On Thursday the Atlanta Falcons waived quarterback Kurt Benkert, leaving just one quarterback on the team as free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft approach. And while new general manager Terry Fontenot has talked about the importance adding quarterbacks, that doesn’t necessarily mean the club will use the fourth overall pick to select Matt Ryan’s future replacement.
In Matthew Tabeek’s latest mock draft, he has the Falcons executing a trade with the QB-needy Denver Broncos, who move up to No. 4 overall to select Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields after Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) and Zach Wilson (BYU) are taken with the first and second overall picks, respectively.
The Falcons Receive Five Picks From the Broncos
In exchange for the No. 4 overall pick and a sixth-rounder in 2022, the Falcons receive five draft picks, including Denver’s first- and second-rounders in 2021 (No. 9, No. 40), plus three selections in the 2022 NFL Draft, those being Denver’s first- and second rounders, plus its fourth-round pick in 2022.
Then Tabeek has the Falcons going for defense, adding cornerback Patrick Surtain II, “who many scouts and draft analysts consider the top cornerback prospect in this class,” he writes.
To be sure, the Falcons need help in the defensive backfield.
“Atlanta surrendered a lot of big plays (only the Lions allowed more total completions of 15-plus yards) and needs to inject more talent to go along with A.J. Terrell, a budding star…. Pairing Surtain and Terrell together would go a long way in turning [the] defense around under [new defensive coordinator] Dean Pees and his ‘multiple but simple’ defensive philosophy.
If you want to quibble with Tabeek’s decision to go with Surtain, you could argue that he’s not quite worthy of a Top Ten pick.
“You won’t find a better combination of size, length and technique in the draft,” notes Pro Football Focus, which has the Alabama product at No. 16 on its Top 100 Big Board. “All Surtain doesn’t have is the high-end speed you’d like when drafting a corner early,” which is why PFF has cornerback Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech) ahead of Surtain on its board.
“Caleb Farley [is our top CB despite] opting out of the 2020 season,” notes PFF’s Michael Renner. “The reason is the level of physical tools he brings to the table combined with his stellar 2019 campaign. If you were to put together a corner from a size and speed perspective, they’d look a lot like Farley. His long strides help him make up ground with ease down the field. It’s why he allowed only five catches on 27 targets on throws targeted 10-plus yards downfield in 2019.”
Patrick Surtain’s Career at Alabama, NFL Bloodlines
As for Surtain (6-foot-2, 202 pounds), he was a consensus five-star prospect when he came to the University of Alabama and played in every game during his three years under Nick Saban, including 38 consecutive starts. In his junior year he was named first-team All-SEC and selected as SEC Defensive Player of the Year by both the AP and the league coaches, having allowed 25 yards receiving or fewer in 10 of 13 games. In fact, he was targeted just 48 times all season and allowed only 21 completions for a total of 273 yards.
Surtain also has strong NFL bloodlines. He’s the son of ex-Miami Dolphins CB Patrick Surtain, Sr., who was drafted in the second round in 1998 and played seven seasons in Miami (where he was a three-time Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro in 2002). Surtain Sr. was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2005, where he went on to play four more seasons, retiring after the 2008 campaign.
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