The rumor mill is flowing for the Atlanta Falcons, as Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith reportedly have different visions for what the team should do with the fourth overall pick. First and foremost, this isn’t as important as some fans might think. Discrepancies in strategy should and will happen in a free-flowing environment, which Arthur Blank, Fontenot, and Smith all wanted — instead of a bunch of “yes” men.
Chris Mortenson recently reported that Fontenot wants to go quarterback, while Smith thinks Matt Ryan still has a few good years left. This isn’t anything new; head coaches think short-term and want to win now, while general managers think more long-term. According to Adam Schefter, the only certain thing is the Falcons’ brass is garnering trade calls from multiple teams and “are open to moving” out of the fourth overall pick.
Trey Lance or trading back seems likely, but again, this could all be a smokescreen designed by Fontenot with some other end goal in mind. Regardless, we can explore some trade scenarios in a pre-draft mock. According to Drafttek, the Falcons’ first-round pick is worth 1800 in draft capital based on the Rich Hill Trade Model. Using that figure, I will use Pro Football Network’s mock draft simulator to deem their trade proposals worth it or not for the Falcons.
1. Falcons: 4th; Steelers: 24th, 55th, 87th, 2022 second and third-rounders
According to the Rich Hill Trade Model, the Steelers’ three draft picks in 2021 are worth a combined 1245. The future compensation can’t be exactly figured out because the draft order isn’t set for 2022, but if we go off this year, the second and third-rounders bring the total compensation to 1750. Not only does the draft capital not align, but this also isn’t a particularly favorable place to trade back. Pittsburgh hasn’t been mentioned in many rumors, but with Big Ben’s quickly declining play, a quarterback makes sense for the Steelers. Attaching a player like Minkah Fitzpatrick makes this trade much more tolerable for the Falcons.
2. Falcons: 4th; Cardinals: 16th, 49th, 2022 second, third, and fifth-rounders
The Cardinals’ two draft picks in 2021 are worth a combined 1410, and the future draft capital brings the total to around 2000, but I still would expect more than this. With Kyler Murray, Arizona doesn’t need to trade up for a quarterback, so the trade proposal has to be for Kyle Pitts or Penei Sewell. Regardless, I doubt this would be enough for Fontenot to give up the fourth pick.
3. Falcons: 4th, 219th; Bengals: 5th, 2022 second-rounder
The trade would even out in draft capital if the Bengals are even average next year, netting the Falcons a mid-round pick in the second round of 2022. I wouldn’t be against this trade, but Cinncinati would likely have to out-bid much needier teams. With the likes of Penei Sewell on the board still, the Bengals SHOULD reinforce the offensive line for Joe Burrow‘s sake, but there’s no telling with an organization with a history of botching the draft.
4. Falcons: 4th; Packers: 29th, 62nd, 2022 first and second-rounders
This would be the easiest “no” for me. First, the draft compensation doesn’t equate because Green Bay will surely pick in the last third of the draft next year. There is no way climbing 25 spots in the draft is worth a first, second, and third-round pick. Like most of these, PFN has its algorithms pumping out nonsense.
5. Falcons: 4th; Titans: 22nd, 53rd, 85th, 100th, 2022 second-rounder
This is another trade that doesn’t make much sense on either front. The Titans could be wanting to trade up that far for Penei Sewell, Kyle Pitts, or Ja’Marr Chase, but the haul of picks to get one of those prospects doesn’t seem smart for a franchise that just lost many key contributors. It also depends which side you’re looking at because the Falcons wouldn’t entertain this even for a moment. Two second-rounders, a third, and a fourth-round pick isn’t enough to even scratch the surface of what it would take to unseat Fontenot at four.
6. Falcons: 4th; Chargers: 13th, 77th, and 2022 first-rounder
Trading this far up for the Chargers, and every other one of these teams, doesn’t make much sense, but the compensation is getting closer to what it would take for Fontenot to move off the fourth overall pick. A first and second-rounder seems close but still isn’t what San Francisco traded up to jump a similar amount of teams.
7. Falcons: 4th; Lions: 7th, 41st
The Lions could be willing to move off Jared Goff without playing a single game in a Lions’ uniform, and rightfully so. If Sean McVay can’t get the most out of a first overall pick, then I doubt anyone could. The draft capital aligns, but I doubt the Falcons would take this trade given the far-reaching interest from many other teams. Trading back to the seventh pick could net the Falcons Julio Jones‘ replacement in Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith, or potentially Rashawn Slater or Kyle Pitts if he falls.
I spent hours trying to generate as many trades on PFN’s site, and not one time did the Broncos, Eagles, Patriots, or Bears come up in any trade proposals. The most quarterback-needy teams didn’t register in their algorithms for whatever reason, but PFF displayed a proposal for those teams, and they aren’t much better than PFN’s proposals.
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 6, 2021
The Bears trade is swapping 2021 first-round picks, one future first-round pick, and two-second rounders. The Patriots’ offer is less, and the Broncos had even less in the mock offer. There is a floor for the fourth overall pick, and it’s what the 49ers gave up for the third overall pick: two first-rounders and a second-round pick. Anything involving only one first-round pick won’t even be considered.