Could the Falcons be sitting on a goldmine at No. 4 in the NFL Draft?

goldmine

The Atlanta Falcons’ fourth-overall pick in this April’s draft could be a goldmine after a trade on Friday afternoon. The blockbuster trade launched the San Francisco 49ers ahead of the Falcons at the third overall pick, followed by the Dolphins trading back into the top ten in a deal with the Eagles.

The Dolphins received two first-round picks, a third-round pick, and the 12th overall pick in this year’s draft in exchange for the third overall pick. Even though John Lynch has been outspoken about Jimmy Garoppolo being the 49ers’ “guy,” I would expect them to take a quarterback with that third overall pick. Jimmy G is set to hit free agency in 2023, making the possibility of trading him next offseason even more likely.

Possible Future at QB

The non-Trevor Lawrence quarterback prospects will likely be taken in the first ten picks as there are quarterback-needy teams like Denver, New England, Carolina, and Philadelphia. Regardless of who is taken in picks one through three, there will be two of the top five quarterback prospects left by the time Terry Fontenot and the Falcons are on the clock in April. Any two of Zach Wilson, Mac Jones, Justin Fields, and Trey Lance will likely go back-to-back to the Jets and the 49ers.

That leaves two high-profiled prospects for the Falcons to either take themselves as a successor to Matt Ryan or auction off the chance to draft a franchise quarterback. Given that there are now multiple teams feeling the pressure, a handful of teams will fight for two quarterbacks, which only increases the value of the fourth overall pick.

Trade Speculation

Philadephia is the prime candidate based on draft capital. With an extra first-round pick in 2022, the Eagles could end up with three if the Carson Wentz trade conditions are met — either Wentz has to take 75% of the offensive snaps or he takes 70% of the snaps, and the Colts make the playoffs. Per the San Francisco deal, trading up will cost considerable draft capital — at least two first-round picks and a third-round pick. For a first-year regime, this is an incredible chance to put a foundation in place through the next few drafts.

This is all speculation, and I’m trying to illustrate just how valuable the fourth overall pick is. There is no reason to believe Fontenot will trade back as Adam Schefter reported Lynch discussed trading up to the Falcons pick but ultimately went as high as they could — the Dolphins’ third overall pick.

The Falcons are in a great position to set up the team’s future by either selecting the franchise’s next quarterback or bringing in a haul of draft capital. Fontenot and Arthur Smith will be collaborating and stressing until draft night, but I am confident in their ability to take emotion out of the decision and do what is best for the team right now and in the future. April’s draft is going to have fireworks.

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