Falcons won’t reach for a quarterback in 2022 NFL Draft

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The Falcons are closing the book on the Matt Ryan era in Atlanta after 14 seasons, signing Marcus Mariota to presumably serve as a stopgap while the front office searches for their next franchise quarterback.

Many draft analysts have characterized this year’s crop of signal callers as weak, but odds say at least one of these prospects will turn into a decent starter in this league. Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett headline the class, but a bevy of others should be available past the first round.

Willis and Pickett have been attached to the Falcons at the 8th overall pick, but I have my reservations. Taking a quarterback instead of a higher graded prospect just because a team needs one isn’t conducive to building a championship-caliber roster. I’d be shocked if the Falcons didn’t come away with a quarterback in next month’s draft, but I’d be even more shocked if they take one with their first-round pick.

Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot spoke at their first press conference since the Deshaun Watson saga and Matt Ryan trade earlier this week, where the pair answered a litany of questions regarding these events. Obviously, members of the media were curious about the team’s future at the quarterback position, to which Fontenot gave a wonderfully encouraging answer:

“If we feel great about a quarterback at whatever pick, then we’re going to take a quarterback,” Fontenot said. “If we don’t, then we are not going to reach and do something that we’re not excited about. We’re going to dig into this class, but we’re not going to feel pressured to do anything.”

The one thing the Falcons can’t afford to do is reach for one of these quarterback prospects. I’m all for drafting one of them at some point, but not with the Falcons’ first-rounder; none of the prospects are worth it. However, that isn’t to say the Falcons shouldn’t take a shot at a QB; the more opportunities Atlanta give themselves, the better chance they’ll have of finding a long-term replacement for Matt Ryan.

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