In Ryan Wilson’s latest mock draft for CBS Sports, the Falcons trade down with the Panthers — who snag their next franchise quarterback — and take the superstar tight end out of Florida, Kyle Pitts, with the eighth overall pick.
New Mock Draft from @ryanwilsonCBS
1. QB T. Lawrence (JAX)
2. QB Z. Wilson (NYJ)
3. OL P. Sewell (CIN)*
4. QB J. Fields (CAR)*
5. WR J. Chase (MIA)*
6. OL R. Slater (PHI)
7. WR J. Waddle (DET)
8. TE K. Pitts (ATL)*
9. LB M. Parsons (DEN)
10. QB T. Lance (SF)*
*Via Mock Trades pic.twitter.com/gYE9Bilk6n
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) February 22, 2021
A move like this makes plenty of sense. With Matt Ryan expected to be the starting quarterback for at least this season and probably another one after that, it seems like the Falcons could be in the business of moving down in the draft and collecting more picks.
As Alex mentioned last week, now that Philadelphia has moved on from Carson Wentz, many believe they could be in the market for another quarterback. Adam Schefter even reported that Jalen Hurts is not guaranteed to be next year’s starter.
— NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) February 21, 2021
This is fantastic news for the Falcons. Whoever wants their pick of the litter — as far as quarterbacks go — will want to move ahead of Philadelphia and should be calling the Falcons, who also could be in the market for their franchise quarterback.
In this scenario, moving back with Carolina probably nets the Falcons a future first-round pick and more. However, what I find most unlikely about this mock is that the Panthers and Falcons would trade with each other. It’s much more probable that Atlanta strikes a deal with another team — one that isn’t in their division.
Despite that, acquiring some more draft capital and still landing Kyle Pitts would be a slam dunk. Pitts is arguably the best skill position player in this draft and would add an entirely different wrinkle to Arthur Smith‘s offense. This from Alex’s draft profile on Pitts:
Pitts is positionless. He can align on the boundary, in the slot, or with his hand in the dirt. He’s as good of a route-runner as any receiver in this draft with great burst out of his break, giving him elite change-of-direction skills for a person of his size. Pitts is as good after-the-catch as he is before, a rare and tremendous red-zone threat. Excellent at beating one-on-one press, but also great at finding the soft spot in zones. The former Gator, much like Julio Jones, makes normal 50-50 balls, closer to 60-40 in favor of Pitts.
I wouldn’t be disappointed if the Falcons stood pat with the fourth pick and selected Pitts; he has that much talent. Adding him to a skill position group of Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Hayden Hurst, and Russell Gage would provide Matt Ryan with perhaps the best weapons of his career, which is saying a lot. Sprinkle some Arthur Smith in there, and the Falcons just might be able to finally replicate their 2016 success under Kyle Shanahan.