The NFL Draft begins in Cleveland, Ohio, in less than two weeks. The consensus on picks 1-3 is that they will be used to send Quarterbacks to Jacksonville, New York, and San Francisco. One big mystery: how will the Falcons exercise their 4th overall pick?
This is a very unique situation for Atlanta. In fact, this is the first time in franchise history that the Falcons have held the 4th overall pick in the NFL Draft. With Matt Ryan and Julio Jones running it back for at least one more year, Falcons’ GM Terry Fontenot has the rare opportunity to win now before selling off assets and sending the team into a rebuild.
As you can imagine, the Falcons fan base has been divided like never before. Across social media platforms, fans are differing in their ideal vision for what will bring the team success now or later, and what is overall best for the franchise moving forward:
Justin Fields, the Superstar QB from Ohio State, seems to be a fan favorite in Atlanta. Drawing interest and attention from many on Twitter, Fields is a mobile and accurate QB that has proven he can compete at the highest collegiate level.
During his Ohio State Pro Day, Fields ran a very impressive 4.44 in the 40-yard dash. He also looked good in terms of completing passes and his fundamentals also looked good.
Justin Fields dominates in space, a skill that’s becoming almost a requirement in today’s NFL. He’s quick on his feet; he can pick up 10 yards on third down by running outside the pocket. He is also elusive and can evade being tackled inside or outside the pocket.
Mac Jones is another name floating around for the Falcons to snag at #4 overall. A lot of this is dependant on who San Francisco takes, and the 49ers seem interested in Jones.
A big concern for Mac Jones going into the draft is his mobility. Jones is a typical pocket passer.
He shows us glimpses of an old-school QB who can run an offense efficiently without having to leave the comfort of the pocket. He spreads the ball well across his targets and can hit anyone in any route. Sounds great, but there’s one catch. Jones can’t dominate in space like Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes (or Justin Fields.)
I look at Mac Jones and I see longevity. The Alabama product is someone that can naturally run an offense, make great passes inside the pocket, and win you 10-12 games a year.
Not Every QB is the same! We saw an immobile pocket passer lead the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl ring this year.
If the dirty birds draft a QB, it will be either Mac Jones or Justin Fields.
2. Trade Down, Build Defense
The Falcons have an outstanding offense with a ton of weapons. Matt Ryan has led the league in completions eight years in a row. Julio Jones may just be the greatest WR to ever play the game. Calvin Ridley proved that he could be a WR1 caliber player. Hayden Hurst turned out to be a great pass-catching TE.
Falcons have weapons. If they want to win in 2021, they need to draft defensive pieces.
Trading down with the Denver Broncos would allow the Falcons to continue to build their secondary. At nine overall, they should draft Patrick Surtain II.
The Alabama CB is the best corner in the draft, and would immediately galvanize the Falcons secondary, a unit that allowed almost 300 passing yards per game (highest in the NFL.)
3. Kyle Pitts
Drafting Kyle Pitts with the 4th overall pick has been gaining traction lately and for good reason! The versatile, pass-catching, blocking, do-it-all TE out of Florida built a name for himself during UF Pro Day.
Kyle Pitts is perhaps the most NFL-ready player in the entire draft class. Often compared to DK Metcalf, Pitts stands 6’5″ tall, weighing 245 lbs. He ran a 4.44 40-yard-dash. Pitts also has the longest wingspan of any draftee in the past 20 years. Pitts’ wingspan measures 83+ inches, breaking DK Metcalf’s record of 82+ inches.
Pitts has the strength, speed, footwork, and blocking ability to do well in the NFL right now. This would be an instantly impactful pickup for the Falcons offense.
4. Penei Sewell
Matt Ryan was sacked 41 times last year. Todd Gurley was rarely productive outside of the red zone. Drafting Penei Sewell 4th overall would fix both of these issues. The 331 pound Oregon tackle is regarded as one of the best players in this draft class.
Sewell is a craftsman at creating holes for backs to plow through, while also protecting the QB.
This would be another “win now” pick for Atlanta. A nice addition to a struggling offensive line.