The 2021 draft is the most important since the one in 2008… when the Falcons drafted Matt Ryan. And that’s because this could be the offseason that Atlanta parts ways with not only their franchise quarterback of the last 13 years but also one of the greatest receivers to ever strap it up, Julio Jones. I’m not so sure Uncle Arthur and the new regime will want to go in that direction, but they’d be fools not to explore every alternative after the way the last three seasons have unfolded.
As of now, I’m pretty confident of how I want the Falcons to approach the first round and who I want them to take, but I’ll save that opinion for after I get a deeper look at all of the top prospects and I know who our head coach is. This piece is on the only three directions I think the Falcons should even be considering.
Draft a Quarterback
Just because the Falcons draft a quarterback does not mean they have to trade Matt Ryan this offseason. In the same breath, just because they believe in Matt Ryan doesn’t mean they should not select a quarterback. Those two things are not mutually exclusive — just see what has happened with the Packers this year. Ryan will be difficult to move on from, especially if the Falcons goal is to win in 2021 as Rich McKay stated at the Falcons end of season press conference. However, this quarterback class could be too juicy to pass up on. If the new regime falls in love with any of the quarterbacks (not named Trevor Lawrence since the Jaguars will not trade the first pick), they should do everything in their power to ensure they draft him.
If the new general manager and head coach do not feel that any of the quarterback prospects after Trevor Lawrence are a slam dunk, or perhaps they like someone who could be selected later, trading back should most definitely be on the table. There are many outstanding quarterbacks, but there are also a ton of quarterback-needy teams. The Falcons could leverage their favorable draft position and most likely bring in an incredible haul in return. If Atlanta is attempting to win-now in 2021 by building around Matt Ryan, this might be their best course of action.
Draft Penei Sewell
The quarterbacks might be who everyone is talking about in the top-five, but there isn’t a more NFL-ready prospect than Penei Sewell. He has the opportunity to be a franchise cornerstone at the left tackle position for 10+ years — something the Falcons need desperately. Jake Matthews has been very solid over his career, but he had a down 2020, and Sewell would give the next regime a lot more flexibility with the offensive line. They could move the contract of Matthews or shuffle things around and see what works. Either way, adding Sewell would benefit this unit astronomically, and patching up the offensive line has to be among the Falcons top priorities if they plan on keeping Matt Ryan. There are other phenomenal prospects in this draft, but given Atlanta’s needs, Sewell is the only non-quarterback I would be considering. Otherwise, a move back in the draft is the wisest decision.
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