for 4,066 yards and 40 touchdowns and topped it off with an ACC Championship win over Wake Forest.
The “Kenny Heisman” talk entered the chat in the midst of an incredible season as Pickett posted Heisman numbers starting with Georgia Tech, where he threw for 389 yards and four touchdowns.
Following the win, Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi gave his QB1 the Heisman nod.
“He should be a Heisman candidate,” Narduzzi said via ESPN. “It’s what he is right now. The guy is so smooth, he’s so calm. … He’s a smart football player, and it takes time to get that where you want it to be. He’s put the work in and he deserves what he’s getting right now.”
Not only did Kenny’s overall 2021 performance boost his draft stock from the third round to the first round, but he also joined Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud and Alabama QB Bryce Young as a 2021 Heisman Trophy finalist. He would go on to finish third in Heisman voting.
Falcons 2022 QB Outlook
After sending Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a third-round pick, the Falcons immediately signed free agent quarterback Marcus Mariota to a two-year deal.
This leaves the Falcons with two quarterbacks on their roster, Mariot and 2021 undrafted free agent Feleipe Franks.
Mariota, a 2014 Heisman Trophy winner, spent the last two seasons with the Las Vegas Raiders as a backup to Derek Carr. In two years, Mariota has thrown for 230 yards, one touchdown, one interception, 175 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.
As for Feleipe, he threw just one pass during his rookie season which was intercepted.
The Falcons will need to address finding their future franchise quarterback. Whether or not they do that in the draft a couple of weeks or wait one more year when they have more cap space remains to be seen, but Pickett could very well be their answer at No. 8 overall.
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