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How an early run on quarterbacks could help the Atlanta Falcons

If the Browns do follow through on drafting Mitchell Trubisky, it might kick off a big run.

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

When the Browns turn in their pick Thursday night to kick off the festivities for the 2017 NFL Draft, they’ll be able to chart a course for every team that follows them. There are two scenarios for the Browns if they stand pat, as I see it.

  1. Take Myles Garrett, the consensus #1 pick
  2. Take Mitchell Trubisky, the quarterback they’ve inexplicably been considering at #1 for a while now

Taking Garrett would probably mean no immediate early run on quarterbacks, though Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers loom large. But taking Trubisky could very well set off a cascade of picks that sees multiple quarterbacks going in the top ten, which could nudge borderline quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Davis Webb into the first round mix. Despite all the noise about Deshaun Watson not being worth a first round pick, I do anticipate he’ll go there, along with the very talented DeShone Kizer. That’s five QBs, plus the possibility that one insane and desperate team grabs another QB who has no business going in the first.

If you’re a team picking at the end of the first round who doesn’t need a quarterback—and to be clear, that’s most teams picking near the end of the first round—this is a development you welcome. It means fewer top-flight offensive linemen and defenders are going to be off the board, and it increases the chance that a player you never thought was going to be available is going to fall a long way. Pair a quarterback-heavy run with the strong possibility that the Panthers snag a running back in the top ten and you can start to feel optimistic about landing a player that should have gone in the 20s or even teens.

What’s the net result of that for the Falcons? If five quarterbacks go in the first round—a legitimate possibility that becomes even more likely if Trubisky goes right away—the Falcons are likely to be in better shape at #31. I’m rooting for that outcome both because of its potential to give the Falcons more choices, and because it means that any quarterback the Saints might want at #32 may already be gone. What can I say, I’m petty.