The 2021 NFL Draft is right around the corner and the Atlanta Falcons face a tough decision with who they might select off the board at No. 4 overall.
In CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso’s latest mock draft, the Falcons draft top wide receiver of this year’s draft class, Jaylen Waddle, with their first pick out of nine total.
Trapasso’s reasoning revolves around Matt Ryan sticking around Atlanta for at least another season.
“Given the Falcons just restructured Matt Ryan’s contract — thereby making him more difficult to cut in 2022 — I would be focusing on more weaponry for him,” Trapasso wrote. “The defense needs work, but nothing is more valuable than offense in today’s NFL. And remember, Julio Jones is 32 and coming off an injury-plagued 2020.”
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Jaylen Waddle’s Scouting Report
Just this past season, Jaylen Waddle racked up 1,227 all-purpose yards, earning SEC Special Teams Player of the Year honors after returning a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown.
Pro Football Focus describes Waddle as “deadly” when he has the ball.
“Waddle is an explosive skill player and a lethal force any time the ball is in his hands,” PFF wrote in Waddle’s official scouting report. “He was well on his way to developing his game before sustaining an ankle injury last season, yet he still showed great progress on the field. The lack of size may be a limiting factor, but the speed and pass-catching skill displayed the past two years will lead anyone to the conclusion that Waddle offers big-time potential at the next level.”
Waddle’s 2020 season was cut a bit short after he suffered a fractured foot on a kick return that would require surgery. He returned for Alabama’s national championship win over Ohio State, but his best highlights came way before that.
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The Falcons Need a Game-Changer
The Falcons will have to choose wisely when picking at No. 4 because especially with several future Hall of Famers to choose from.
According to CBS Sports, the players listed below are the top 10 NFL draft prospects in 2021’s draft class:
1.Trevor Lawrence, Clemson QB
2.Penei Sewell, Oregon OL
3.Ja’Marr Chase, LSU WR
4.Zach Wilson, BYU QB
5. Micah Parson, Penn State LB
6. Justin Fields, OSU QB
7. Jaylen Waddle, Alabama WR
8. Kwity Paye, Michigan DL
9. Kyle Pitts, Florida TE
10. DeVonta Smith, Alabama WR
While it’s not a top need right now, the Falcons could look to a wideout to take over Julio Jones’ role since a hamstring injury kept him sidelined most of last season. Some mock drafts have even linked the Falcons to drafting Kyle Pitts and a duel TE scheme could be something the Falcons look into since they currently lack a backfield. Or they could use a game-changer on their o-line with Sewell, but he might not be enough.
We are still a month away until the big day, so we can only speculate what’s best for them at No. 4 and, who knows, a future franchise QB might be who they choose, even with Ryan as their starting option next season.