The Falcons have a top 5 draft pick for the first time since taking Matt Ryan at No. 3 overall in the 2008 NFL Draft. 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.”
The Falcons plan on taking their time, though the new league year begins on March 17th and Atlanta has over 50 percent of their roster to fill.
Falcons Plan to Take the Best Talent Available
Various mock drafts have the Falcons selecting their future franchise quarterback in the first round, however, once again, Fontenot is keeping his options open.
“In the draft, you’re going to take the best player,” Fontenot told AtlantaFalcons.com last month. “You can’t be afraid to continue [to add] at every position. There’s not a position that you’re going to say, ‘Oh, we’re good there, we’re not going to draft there this year.’ That’s just what I believe. … We’re never going to be afraid to take a player at any position and build strength.”
Over the past few drafts, the Falcons have been known to look to their needs instead of the best athlete available, and, clearly, it hasn’t worked out in their favor.
“You never want to reach for needs,” Fontenot said. “I think it’s cool listening to Ozzie Newsome tell stories about where there were certain players on the board, in certain areas, and they took the best player available, and he ends up taking Hall of Fame players as opposed to reaching for a need.”
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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 secure 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 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.
Whichever way they decide to go, Fontenot knows the Falcons need to tackle free agency first and foremost.
“We’re scouts, and we’re going to have to go find players because you can’t just build your roster with overpaid players in free agency or top draft picks,” Fontenot said. “We’ve gotta really dig. We have to dig and find value in free agency and that’s working with the coaches and finding out exactly what they need and going and finding the players they need.”