In their last mock draft, The Draft Network has the Falcons selecting quarterback Sam Howell out of North Carolina with their first-round pick:
In his 2022 NFL Mock Draft 2.0, @Jordan_Reid gave Atlanta their quarterback of the future with UNC QB Sam Howell 👀🚨👀
What do you think of Howell's fit with the Falcons? 🤔👇
— The Draft Network (@TheDraftNetwork) September 30, 2021
The obvious (and unfair) comparison that Howell gets is often Mitchell Trubisky, a fellow UNC quarterback. I think Trubisky was a victim of circumstance, and he wasn’t the god-awful bust he was made out to be at times. Matt Nagy utilized him well to begin his career but went further away from that each year with Trubisky, which ultimately led to the former Tar Heel’s downfall. It doesn’t help that two All-Pro quarterbacks were selected after him, but that’s not his fault. I digress, but Howell would be a very polarizing pick for Atlanta.
This is what Reid had to say about Howell and the Falcons:
The Falcons have struggled during the early parts of the Fontenot-Smith regime, but the clear biggest need for the team is in the trenches. With a defensive line that’s struggling to generate pressure as well as an offensive front that hasn’t panned out, the easy selection is to go with a player up front. But does the team skip out on picking the heir apparent for Matt Ryan for the second year in a row? Taking a different route from last year, they elect to select Howell in hopes of building around him while sitting behind Ryan.
Howell is an interesting quarterback that does resemble Trubisky in some ways. He’s a good athlete who runs a heavy RPO offense that focuses on him making quick decisions and getting the ball to his playmakers. He doesn’t have incredible arm strength, but it’s good enough to shake in the NFL. I think a more proper pro comparison to Howell would be Baker Mayfield.
I’m in the camp that says Matt Corral is clearly the best quarterback in this class, with not too much behind him. Everyone reaches on quarterbacks, but with a potential high pick in a VERY talented class at multiple positions of need, it’s hard to stomach taking Howell here. Maybe even a guy like Carson Strong on day two could be the route, but it’s way too early for these discussions anyways.