It’s only been four games in 2023 and eight games total, but most people are already ready for the Falcons to move on from Desmond Ridder.
He’s struggled to develop even slightly over about half a season, and it’s beginning to look like Atlanta is going to be in the quarterback market for a third straight offseason.
That could entail dipping into free agency, where Kirk Cousins and Ryan Tannehill are lurking. A potential trade could materialize like Justin Fields or Russell Wilson. The draft class is also loaded with potential franchise quarterbacks, which has been the popular narrative among fans.
Earlier in the week, PFF did a mock draft with the Falcons landing Michael Penix, the southpaw with a cannon from Washington. Now, The Draft Network has Atlanta selecting a less sexy quarterback in Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy.
19. Atlanta Falcons
J.J. McCarthy QB, Michigan
A little surprise here in this NFL mock draft. I can’t say enough good things about both J.J. McCarthy and how the Falcons have bolstered their roster over the last few years. However, if Desmond Ridder isn’t the answer, the Falcons could see the former Wolverine as the final puzzle piece to competing annually in the NFC.
McCarthy is 83-for-105 for 1,071 yards, 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. His Bowling Green performance was absolutely horrid, but his game does translate to the NFL.
I see him in the same vein as Stetson Bennett, in terms of their development. Last year, McCarthy was a game manager who led Michigan to a Big Ten title en route to a playoff berth. This year, the Wolverines quarterback has turned into more of a playmaker, similar to Bennett’s 2021 and 2022 campaigns.
He’s plenty athletic and has a live arm. I wouldn’t mind the match in Atlanta, but the Falcons better hope they hit on a first-round quarterback because this regime is currently 0-for-3 at the position.