2013 NFL Draft: Breaking Down Atlanta Falcons Quarterbacks

Kevin C. Cox

Breaking down whether there's a need at quarterback.

This is a new series looking at each position on the 2013 Atlanta Falcons roster before the draft. Embrace it.

It would be safe to say that the Falcons don't have a huge need at quarterback.

A year ago, Matt Ryan placed fifth or better in a host of major statistical categories at the position. Whether you want to quibble with his position among the greats or not, he's easily a Top 10 quarterback in today's NFL, and he finally got that slavering, poop-throwing playoff monkey off his back in 2012.

If the Falcons just had Ryan and a lot of flotsam and jetsam behind him, you could be forgiven if you were concerned. After all, all it takes is one injury to force your backup into the game, and the fortunes of every playoff-bound NFL team can change that quickly.

Fortunately, the Falcons do have another option, albeit not a lot of depth. If you care to join me, I thought I'd take a closer look at what the Falcons bring to bear at the quarterback position.

Starter, Matt Ryan

Stats: 422/615, 68.6% completion percentage, 4,719 yards, , 7.7 yards per attempt, 32 touchdowns, 14 interceptions

Ryan has the finest season of his career a year ago. He got his first playoff victory. He was a dunderheaded fumble and some actual defensive play away from going to his first Super Bowl. If not for that pitiful five interception game against the Cardinals, he would have been in the MVP conversation.

Yes, Ryan's one of the best starters in the NFL today. Yes, he's getting a fat extension. No, he's not going anywhere.

That more or less establishes where the Falcons stand. They have one of the best seven or so starters in the league, they intend to keep him and they intend to pass the football. As long as that continues, the Falcons will be a playoff threat annually, and they will remain set at the quarterback position.

Ryan's not the concern here. As long as he stays healthy, he's going to be a mighty useful player for anywhere from the next five-to-ten years.

Backup, Dominique Davis

No stats last year.

An intriguing backup option, Davis combines athleticism, a strong arm and quality football smarts with a cheap cap hit. In pre-season just a year ago, he looked quite good.

We don't know what Davis looks like when he's in an actual NFL game situation, and with any luck, we won't. The trick with backups is that they should have enough promise to get you excited about the possibility of seeing them, but they should also be invisible. Ryan's been healthy enough to ensure that thus far.

If Davis has to step in, though, at least he looks the part. He showed a lot of poise in his 2012 pre-season debut, flashing a veteran's pocket presence alongside his physical tools. Expecting too much out of him would be dangerous, but there's no reason to believe that Davis can't be a useful backup in 2013 and beyond. I'm willing to bet the job is his.

The Bottom Line

That's it. If the Falcons want a developmental third quarterback or bring in honest competition for Davis, they'll need to draft well or sign a veteran quarterback. The position seems set for years to come, honestly, but having a third guy on the practice squad could make a big difference if the worst should occur

What do you think of the position?

Grade: A

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