Falcons named top landing spot for Senior Bowl MVP

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 03 Reese s Senior Bowl

As the NFL Combine gets going, the Falcons continue to be mentioned in any and all quarterback talks.

Justin Fields has been linked to the opening in Atlanta, but Steve Wyche doesn’t see Terry Fontenot targeting the Georgia native. In a similar vein, Peter King sees the Falcons moving up the draft board as a legitimate possibility.

The offseason is going to be a rollercoaster as the new league year looms. A path that isn’t mentioned often is going with a Day 2 option. It’s not a popular choice because the Falcons tried that approach with third-round pick Desmond Ridder, and it ultimately cost Arthur Smith his job.

The Falcons have to be done with half measures, but a particularly interesting prospect that isn’t among the first-round talents is Spencer Rattler, who CBS Sports believes is a perfect fit for the Falcons.

The Falcons have a lot of offensive talent. Their eighth overall pick in 2023, running back Bijan Robinson, totaled the most scrimmage yards (1,463) by a rookie in team history. That total also ranked as second-most in the league among rookies last season, trailing only Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua and his 1,575 yards from scrimmage.

Atlanta also has uber-talented pass-catchers in wide receiver Drake London (the eighth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft) and tight end Kyle Pitts (the fourth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft). Up front, two-time Pro Bowl right guard Chris Lindstrom graded out as Pro Football Focus’ top guard with an 89.7 PFF offensive grade.

All they need is a quarterback. Desmond Ridder, who produced the fourth-lowest expected points added per play among 32 qualified quarterbacks in 2023, isn’t the answer. Perhaps Rattler can achieve his five-star recruit ceiling by playing in an offense thoroughly equipped with fellow high-level talent.

The Senior Bowl MVP has had a wild journey through college. Rattler had a successful season as a redshirt freshman with Oklahoma, tossing for over 3,000 yards and 28 touchdowns to just seven interceptions but quickly fell out of favor in Norman.

The former top high school recruit would go on to be benched in favor of freshman sensation Caleb Williams, the projected top pick in this year’s draft. Once Lincoln Riley left for sunny California to be the head coach at USC, Rattler chose to transfer to the other USC in South Carolina.

Rattler’s numbers won’t blow anyone away, but if you watched any games this season, you know how poor of an offensive line the Gamecocks had. Rattler was running around for his life at times.

I’m not completely turned off by the idea of drafting someone like Spencer Rattler on Day 2, but it does seem a bit wonky with Desmond Ridder still under contract. The Falcons don’t have a need for three quarterbacks and drafting Rattler would hopefully come with acquiring a veteran to step in to start this season.

Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire

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