The Falcons have the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft but it might not be the best spot to land their future franchise quarterback; if that’s what they’re aiming for of course.
In this week’s Pro Football Focus mock draft, the Falcons trade up for Miami’s spot at third overall to acquire Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields in exchange for a 2021 third-rounder, a 2021 fourth-rounder, and a 2022 third-rounder.
🚨 NEW 2021 MOCK DRAFT 🚨
— PFF (@PFF) February 22, 2021
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The Falcons Need to “Secure” Justin Fields
While there will be plenty of talented quarterbacks to choose from in the upcoming draft, Pro Football Focus believes the Falcons will need to secure Fields as he’s projected to go off the boards as the second quarterback.
“Atlanta should be thinking seriously about entering the quarterback market now that Matt Ryan is inching toward the end of his career, and securing Fields would drastically lessen the odds of the Falcons entering quarterback purgatory”, Anthony Treash of PFF writes. “In his two years starting for the Buckeyes, Fields earned PFF grades of 91.5 and 93.5, both of which ranked in the top five in the entire FBS.
“Fields is extremely accurate, takes great care of the football, and has unparalleled wheels for the position. 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.”
Falcons head coach Arthur Smith has made it clear that Matt Ryan isn’t going anywhere this season, so Fields would sit behind him for a season which wouldn’t be a bad idea learning from one of the league’s best passers.
Fontenot Explains the Important of Adding Another QB
Matt Ryan is set to cost the Falcons a $40 million cap hit this year, so trading him or releasing him is out of the picture, at least until 2022.
With a 2021 NFL draft class filled with top signal-callers, Atlanta won’t be passing one up, according to Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot.
“You look at (former Packers GM) Ron Wolf”, Fontenot began to explain via the Huddle & Flow podcast. “You always bring in quarterbacks. You need to bring in quarterbacks, whether it’s in the draft, whether it’s in free agency, or signing guys off the street. It’s so important, bring in quarterbacks a lot, build strengths. (Former Ravens GM) Ozzie Newsome, bring in the best players available. These are men that have had all that success, and it’s about having the right 53, but we have to add competition at every position. So we’re not going to be afraid to add to strengths. But both (Ryan and Julio Jones) are really good and I’m excited to be here with those players.”
The Falcons have a total of six draft picks this year and even if they don’t trade up for Fields, they’ll have other options on the board at No. 4 or even well into the second round.