A lot has been made of Atlanta’s first-round selection, and for good reason. They hold the keys to the 2021 NFL Draft, assuming that the 49ers have their mind set on a specific quarterback. Atlanta could either get their quarterback of the future, select the best player available in Kyle Pitts, draft a player at a position of need like Penei Sewell, or trade the pick for a large return.
That’s a lot of options, but for the most part — I’m a fan of all of them and could be talked into them. This draft is probably going to be one of the weirder in recent memory. There’s been no real indication of how teams have scouted these players in the wake of COVID-19.
Some guys didn’t play at all while some only saw limited action. The first round is bound to be wild, which means there is likely to be a ton of uncertainty going into the second round. With that being said, Atlanta owns the third pick of that round — and should have their choice of an insanely talented group at multiple positions of need.
If you want to read about the positions of need and the players I like to fill those needs in the second round, you can read that article here. There is a ton of talent at offensive guard, center, defensive line, edge, cornerback, and safety — all places in which the Falcons roster could use an infusion of young talent.
Offensive line in general is especially appealing to me with one of Creed Humphrey, Wyatt Davis, Landon Dickerson, Trey Smith, or Quinn Meinerz likely to be available at this point in the draft. Arthur Smith’s system runs best when there is a clean pocket, and Matt Ryan is a better quarterback when a defensive end isn’t in his lap three seconds after the snap.
Replacing Alex Mack will not be easy, but the Falcons have a few very appealing options. In addition, adding another guard could create an elite young tandem next to Chris Lindstrom to help spearhead the rushing attack. Speaking of which, what if a player like Najee Harris falls to the Falcons at No. 35 overall? As unlikely as it is, you have to make that consideration.
If the Falcons take an offensive player, the defense still remains an issue. I think there are good players further down the board, especially on the defensive line and in the secondary, that could be plug-and-play starters in later rounds. Although, if a safety like Trevon Moehrig or a cornerback like Greg Newsome II is available, it would be difficult to pass on them. Also, a great scheme fit like Carlos Basham or Joe Tryon may be available. The combine warrior Milton Williams might be a possibility as well.
Overall, trading back could provide Atlanta with an immediate solution to this problem by snagging an additional second rounder. I don’t think there’s a wrong answer to this draft pick, but one thing is for certain — I’m glad I’m not the one making this decision, because it’s a tough one.