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New The Athletic mock lands Falcons franchise quarterback and receiver combo

LSU’s Jayden Daniels and Washington’s Ja’Lynn Polk give Atlanta intriguing additions to the offense.

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ReliaQuest Bowl - Wisconsin v LSU Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons have made picking offensive building blocks in the top ten something of a habit in recent years, grabbing Kyle Pitts in 2021, Drake London in 2022, and Bijan Robinson in 2023. If The Athletic’s draft guru Dane Brugler has his druthers, they’ll go back to their well again in 2024.

In his latest two round mock draft, Brugler has the Falcons choosing LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels at #8 and using their second round pick to grab productive Washington receiver Ja’Lynn Polk. That would once again force the Falcons to invest in their defense heavily via free agency and potentially trade, but should set the offense up to be the kind of unit we dreamed it might be heading into 2023.

We’ll start with Daniels, who I would be ecstatic to get at 8. A smart, polished passer who is extremely dangerous on the move, Daniels has terrific upside and would be an immediate upgrade on what the Falcons trotted out this past season. Working behind a quality offensive line and with a strong ground game to lean on, Daniels would land in a good situation and would hopefully have a good offensive coordinator to help play to his considerable strengths and ensure a successful rookie season.

He would be throwing to Drake London, Kyle Pitts, Bijan Robinson, and then Polk. The Washington product is an excellent route runner, willing blocker, and smooth pass catcher who would add a legitimate #2 option behind London at wide receiver. I don’t need to tell you that the Falcons have lacked that kind of player for a while now, and it’s hard not to like Atlanta setting up their rookie quarterback with another weapon right out of the gate.

The argument against doing this is fairly obvious. I don’t think folks are going to quibble that much with getting a franchise quarterback with a top ten pick, but I do expect there to be some pushback on using a second round pick on another weapon for the offense when the team’s pass rush and secondary need infusions of talent to build on their 2023 improvement. The team hasn’t used a first round pick on that side of the ball since 2020 and still needs to acquire a young, top-shelf pass rusher at some point, so I can certainly see another receiver being met with eye rolls. The fact that the Falcons have one credible NFL starter at receiver heading into this offseason should make that easier to accept, however.

This doesn’t seem like a far-fetched scenario if Daniels makes it all the way to pick 8, given that Atlanta should be eyeing their next franchise signal caller in this upcoming class. What do you think of this two round haul?