The Atlanta Falcons have an intriguing pick at No.4 overall, and while in the past analyst have been able to pinpoint the team’s first choice, this year is different.
The first three players off the board are set to be quarterbacks, leaving everyone wondering if Atlanta will do the same at No. 4.
Just as fans and analysts are torn, they are torn as well.
Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports that head coach Arthur Smith believes that veteran QB Matt Ryan has at least two years left in him, but general manager Terry Fontenot is focused on drafting his future replacement.
The #Falcons have a conflict about what to do with the 4th overall pick.
While head coach Arthur Smith believes Matt Ryan has at least two more seasons, GM Terry Fontenot is focused on taking a QB.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) April 6, 2021
Mortensen adds that the Falcons are likely targeting North Dakota State signal-caller Trey Lance, with Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Mac Jones projected to be gone before the 4th pick.
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Trey Lance’s Short Success at NDSU
North Dakota State has been a dominant force over the past few years, however, this year was a bit different with COVID-19 canceling the 2020 season after just one game.
The one game that the Bisons did play was against Central Arkansas and Lance looked a bit rusty, completing just 15 out of 30 passes for 149 yards and an interception. He added some help on the ground, turning 15 carries into 143 yards and two touchdowns.
Before the virus plagued the sports world, Lance had an outstanding season in 2019 as a redshirt freshman. He led ND State to an undefeated season and a National Championship, completing 67 percent of his passes for 2,786 yards and 28 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also flashed his dual-threat personality, running for 1,100 yards, and picked up 14 rushing touchdowns.
If you ask 49ers’ head coach, Kyle Shanahan, he would say it’s difficult to evaluate a guy like Lance, who missed out on the 2020 season.
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The Falcons Are Open to Trading
The Falcons are open to the idea of trading the No. 4 pick and have already been in talks with teams about doing so, according to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer in his “Monday Morning Quarterback” column.
The thing is, the Falcons are sitting on a goldmine to make a move back if they are not going to draft a quarterback. They have plenty of other needs on the offensive line which they could address by taking Penei Sewell or look to a cornerback in Patrick Surtain II, a tight end in Kyle Pitts, or even a wide receiver in Ja’Marr Chase. The Falcons really can’t go wrong with trading back because they will address a top need and add more draft capital in exchange, which is much-needed as they begin their journey re-building the club to be an NFC South contender once again.
It’s ultimately going to come down if they want Trey Lance or Justin Fields as their future franchise QB, but for now, Matt Ryan is still in charge of leading the pack.
If Smith and Fontenot can’t come to an agreement, then don’t be surprise to see team owner, Arthur Blank, make the final decision.