Having a draft pick in the top 5 is actually somewhat rare for the Falcons. The last time it happened was in 2008 in the aftermath of the Michael Vick scandal and the Bobby Petrino disaster of 2007. Having a pick this high gives you a host of options, with the hope being that you won’t be here again for a long while.
In this series, we’ll take a look at all the different ways the Falcons can use this pick to rebuild under a new regime. Today, we start with using it to draft a quarterback, one of the most controversial options and one that’s frequently discussed both here and in the wider fanbase.
Why it makes sense
Matt Ryan will be 36 this year and his performance the last two years has been below his normally high standards, albeit not drastically and under the watchful eye of Dirk Koetter. In the eyes of many fans, Ryan may only have 2 or 3 more good years left in him, and this QB class is good enough to find a future starter outside of the top pick. A player like Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, or Trey Lance may be there at 4, and those players have the potential to be great QBs. Plus, as noted above, the Falcons have not had many top-5 picks over the years so this opportunity may not present itself again for some time.
There’s also the fact that Atlanta has a brand new front office and coaching staff coming in. Ryan will have to be replaced at some point, and it’s hard to fault a new front office for trying to find “their guy” at the beginning of their tenure. After all, it’s exactly what Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith did 13 years ago with Ryan, though Atlanta had no obvious long-term quarterback at that time.
Why it might be the wrong move
Barring a stunning move by the Jaguars, the Falcons won’t be able to get the top QB of this class in Trevor Lawrence. After him, the next three prospects look promising but all have their own sets of issues. Zach Wilson is a bit of a one-year wonder with some potential character concerns. Justin Fields is incredibly talented but his field vision needs to improve. Trey Lance may be incredibly gifted, but he has so few starting games under his belt. That’s not to say these guys can’t succeed, but all of them have notable question marks, and if you pick a player this high you can’t really afford to miss.
On top of that, we’ve seen recently that many quarterbacks can play into their late 30s at a high level. Ryan has been incredibly healthy in his career and his physical talents don’t appear to be a problem. He could very well play for 4 to 5 more years if he stays healthy, and with a great team around him could at least keep this team contending over that span.
Finally, when looking at this team, there are a host of spots on the defense in need of fixing. The safety situation is dire as is the need for multiple pass rushers. The team could also stand to continue investing in the offensive line and the running back position is a big question mark. Quarterback - right now - is just not a big need.
What do you think? Is it QB or bust for that #4 pick? Let us know in the comments below.