We are finally deep into “anonymous general manager/scout” season in the NFL, and of course, everyone around the league is just as in the dark as we are. From The Athletic, one general manager is predicting Justin Fields to go to the Falcons:
GM’s projection: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
The feeling here was that the Falcons would attempt to trade out of the spot if they were not going to select a quarterback.
The GM thought Fields could become the best quarterback in this draft class. He thought the Falcons would provide an ideal landing spot. Matt Ryan could play for the next year or two and would handle the situation professionally. New coach Arthur Smith would implement a quarterback-friendly offense heavy on play-action opportunities, with a ground game featured prominently.
“If you told me Fields was going to be better than Trevor Lawrence in five years, I would say yes, that can happen,” the GM said.
Of course, another anonymous executive disagrees and thinks Terry Fontenot will stick to his “best player available” policy or trade down
One exec projected Florida tight end Kyle Pitts as a logical selection for Atlanta here while noting the Falcons “could do anything” with the pick.
A counter-argument holds that the Falcons will remain committed to Ryan after making a financial commitment to him recently. In that case, trading out of this slot might be ideal.
Obviously, this all conflicts with the earlier report from Louis Riddick that Arthur Smith is high on Trey Lance. I think the Falcons are playing this perfectly; they aren’t tipping their hand and are keeping everyone guessing. If Atlanta does trade back, I don’t think it will be until they are on the clock after the 49ers make their pick. The more that the rest of the league thinks the Falcons are in on a quarterback, the better return they can get if somebody gets desperate on April 29th.