The Atlanta Falcons are mysterious right now. They’ve cultivated the sense that they might do anything with their first round selection, the exact sort of unpredictability that makes teams a little nervous and drives fans a little nuts, and they’ll be eager to keep that aura of endless possibility humming until they ultimately make a selection or a trade.
It’s no surprise, then, that a final pre-draft press conference on Wednesday featuring Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith gave us exactly zero new information. It was interesting, of course, but when you lean back and look at what was said, there’s absolutely no way to strengthen your particular deeply-held convictions about the draft. Let’s review.
Terry Fontenot reiterated that he holds Julio Jones in "high regard" but because of cap issues the team has to consider "all options"— Jeff Schultz (@JeffSchultzATL) April 28, 2021
He has said this before.
From Day 1.
Julio Jones may be a Falcon or he may not. The team would listen to the right offer because they’re in deep cap trouble, but it has to be the right offer.
Terry Fontenot says the Falcons don't want to be in a position to restructure contracts because it hurts them in future years.— William McFadden (@willmcfadden) April 28, 2021
You can tell it pained Fontenot to have to re-structure deals this offseason just to get moves done, and that it won’t necessarily be something the team does often after wrestling the cap back into shape.
#Falcons GM Terry Fontenot and coach Arthur Smith. Fontenot said he’s talked to every GM in the league and is ready to make a deal on the clock if need be. pic.twitter.com/pe0XnRn55W— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) April 28, 2021
Atlanta’s open to a deal if it’s the right deal, which would probably involve multiple first round picks. The asking price remains high, as it should be, and a deal is unlikely to materialize until draft night. Hell, it’s probably unlikely to materialize at all, given that it’s not worth passing up on a killer talent like Kyle Pitts or Justin Fields for a so-so return.
Terry Fontenot said they have plans to acquire quarterbacks. “We understand we have to add quarterbacks to the roster.”— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) April 28, 2021
Only Matt Ryan is under contract.
So don’t be surprised if the Falcons take a QB somewhere in the draft.
There’s only one quarterback on the roster, so...surprise! It’s still noteworthy that the Falcons didn’t make any kind of move to add a veteran, so my standing expectation remains that they do add on in the next few days. As Rothstein notes, the big question remains when.
Fontenot and Smith have both noted how important the mid- to late-round picks are in this draft for this organization. They've gotta hit on a few.— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) April 28, 2021
This goes without saying, but it doesn’t decrease the urgency one bit. Atlanta has too many holes on the roster today, both starters and depth, to fritter away a bunch of Day 3 picks on players who don’t contribute. Actually getting the right guys is another matter entirely, but it’s the right mindset.
Atlanta’s done a good job of muddling and disguising their intentions this entire time, so it’s no great surprise they didn’t come out and announce their plans on the eve of the draft. What is clear is that regardless of what happens at No. 4, the Falcons are in the early stages of sorting a difficult cap situation and trying to build a winner out of the ashes of what the previous regime left. None of that is a surprise, but all of it is important.