The Falcons under Thomas Dimitroff could be be a bit predictable. There were typically some wildcards, like the annual question of whether the team would go bold and trade up. Otherwise, you could usually link that first-round pick to one or two positions. The Falcons drafted for need and they would trade up to get their guy.
The Falcons under Terry Fontenot will be different if they follow their stated plan. Fontenot is a big proponent for drafting the best player available. For instance, it means the Falcons could draft Penei Sewell, the draft’s top tackle, despite having heavy investment and decent depth already at tackle. The idea is over time the team will have much more talent and improved depth, while addressing needs primarily in free agency.
The summary her is that we can’t really look at just a few positions in this draft. Fontenot, if going by best player available, should be open to a number of options. The Falcons have been linked to or otherwise mocked a variety of players as we still try to find where teams value certain prospects.
Let’s check in on Mel Kiper’s big board to see where some of these players land.
Kyle Pitts: 2nd overall
We have been high on Pitts at the Falcoholic for a while now. He really appears to be something special. Special and 2nd overall as a tight end are still completely different universes. You do not see tight ends drafted this high. You also do not see prospects like Pitts. Kiper calls Pitts a “matchup nightmare” and believes a good coordinator will send him targets like he’s a WR1. The versatility at the tight end position would also be highly impactful in Arthur Smith’s scheme.
I think if we really are looking at best player available, Pitts has to be in heavy consideration here.
Justin Fields: 6th overall
Where Fields ends up is probably the biggest wildcard of the draft. He was believed to be the second best quarterback in the draft with third place not being particularly close. Based on current rumors, the first three picks in the draft will be quarterbacks and none of them will be Fields. Kiper has Fields as his second quarterback, stating he believes in Fields’ talent but agrees he still needs to make some improvements. Fields did light up his pro day while Mac Jones, 12th overall, may have Kyle Shanahan rethinking drafting the Alabama quarterback. Zach Wilson follows at seventh overall.
Penei Sewell: 8th overall
Kiper calls the blindside blocker the top tackle in the draft but he is followed immediately by Rashawn Slater and Alijah Vera-Tucker. Sewell should be great and clearly has loads of potential. Is he significantly better than other players? If Fontenot is looking at value, they could attempt trading down, adding extra picks, and selecting one of these later linemen, especially if they grade out so similarly.
Micah Parsons: 11th overall
The draft’s top pass rusher doesn’t crack the top 10. Kiper loves his versatility, however, past drafts are littered with these tweeners who have never been able to fit into a single position. Parsons appears supremely talented but must be a long shot to land fourth in the draft. He could make more sense as a trade-down option.
Trey Lance: 13th overall
Lance has been linked to the Falcons, most recently by Peter King, as a player the Falcons could sit for two years. Lance would need it after limited playing time in college, however, he has an elite skillset that make him extremely interesting. He does come in one slot after Jones as the fifth best quarterback in the draft.
If we were to look at the draft based strictly on Kiper’s list, the Falcons would be smartest to nab Pitts. He is the only tight end even in Kiper’s top 25 and presents impressive value at 4. You could make a convincing argument for grabbing Fields if he’s there at #6, as well. However, once you get past Fields, the Falcons may want to consider trading down, at least if Kiper’s board bears any resemblance to reality.