According to a report from Peter King earlier in the week, the Falcons are leaning towards taking a quarterback with the fourth overall pick. There’s a solid chance this is nothing more than smoke, as Terry Fontenot attempts to increase the bidding for teams looking to acquire a quarterback, but if it isn’t, who should the Falcons hope falls into their lap at #4. It almost seems certain that Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson will go #1 and #2, and the 49ers will surely take a quarterback after trading up to third overall. However, two of Justin Fields, Mac Jones, and Trey Lance will be available for Atlanta if they do not trade back, so we asked our table of writers which one would be the best fit to take over after Matt Ryan?
If you follow me on Twitter or keep up with the site, you know I love Mac Jones. He has all the intangibles you want in a quarterback, as Alex recently pointed out, but he also is the the most accurate passer and throws the most catchable ball. In the right system, I think he could be a day one starter and lead a franchise for the next 10-20 years.
However, if the Falcons ended up having the choice of these three players, it’s hard to pass up on the upside of Fields or Lance. I think both will need some time as a backup before they are thrown into the fire, but luckily, they will get that in Atlanta. Matt Ryan is the guy for at least one more season — probably two — so I would take my chances with Lance if he is available. He has the potential to be an all-around weapon in Arthur Smith‘s offense, and I think he would thrive after a couple of seasons learning behind Matt Ryan.
I already ranked the quarterbacks earlier this week, but honestly, I’m having a bit of buyer’s remorse. It’s hard for me to say Justin Fields is the fourth-best quarterback in this draft because he’s easily QB1 in 2022. It’s just a really good class.
Whenever there is a crop of quarterbacks coming into the league — at least one or two of them is bound to be terrible, right? Look at Tua Tagovailoa. I’m not saying he’s going to be a bust by any means, but he really hasn’t been effective so far, and the problems he displays on film are errors that typically aren’t corrected easily. He was ranked at or near 30th for short, intermediate, and deep accuracy with one of the lowest on-target rates in the NFL. Tua was supposed to be this “can’t miss” deadeye accurate prospect, but that just wasn’t the case in his first season.
I think Trey Lance is QB2. He has all of the potential in the world, and now it’s looking like he will go to either the Falcons or 49ers — a very ideal situation for him. However, I also think Lance is the most likely to bust, followed by Zach Wilson. I used to be a very big Wilson guy, but he makes a lot of gaudy mistakes on tape — mistakes I’m not sure the Jets can coach out of him. I’m starting to like Justin Fields a bit more, but really — all three of these guys have the potential to be great quarterbacks.
I haven’t even talked about Mac Jones yet, but I think he’s severely over-hated for no reason at all. He has all of the tools to be successful; even though he doesn’t have a rocket for an arm, he certainly can put the ball anywhere it needs to be. Of course, this seems like an amazing quarterback class that is completely bust proof, but I’m sure that’s been said plenty of times before.
Now that all four non-Trevor Lawrence quarterback prospects have performed at their respective pro days, I finally know which quarterback I’d prefer if Terry Fontenot were to take one with the fourth overall pick — Mac Jones. There is slight sarcasm in that statement as pro days mean very little in terms of watching a quarterback throw with no surrounding circumstances; it’s meant to be fun and watching all four of them — Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Trey Lance, and Mac Jones — was a treat as they’re all supremely talented.
The most important trait of a quarterback is supreme competitiveness, regardless of talent, because they’re all special whether they have a cannon for an arm or are ultra-athletic. Jones’ drive to be great, which former teammates and coaches have raved about, is what pushes him ahead of the other prospects. There are multiple stories from Alabama of his intense focus and determination that is necessary to succeed in the NFL. He might not have as big of an arm as Wilson or be as athletic as Fields and Lance, but Jones throws a beautiful ball and is more accurate than any of the aforementioned prospects. Pair that with his drive to be great, and I think he is the second-best quarterback in this draft class.
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