The lead up to the 2021 NFL Draft is exciting and ever-changing, with opinions and reports . The rumor mill has been very busy of late, and it seems we get a new rumor by the day. It’s understandable as the Falcons have a new regime who not only has a former league MVP at the quarterback position, but also a top-5 selection in the upcoming draft.
The latest rumor comes by way of ESPN Insider Chris Mortensen, who appeared on the network’s most recent draft special. When they got to the Falcons pick, Mortensen shared what he’s heard the Falcons’ plans might be at the end of the month.
What I’m hearing is that [Terry] Fontenot is more focused on quarterback, and Arthur Smith believes that Matt Ryan does have two or more years left. He has no real medical history, he hasn’t missed many games in his career and there hasn’t been a big drop off in his play.
Mortensen also mentions who he hears the Falcons may target at quarterback, assuming that’s the direction they decide to go in.
One thing I do hear though is that if they do go quarterback at No. 4, then Trey Lance is probably the guy.
One report this far out from the draft doesn’t necessarily paint a full picture, but Mortensen has been doing this for a long time and presumably is sharing insights he picked up from someone within the Atlanta organization. I don’t envy the Falcons on the whole “draft a quarterback or don’t” dilemma, as I find myself personally changing opinions on the subject. Ryan has showed that he’s a player who can run a high-powered offense, especially if you have the right pieces around him, but you can’t fault the team for looking down the road with a brand new coaching staff and front office in plan. If things go according to plan, you typically don’t have a top-5 selection sitting in your lap. Passing on a future franchise quarterback may be an opportunity Fontenot feels he simply can’t pass up, and most of the reporting to this point has suggested that’s where he’s leaning.
Mortensen also mentions the prospect of Trey Lance being the guy they would target, and I’m all for that. Lance would find his way on the field on a limited basis this year—Arthur Smith isn’t going to let a player with his skills go an entire year with no snaps—and then likely take over the starting job in a year or two. It won’t be the year one impact pick many fans are clamoring for with this team’s many holes, but if Lance pans out, the Falcons could be taking care of their quarterback position for many years to come.
Ultimately though, it will come down to Fontenot and Smith agreeing on a decision, and rolling with it, and there’s been no indications public or otherwise that there’s any kind of great battle between the two over who’s coming aboard in the draft. In the end, we expect the team’s new general manager to stock the cupboard for Smith and the new coach to find a way to use them effectively, and so it’s worth continuing to watch what’s being reported about where Fontenot is leaning on April 29.