Non-QB 1st round draft targets for the Atlanta Falcons


If the Falcons find their quarterback solution before draft day, who will Terry Fontenot target with Atlanta’s No. 8 pick?

Signing Kirk Cousins, Baker Mayfield, or Russell Wilson or trading for Justin Fields will give the Falcons the opportunity to land another cornerstone type of player with their fourth consecutive top 10 draft pick. Here are the guys I’ve got my eye on.

Malik Nabers

Yes, I’m an LSU alum. No, I’m not biased. Malik Nabers is effortlessly fast. He’s closer to Marvin Harrison Jr. than a lot of people would have you believe. The guy had 34 receptions that went more than 20 yards, leading the country. He’s the perfect complement to Drake London‘s physical style of play and might even be the Falcosn WR1 over London.

Rome Odunze

A lot of football fans weren’t familiar with Odunze until Washington made it to the Pac-12 championship and subsequent College Football Playoff, but they quickly learned. Odunze logged 32 catches of 20+ yards (second to Nabers) because of his ability to make contested plays down the field and explosive plays after the catch. Nabers and Odunze have WR1 pedigree.

Brock Bowers

Now, stop me if you’ve heard this before, “Bowers is more of an offensive weapon than a traditional tight end.” That’s all we’ve heard about Kyle Pitts since Atlanta made him the highest-drafted player at his position in league history. Well, Bowers is a better prospect than Pitts, in my opinion.

The Falcons are expected to run a lot of 11 personnel, which only features one tight end on the field, but if we’ve learned anything from Terry Fontenot’s draft history, he’s going take the best player available, which very well may be the greatest college tight end in history.

Olu Fashanu

Similar to tight end, tackle isn’t a need. Jake Matthews and Kaleb McGary are a solid duo that are under contract for multiple years. However, if the Falcons go best player available, as they have in past years, Fashanu and Joe Alt are a possibility.

The Penn State product finished his career with zero sacks allowed on 733 pass-blocking snaps over 29 games… that’s folklore stuff. It could get complicated with Matthews and McGay, but if we are talking BPA, Fashanu could be it.

Joe Alt

Everything I said for Fashanu can be said for Alt. He’s an absolute freak of a human being. The Notre Dame product is the type of guy that makes you question if we are the same species. His insane athleticism and size translate in both facets of offensive line play too.

Dallas Turner

For years, Falcons fans have begged for a premier pass rusher. They may finally get it this year. Turner is a freaky athlete who led the SEC in sacks last season and has all of the talent in the world to develop into that premier sack artist the Falcons have been missing since John Abraham.

Jared Verse

Unlike Turner, Verse is a little more refined as a pass rusher, but he is older, so he should be. The Florida State product is a complete product that can impact the pass and run, totaling 29 tackles for loss and 18 sacks in 25 games in Tallahassee.

Terrion Arnold

How about A.J. Terrell’s long-term running mate? Arnold posted an SEC-best 17 passes defended and five interceptions in 2023. He may be the first cornerback taken off the board in April.

Quinyon Mitchell

This is a guy that not many people are talking about. Mitchell is only the second Toledo player to earn All-America honors in back-to-back seasons, having set school records for passes defended in a season (25) and career (52). As the draft approaches, Falcons fans will hear more about this kid.

Drake London’s running mate in Malik Nabers or Rome Odunze? How about making the most lethal tight end duo in the league with Kyle Pitts and Brock Bowers? Maybe we sure up the left tackle spot for the next decade with Joe Alt or Olu Fashanu? Finally, do the Falcons find a premier edge rusher in the draft in Dallas Turner or Jared Verse? Or does Atlanta find A.J. Terrell’s running mate in Terrion Arnold or Quinyon Mitchell?

If the Falcons aren’t drafting a quarterback with the No. 8 overall pick, the possibilities with that selection should have fans salivating.

Photographer: John Korduner/Icon Sportswire

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