The Falcons have the No. 4 overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft come April and while several NFL analysts predict Atlanta will go for a top quarterback, two believe that would be a waste of time.
During a recent NFL Network segment, analysts Brian Billick and Steve Wyche chimed in on why it wouldn’t make sense for the Falcons to draft a quarterback at fourth-overall.
“Matt Ryan is a heck of a football player,” Billick said. “He had over 4,500 yards, 65 percent, 26 touchdowns, 11 interceptions on a bad, bad football team. If you extend the fourth pick to a quarterback, starting that clock on Matt Ryan, I think it’s a huge mistake.”
The Falcons have made it obvious that Matt Ryan is sticking around for 2021 and they will be building around his strength, so drafting another quarterback would mean that they would be sitting behind the veteran for a year.
Why Matt Ryan Still Makes Sense for Atlanta
The Falcons have a new head coach in Arthur Smith, who plans on running a similar offense to when 49ers’ head coach Kyle Shanahan was the Falcons’ offensive coordinator back in 2016. During that year, Matt Ryan completed 69.9% of his passes for 4,944 yards, 38 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He was also crowned MVP and took Atlanta to the Super Bowl.
It’s also worth noting that it would cost the Falcons a ton of money to trade Ryan this offseason, much more than what they could get in return to make up for it. At 35-years-old, Ryan has four Pro Bowls to his name, an NFL MVP, and continues to remain atop the league for best passer rating. While he hasn’t led the Falcons to a playoff appearance in recent years, he’s not the biggest problem the Falcons need to fix first.
With Ryan starting next season, the Falcons don’t really “need” to draft a quarterback right off the bat, like nearly every mock draft has them doing. They could use the pick on adding depth to their offensive line, which lacked last season or use it on a strong edge.
There will be plenty of QB talent left on the board well into the second round and the Falcons would benefit more by drafting a game-changer first.
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2021’s Top NFL Draft Prospects
So, say the Falcons pass on a QB in the first round, who else is left?
According to CBS Sports, these players are the top 10 NFL draft prospects in this year’s class:
- Trevor Lawrence, Clemson QB
- Penei Sewell, Oregon OL
- Ja’Marr Chase, LSU WR
- Zach Wilson, BYU QB
- Micah Parson, Penn State LB
- Justin Fields, OSU QB
- Jaylen Waddle, Alabama WR
- Kwity Paye, Michigan DL
- Kyle Pitts, Florida TE
- DeVonta Smith, Alabama WR
The Falcons could use a game-changer on their o-line with Sewell or even 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 Pitts and a duel TE offense could be something the Falcons look into since they lack a backfield.
The draft is right around the corner, until then, we can only speculate what’s best for them at No. 4 and, who knows, a future franchise QB might be it for them.
“They’re gonna talk quarterbacks. Every quarterback who has a pro day, [the Falcons] are gonna be there,” said Wyche. “They’re gonna be chatting that up while there is a bright neon for sale sign over that number four pick.”