The Falcons have an obvious need at quarterback and are one of several teams picking in the top ten of the NFL draft with an opening for a long-term signal caller. Atlanta infamously pursued Deshaun Watson and failed, which resulted in a shitstorm for the organization. Arthur Blank, Arthur Smith, and Terry Fontenot have all taken their thrashings from the media, but it still fully isolated a portion of the fanbase who can’t forgive a franchise for pursuing a player with 20+ sexual misconduct allegations — understandably so.
Everyone knows the rest of the story. The Falcons were forced to trade Matt Ryan because the roster wasn’t in a position to compete with an aging quarterback that had a completely bloated contract. Atlanta then quickly signed Marcus Mariota to a team-friendly, two-year deal, who will seemingly be the team’s stopgap until Fontenot can find the future at the position.
This begs the question of where and when the Falcons will find the franchise quarterback to succeed Ryan. We’ve seen there is more than one way to find the guy outside of the NFL draft — i.e., Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson. However, most quarterbacks are found through the draft, so where could the Falcons find said quarterback this April?
Kenny Pickett and Malik Willis are the consensus top two quarterbacks for the 2022 NFL draft, both of whom are slotted to go in the top ten in a little over a week. If the Falcons are interested in either prospect, Atlanta will have to pull the trigger with their 8th overall pick. To me, neither will be in the top eight of Fontenot’s big board. So, if I had to guess, the Falcons won’t be drafting a quarterback with their first-round pick.
Moving on to the next tier of prospects; this crop could be available when the Falcons’ second-rounder comes on the clock, but it’s also possible Atlanta might have to trade up back into the first round to grab one of Sam Howell, Desmond Ridder, or Matt Corral.
In my eyes, this is the area the Falcons will most likely be looking for a signal caller. Overall, it is a weak class, and Terry Fontenot has been adamant about the Falcons’ approach come draft time — best player available. Pickett and Willis won’t make the cut for the first-round pick, but the second-tier of prospects will surely be on the Falcons’ big board before their second-round picks. That is why I believe IF the Falcons draft a successor, it’ll be a trade back into the first round or with one of their second-rounders.
Photographer: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire
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