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The first three picks of the 2021 NFL draft are all expected to be quarterbacks, with Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and BYU’s Zach Wilson expected to take the first two, with the San Francisco 49ers picking their favorite of the remaining top passers at No. 3 overall.
That means the first big crossroads of this year’s draft comes at No. 4 overall, where the Atlanta Falcons could go any of many different directions.
They could take that fourth quarterback for themselves, opt for the top non-quarterback in this year’s class, or trade out of the pick.
It appears they’re still weighing all of those options, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:
The Falcons are financially married to Matt Ryan through the 2022 season, so unless they’re willing to let the No. 4 overall pick ride the bench for two years, taking a quarterback feels like the least likely option.
The easiest choice would be to sit tight and pick Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, who is widely regarded as the best overall prospect that doesn’t line up under center. Though it’s rare for a tight end to get top-five consideration, Pitts’ rare combination of size, length, athleticism and versatility make him the exception.
Then there’s the option that would likely be ideal for the Falcons, which is enticing another quarterback-needy team to trade up to that No. 4 slot to pick the best of the rest at the game’s most important position. Atlanta needs way more than one player, even one as talented as Pitts, and moving back would allow them to add additional picks and get better value at positions of need later in the first round.
Whatever decision they make, it’s sure to have a seismic impact on the rest of the first round.