In his first press conference with the Atlanta media, new GM Terry Fontenot was asked repeatedly about his evaluation of the Falcons roster. While he deftly declined to answer each time, he did dive in when asked explicitly about his draft philosophy.
For fans who have been tired of the team drafting at positions of need, take heart! Fontenot is a big believer in going with the best player available, no matter the position or your current strength at the position.
Fontenot: In the draft, you need to take the best player. At every position. You should never say "oh we're good there", and refuse to draft someone.— Kevin Knight (@FalcoholicKevin) January 19, 2021
Fontenot explicitly mentioned Ozzie Newsome as a GM he was personally influenced by. Newsome had said before that by going with the best player available, he wound up drafting more hall of fame players, even if it was a position of strength on the team. This is in sharp contrast to former GM Thomas Dimitroff, who preferred addressing needs and making moves (if necessary) to address those needs.
What might this mean for the 2021 draft? Taking a QB in the first is certainly a possibility, but don’t forget that Newsome would also trade back in the draft to stockpile picks. It also intimates that other positions like offensive tackle will not be off the board, even if the team has two penciled in starters at the position already.
Of course, the Falcons have plenty of needs going into this draft, so that certainly gives Fontenot a little more flexibility to go BPA without shirking clear needs on the roster. Selecting nearly any position on defense would seem reasonable at this point.
What are your thoughts on Fontenot adopting the best player available philosophy for the Falcons?