It shouldn’t have come as a surprise — the Falcons should be exploring all of their options leading up to draft night — but Adam Schefter reported earlier this week that several teams have contacted Atlanta regarding the 4th pick, and that the Falcons “are open to moving” out of that spot.
If the Falcons can get something similar to what the Dolphins received from the 49ers, it will likely come down to this: unless they are in love with one of the quarterbacks left on the board, they will probably trade the pick. There is simply too much value in a potential trade-back to pass up. However, I’m not sure there will be a deal out there anywhere close to what the Dolphins received from the Niners. There aren’t many quarterback-needy franchises behind the Falcons until the bottom half of the first round, which will make it more difficult for Terry Fontenot to find proper value. With that in mind, here are the teams that are most likely to move up and take a quarterback.
Denver Broncos (9th)
As of now, the Broncos are the highest quarterback-needy team in the draft behind the Falcons. The Bengals, Dolphins, Lions, and Panthers all seem to be set at quarterback for 2021. If the Falcons are going to trade the pick, it looks like they will have to move back to ninth at the very least. This would be an aggressive move by new Broncos general manager George Paton, but that’s not uncommon for first-year GMs, and everyone is aware of how impatient John Elway can be.
New England Patriots (15th)
The Patriots seem willing to give Newton another opportunity in 2021, but they can’t possibly think he’s the answer for the future. They need a franchise quarterback as much as anyone, and they have the decision-makers in place to pull the trigger on a blockbuster deal. It would take quite a bit of future draft capital, but does Bill Belichick really want to waste another season this late in his career with Cam Newton as his quarterback?
Washington Football Team (19th)
Amazingly, the Washington Football Team made the playoffs last season, but it wasn’t because of their quarterback play. They have an extremely talented defense and some decent weapons on offense; they seem to be a quarterback away from being serious contenders in the NFC. However, that probably won’t be available for them at 19. They will have to move up if they want their pick of the litter, and while jumping to #4 would require a ton of draft capital, it’s not impossible and may be worth it, considering how much talent they already have on the roster.
Chicago Bears (20th)
The Bears can’t seriously believe Andy Dalton is the answer at quarterback, and they are another team with a lot of talent on both sides of the ball that is ready to win now. But like Washington and New England, the draft capital it would take to move up 16 spots would be monumental.
Pittsburgh Steelers (24th)
It looks like the Steelers will ride with Big Ben for one more season, but they still need to find his heir apparent. However, what might it take for the Steelers to jump all the way up to #4 in the draft? Something like this:
— Aaron Freeman (@falcfans) April 7, 2021
I’ll just put this to bed now — that’s not happening.
So, as you can see, the Falcons may not have a lot of inspiring options to trade back with. Unless one of the aforementioned teams or a surprise suitor wows Terry Fontenot with a ton of draft capital, it’s possible he just decides to stand pat and take the best player available, whether that be a quarterback or someone else. There will be A TON of rumors leading up to the draft, but I’m not convinced it will be easy for the Falcons to find a great deal worth trading back.