It’s no secret that I believe with Arthur Smith leading the charge, Atlanta can afford to trade down and wait on taking their quarterback of the future. Atlanta has an expensive roster with many holes, and remedying some of the past regime’s errors is paramount.
This is one of the most important drafts in team history; it could very well dictate if Matt Ryan or Julio Jones gets back to the playoffs in their twilight years. I discussed how a Deshaun Watson trade to Miami could benefit Atlanta. If New York decides to roll with Sam Darnold and Houston gets Tua, Atlanta could have massive trade leverage for a Justin Fields or Zach Wilson hungry team. They also might have their choice between the two. I’ll be focusing on quarterback-needy teams and omitting division rivals. If you read my last Mock Draft, I actually traded down twice with two of these teams.
These aren’t total trade packages. These are simply the first-round picks that would be sent to Atlanta, plus potential players the team could be interested in. Obviously, much more present and future draft capital would be coming back to Atlanta. I have a list of draft needs here, which will also play into the players I have targeted.
Detroit may wind up with extra draft capital if they find a trade partner for Matthew Stafford and acquire a first-round pick from a team like Pittsburgh or Indianapolis. That would work to Atlanta’s benefit; a package including Detroit’s seventh overall pick with a pick from one of the aforementioned possibilities would be something the Falcons would have to consider.
As far as players go, I think Detroit has the most to offer in that area. If I’m Atlanta, I’d be willing to part with the fourth pick for two 2021 first-round picks, Frank Ragnow and D’Andre Swift. Not only can Atlanta relax in later rounds with one of the five best centers in the NFL, but they also get their running back of the future. Please don’t be shocked when you see this scenario in one of my mock drafts soon.
With Von Miller‘s future cloudy in Denver, they are an absolute mess right now. They do have some young players with a bit of upside to offer, but I think they won’t have the initiative to make a move like this. I don’t think Drew Lock is a franchise quarterback, so maybe they address it this year, but they have bigger issues at many different positions again.
San Francisco 49ers
Possible Assets: 12th overall pick, LB Dre Greenlaw
Kyle Shanahan is in a weird spot. The 49ers are certainly in the conversation for Deshaun Watson, but John Lynch would have to give up loads of draft capital to make this move work. They have a ton of impending free agents and not much to offer in terms of trade pieces on the roster. Still, a boatload of future picks would be hard to pass up for Atlanta.
New England Patriots
Personally, I don’t prefer to deal with the devil, but the Patriots are undoubtedly scrambling for their next quarterback after the Cam Newton experiment failed. I don’t see Bill being interested in dealing out Michael Onwenu, as he had a fantastic rookie season. The Patriots are in a tough spot to trade up, too; they would likely have to include one or more of these young and cheap building blocks to make a deal possible.
Washington Football Team
The Football Team and Falcons make sense as trade partners. Washington has a wealth of young and talented players in their front seven, and while Jonathan Allen might be out of trade discussions, they may be willing to part with Daron Payne to fit in Atlanta’s possible new look 3-4 defense. Safety is a glaring need for Atlanta; rookie standout Kamren Curl should be of interest to the Falcons as well. I think Montez Sweat is very underrated, and I’d be thrilled with him in a deal.
Chicago may need a quarterback more than anyone in this draft, but they really lack the assets to make anything happen. I only have Darnell Mooney on this list because I think he is insanely underrated. The Bears would have to mortgage their future to make this happen, and they’re tight on funds as it is.
With the interesting news that Colts defensive backs coach Jonathan Gannon may join Atlanta’s staff, some of these guys make a lot of sense. Kenny Moore and Isaiah Rodgers would both be fantastic additions to Atlanta’s secondary, and second-year Khari Willis would satisfy the need at safety — shoring up the backend. In the wake of Philip Rivers calling it a career, quarterback becomes an even bigger need — as if it wasn’t before. And yes, I like Jacob Eason as a project quarterback to develop behind Matt Ryan. He has a lot of arm talent that cannot be taught.
Possible Assets: 24th overall pick, G Kevin Dotson
I think the Steelers and Mac Jones are a match made in heaven, but their front office may not agree. Big Ben severely held them back this season, and Pittsburgh needs to think about moving on. His massive contract would likely hamstring a possible Deshaun Watson or Carson Wentz trade. Pittsburgh is one of the most cap-strapped teams in the NFL, so mortgaging their future when Mac Jones could be available at 24 would be ill-considered, in my opinion. Their roster is lacking tradable pieces, but Kevin Dotson was one of the best pass-blocking interior offensive linemen in the NFL as a rookie. Even so, he’s a stretch with their line as depleted as it is.
Possible Assets: 25th overall pick, EDGE Josh Allen
Okay, here’s my non-quarterback wild card. Maybe Urban Meyer gets crazy and decides to throw Atlanta whatever they want to acquire Penei Sewell. The Jaguars have a treasure trove of picks to work with, so perhaps they decide to go all-in protecting Trevor Lawrence. Brandon Linder would make sense, but he is expensive. Josh Allen is a massive stretch; I don’t think they will or should part with him. The problem is that with the Bengals right behind Atlanta in desperate need to protect Joe Burrow, Jacksonville would have to part with insane amounts of draft capital to make something like this work. They probably have too many holes to make that shake.