As the NFL draft moves from days away to hours away, the Falcons’ plans remain a mystery. Terry Fontenot has a chance to finally put together the long-term plan after two years of hemorrhaging talent, but what that is or how he plans to accomplish it remain unknowns. While Fontenot may not like the phrase rebuilding, the Falcons are indeed rebuilding.
Turning the remains of this roster into a playoff team will take years. Does that mean the team’s few remaining veterans are unlikely to stay? Jeremly Fowler of ESPN put together league-wide rumors and the team’s best defensive lineman made the list.
Grady Jarrett a potential draft-day trade
Per Fowler, Jarrett is on a short list of big-name veterans thought to be on the block, along with the likes of Baker Mayfield. It is unclear if the Falcons are actively trying to trade Jarrett or if those around the league are simply connecting dots. Jarrett is entering his age-29 season in the final year of his deal.
For the Falcons, it makes sense to move Jarrett. An expected 2023 spending spree would nullify any compensatory pick expected from Jarrett leaving via free agency. For Jarrett, burning up his prime years during a rebuild can’t possibly be enticing. As long as Jarrett’s deal remains untouched, his return feels unlikely.
Falcons linked to WR Drake London, QB Malik Willis
Fowler’s carefully-worded rumors look like those around the league expect the Falcons to be interested in Drake London and Malik Willis, both potentially the first player and their respective positions to come off of the board. Both players fit respective needs, with Fowler’s source indicating the Falcons did a lot of work looking at quarterbacks.
This is not a great year to need a quarterback, however, Willis offers a lot of raw potential like 3rd overall pick in 2021 Trey Lance. Willis has elite upside but is unlikely to make an impact until 2024, if not later.
London appears to have elevated to the top of the wide receiver class. He would be the start of replacing both Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones, giving Marcus Mariota an instant upgrade to his pass catchers.