The Falcons don’t have a long-term answer at quarterback, and that’s not going to change regardless of what Taylor Heinicke does the rest of the season.
Atlanta fell to Josh Dobbs and the Vikings on Sunday, despite putting up a season-high 28 points. Dobbs was acquired via trade on Tuesday of last week and had no familiarity with the playbook or his teammates yet led a game-winning drive. It was as ugly of a Falcons loss as I can remember.
Heinicke looked good for the most part, outside of an inexcusable interception, but that’s who is he as a player, a gunslinger who takes risks. He was never going to be a conservative quarterback in place of Desmond Ridder.
Heinicke will get the nod again in Week 10 and the team will reassess the position during the bye week, but one thing is clear. The Falcons will be in the market for a quarterback this offseason. Whether that’s through free agency, a trade, or the draft, Atlanta will be looking for a new signal caller.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper thinks it’ll be through the draft. The draft expert predicts the Falcons will be selecting a quarterback in the first round of the upcoming cycle.
Kiper: I’ll go with the Atlanta Falcons here. They just benched Desmond Ridder, a third-round pick in 2022, and are now starting veteran Taylor Heinicke. Ridder just hasn’t shown enough as a consistent passer — he has six touchdown passes and six picks this season. He’s not the guy. The Falcons have a really solid roster on both sides of the ball, but they’re not going to be realistic NFC contenders until they figure out their quarterback situation.
Atlanta is projected to pick in the middle of Round 1, but the front office should be aggressive in trying to move up, especially with a deep 2024 quarterback class. Shedeur Sanders (Colorado) is my third-ranked passer and could be available late in the top 10 picks, but some NFL teams also like Bo Nix (Oregon), Michael Penix Jr. (Washington), J.J. McCarthy (Michigan) and Jayden Daniels (LSU) as potential first-rounders. There’s still a lot to figure out with this talented class, including which guys could return to school for another year.
Obviously, Drake Maye and Caleb Williams are dream scenarios and will require the Falcons to trade considerable capital but both are worth it. I would move multiple first-round picks and more for the opportunity to draft one of them.
The next tier of quarterbacks is still intriguing, though. I don’t think Michael Penix deserves first-round consideration. However, Shedeur Sanders, Bo Nix, J.J. McCarthy, and Jayden Daniels are very interesting targets.
Whatever your cup of tea, the Falcons will be in the market for a new quarterback this offseason.
Photographer: Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire