The Falcons haven’t done well in the NFL draft over the years. Whether it’s the physical aspect of the game or the mental side, Atlanta has seemingly missed on more prospects than they’ve hit on. PFF identified each team’s biggest draft mistake over the last five years, and Mike Renner said the Falcons’ was missing the boat on Matt Ryan’s trade value.
“If you’re not a fan of the Falcons or an NFL South rival, it may surprise you to know that Atlanta has been below .500 for the entire span covered by this article — five straight years of mediocrity or worse. They refused to hit a hard reset after going 4-12 in 2020 and, in turn, held on to Matt Ryan past his usefulness in the trade market.“
Hindsight is always 20/20, and it’s easy to say now that the Falcons should’ve moved on sooner. However, there were reasons for Atlanta holding on too long, even if they weren’t valid. Arthur Blank’s desire to stay relevant, and the competitive nature of Dan Quinn and Arthur Smith pushed the organization to continue trying with Matt Ryan.
If Atlanta had hit the hard reset button in the new regime’s first offseason, Ryan could’ve been dealt for potentially more than the third-round pick he was eventually traded for, but that’s speculation. It may have only been marginally more compensation.
The exercise is fun, but I don’t think ‘not trading Matt Ryan’ is the team’s worst draft mistake over the last five years. When someone reads that headline, they’re expecting actual selections, of which the Falcons have missed plenty.
Despite turning in a career year in 2022, Kaleb McGary has been considered a bad draft pick, especially considering Thomas Dimitroff traded back into the first round to acquire the Washington product. Marlon Davidson never realized his potential, and Jalen Mayfield looks like another terrible selection.
Despite all the miscues in contract negotiations and free agency, the Falcons have had a lot of success with first-round picks. Drake London, Kyle Pitts, AJ Terrell, and Chris Lindstrom are all All-Pro/Pro Bowl-caliber talents.
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
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