One of the most intriguing questions yet to be answered by this Atlanta team—hell, it might be the only intriguing question—is whether they’ll settle into a top 5 draft selection when the dust settles on the 2020 season.
That will entirely be determined by the final two games of the season and the fortunes of teams like the Panthers, Bengals, Texans, and Cowboys, but we have our hunches and we’d like to hear yours. You’ll find our best guesses below, and we’ll welcome yours in the comments.
My hunch is that the Panthers or Bengals will win one of their final two games, vaulting the Falcons into the 4th pick. If they get there, it will be the first time they’ve ever picked at #4, having sandwiched that with three #3 picks (Matt Ryan, Bruce Pickens, and Claude Humphrey) and one #5 pick (Deion Sanders). The next regime would have to be feeling pretty good about coming in with quite a bit of a draft capital and a top five pick, even if the roster questions and shaky cap picture won’t make the offseason a walk in the park. -Dave Choate
I BOLDLY predict the Falcons’ draft slot will not change. The top two slots are mathematically out of reach so our best hope is third overall. Falcons won’t have a shot at three unless if we think the Bengals can beat the Texans. I can’t see that happening. So there is a mini logjam with the Panthers and the Texans. Looking at the remaining schedules, only the Texans should have a favored game remaining on the schedule (the aforementioned Bengals matchup). I don’t see anywhere where the Falcons or Panthers should be considered the likely winner so the Falcons are almost certainly stuck at 5. - Matt Chambers
I’m with Matt on this one. Given the teams ahead of the Falcons and their upcoming games, this seems like the most likely path. The Chiefs will likely play their starters against us and it’s quite possible Tampa Bay will still have something to play for in the final week of the season. This makes me believe the current order will remain mostly unchanged with Atlanta finishing at 4-12. Fun times. - David Walker
Let’s just keep it simple and go with the house money here. While my gut tells me the Falcons might find some way to screw this up, the most likely scenario is that they’ll find a home at 5 and just hang there. I still think that last game at Tampa Bay is a potential win if guys start wanting to play for their jobs/want one last chance for tape for a new destination. But they’ll be picking high regardless. Picking top 5 could mean a lot of things, even a new quarterback. Trading out of that spot could set the franchise up nicely for the future, too. - Cory Woodroof
I agree with Dave here, for the same reasons. Much like everyone else, I think the Falcons will lose their final two games against the Chiefs and Buccaneers (quite the bold prediction, I know), so it will come down to needing the Panthers or the Bengals to win one more. They each have a game remaining against a team currently below .500 in Week 16, with Carolina facing Washing and Cincinnati going against Houston (their Week 17 matchups are much tougher against the Saints and Ravens). I think one of them will come out victorious and leave the door open for Atlanta to jump one more spot, with an outside shot of both winning and moving the Falcons all the way to 3. In short, we should be Panthers and Bengals fans these last two weeks. - Adnan Ikic