Even after the recent blockbuster trade that resulted in San Francisco holding Miami’s third overall pick, the Falcons will be in on this crop of quarterback prospects. John Lynch has come out and said that Jimmy Gorappolo is the 49ers’ “guy”, but there’s no reason to believe they wouldn’t draft a quarterback to sit behind him for a season or two.
Regardless of how picks one through three unfold, there will be at least two of the four quarterbacks left at No. 4 for the Falcons. The Atlanta brass has been rolling deep at every major quarterback prospect’s pro day, and it reveals a few things. Terry Fontenot, Arthur Smith, Dave Ragone, and others have been at pro days for Mac Jones, Trey Lance, and Zach Wilson.
Zach Wilson Day! Those in Provo …
• Falcons GM Terry Fontenot, HC Arthur Smith, OC Dave Ragone.
• Panthers GM Scott Fitterer, OC Joe Brady.
• Broncos GM George Paton, QBs coach Mike Shula.
• Eagles OC Shane Steichen, QBs coach Brian Johnson.
• Jags OC Darrell Bevell.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 26, 2021
Among those in Fargo for NDSU Pro Day tomorrow …
• Jets GM Joe Douglas
• Falcons GM Terry Fontenot
• Falcons coach Arthur Smith
• Lions coach Dan Campbell
• Lions GM Brad Holmes
• Panthers GM Scott Fitterer
• Panthers coach Matt Rhule
• Washington GM Martin Mayhew
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 12, 2021
— Kelsey Conway (@FalconsKelsey) March 23, 2021
Ohio State’s pro day is scheduled for March 30th, where the group of Falcons coaches and executives will be in attendance to watch Justin Fields. Fontenot has made it clear the organization will be disciplined in their approach to the draft — best player available. Falcons fans shouldn’t take these appearances at these pro days as anything more than the organization doing their due diligence.
“Best Player Available”
If the organization stays true to their sentiment about taking the best player available, I would think Kyle Pitts or Penei Sewell at four — if they’re on the board — to be the fit. This isn’t to say that the future impact of Fields, Wilson, Jones, or Lance would trump that of either of the aforementioned prospects, but as it stands right now, Pitts and Sewell are superior prospects.
Quarterback will be on the table because of the flexibility that the best player available strategy enables and filling holes through free agency. It also sends messages to other organizations that Atlanta will be interested in every prospect regardless of position, potentially increasing the fourth overall pick’s value.
The game Fontenot is playing with other NFL general managers is chess, not checkers. There are so many more moving parts than fans realize that one particular step may not make sense, but Fontenot and Smith know exactly what they’re doing in the big picture. Trust in the new regime, regardless of the direction the Falcons go with the fourth pick.
If a trade-down situation were to occur, I wouldn’t expect anything until draft night, but as Lynch has shown there can be deals struck before then. So until then, Fontenot must prepare to take the best player at four, which could be any of the quarterback prospects, Pitts, or Sewell. Though the draft is still a ways away, my pick at four would be Pitts or Sewell as the best players available.