One Falcons draft move that would infuriate fans

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The Falcons are in the most advantageous draft position they’ve been in since taking Matt Ryan over a decade ago. Ryan restructured his bloated contract, which effectively ties him to Atlanta through next season at the very least and potentially 2022 as well. The league’s reduction in salary cap has resulted in a widespread shift of talent around the NFL as teams have released many veterans that wouldn’t have been cut in any other year.

Restructuring Matty Ice gave Terry Fontenot the most breathing room out of all the possible candidates for a restructure, so he really had no other choice. With the multitude of other restructures, Fontenot has been able to sign team-friendly one-year deals with veterans that fill positions of need. The Falcons can be much more flexible in the draft with this strategy in free agency, which aligns with the way Fontenot wants to approach the draft — best player available.

That doesn’t put any constraints on what the first-year general manager can and can’t do with the fourth overall pick. In my eyes, there really is no way the new regime completely butchers April’s draft. Taking any of the quarterback prospects, Penei Sewell, Kyle Pitts, or trading down to acquire a haul of picks would all help the Falcons for years to come.

It is entirely possible that the Falcons brass makes a monumental mistake in the fans’ eyes but truly is what’s best for the team. Even then, there is one draft move that could be bad or good for the team, but it would infuriate the fan base either way.

Trading out of the first round


Fontenot and Arthur Smith could select any prospect in the first round, and at least part of the fan base would find a way to complain about it, but trading out of the first round entirely would be unanimously disliked. Regardless of the haul of draft capital the Falcons would receive, it would disappoint fans who waited all night for nothing.

Now, that isn’t to say the return wouldn’t be worth it. In fact, the density of prospects from 30 to 75 is rich with starting-level players. Collecting multiple future first-round picks while accumulating five or six extra selections between the dense crop of prospects would be a reasonable thing to consider for a regime that wants to put in its own building blocks for the future.

There really is no telling what will happen in April’s draft, and the beauty of Fontenot’s strategy to pick the best player available is the flexibility it allows on draft night. Being in this position allows the new regime to go in any direction depending on how the board falls. However, there wouldn’t be very many happy fans if the Falcons decided to make multiple trades out of the first round, which would signal that 2021 is basically a bridge year to a new era.


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