Heisman Trophy winner named perfect draft fit for Falcons

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 09 Heisman Trophy Ceremony

Arthur Smith’s job was thought to be safe before the Falcons traveled to Chicago to take on the Bears, but that might not be the case any longer.

Following the most impressive victory of the season over the Colts, reports surfaced that Arthur Blank would likely give Smith and Terry Fontenot the 2024 campaign after that Week 16 victory.

That would be the case barring a late-season collapse, but the one factor that could potentially cost Smith his job is the locker room. As long as the players were fully behind their head coach, I’d guess that Blank would give him one more season.

But Smith might just be losing them. Cordarrelle Patterson took to Twitter to voice his frustrations with his role in Atlanta, and it might just signal an internal shift among his peers.

I don’t want to speculate too much, but this is the first time that any Falcons player, let alone a veteran as respected as Patterson, publically went against the grain. Regardless of who is coaching this football team in 2024, Blank will be expecting a splash at the quarterback position this offseason.

Most Falcons fans prefer that splash to come in April through the NFL Draft. Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels are the top prospects in the upcoming class, and the reigning Heisman Trophy winner from LSU was named Atlanta’s best draft fit by PFF’s Trevor Sikkema.

By going back and forth between Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke this season, the Falcons have made it clear they know what their biggest need is. They likely won’t be picking high enough for Drake Maye or Caleb Williams, but the electric dual-threat Heisman winner, Jayden Daniels, could be just as good of a fit. His rushing ability (elite rushing grade in 2023) would give the Falcons another electric ground game weapon.

I’ll make no bones about my preference. I went to LSU, and Daniels is a much more plausible target than Maye and Williams. The former Arizona State quarterback transferred to Baton Rouge the season before last and never really put it together.

Daniels struggled to play out of the pocket and had inconsistencies at times. Instead of entering the draft with a Day 2 grade or worse, Jayden Daniels returned for the Tigers this season and improved his game dramatically.

He was the best deep ball passer in the Country and was easily the most dynamic player at his position with his legs. The fit in Arthur Smith’s system seems seamless on paper, so I completely understand Sikkema’s assessment, given the Falcons’ desperate need for a franchise quarterback.

Photographer: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire


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