Three weeks until the NFL draft and we still have no idea what the Atlanta Falcons will do. The team has shown interest in the top quarterback prospects. The team is also rumored to have a strong interest in tight end Kyle Pitts. The team has also reportedly been open to trade discussions.
Everything appears on the table for Atlanta. ESPN analyst Mina Kimes summed up the situation perfectly: any of those potential moves are defensible. Terry Fontenot can kick off the transition to a new era with Justin Fields or Trey Lance. He can grab the best player in the draft and potentially generational talent in Pitts. Or with the top three picks essentially decided, he can trade the pick and load up on cheap, young rookies for the next two to three years.
When the San Francisco 49ers first traded up to the third overall pick a few weeks back, some initially thought the lack of additional quarterbacks would hurt the Falcons. However, we believed it increased the value. There was no more uncertainty at the 4th pick, and if any team desired to “get their guy,” they have to trade with the Falcons. Any other spot risks getting jumped, especially by the desperate Carolina Panthers.
The only question is if a team liked their guy enough to trade substantial draft capital. For instance, the Dallas Cowboys are rumored to be considering a trade up for Pitts. Now Washington Football Team, nearly Panthers-level desperate for a quarterback, is considering a trade as well, per Michael Lombardi (via Burgundy Blog).
.@mlombardiNFL: "I think Washington is going to be the next team to unload all their picks to try to get a QB. I think they love Lance. I don't think, I KNOW Washington loves Lance … I think they're willing to go get him."— Burgundy Blog (@BurgundyBlog) April 7, 2021
Washington has consistently made out list of potential trade candidates, but at 19th overall, would need to pay a premium to get to 4. In fact, our latest mock draft from editor Kevin Knight had the Falcons swapping picks with Washington. Knight’s projected trade was Washington sending over nearly every 2021 pick and its 1st round pick in 2022. However, if there is heavy interest in the 4th overall pick, such as from Dallas for Pitts or other teams, like Chicago or Denver, looking to secure either Fields or Lance, that price is almost certain to move up.
If the Falcons do trade down, we have a much better idea on their plan for the future. Fontenot and Arthur Smith will be sticking with Matt Ryan for at least the next few years, providing Ryan with more help instead of a backup breathing down his neck.