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The reason so many NFL analysts are anticipating the Falcons will select a quarterback is because the top of the 2021 draft is loaded with QB prospects. Matt Ryan’s age isn’t a huge factor as we’ve seen time and again that pocket passers last a long time in this league. Plus, Ryan is still quite effective at 35 years old.
New general manager Terry Fontenot has said he believes in drafting the best player available, and that he wants to upgrade all positions. If BYU’s Zach Wilson or Ohio State’s Justin Fields are on the board at pick No. 4, you could make a case for either as the best player available.
Pro Football Focus released a two-round mock draft in which Atlanta goes a step further, trading up to the No. 3 spot to ensure the team gets Fields.
“TRADE! Miami gives the third overall pick to Atlanta in exchange for the fourth overall pick, a 2021 third-rounder, a 2021 fourth-rounder and a 2022 third-rounder.”
But why exactly would the Falcons be so worried about finding a quarterback who probably wouldn’t even play this season? Here’s PFF’s Anthony Treash on his logic for the trade.
“Atlanta should be thinking seriously about entering the quarterback market now that Matt Ryan is inching toward the end of his career, and securing Fields would drastically lessen the odds of the Falcons entering quarterback purgatory. In his two years starting for the Buckeyes, Fields earned PFF grades of 91.5 and 93.5, both of which ranked in the top five in the entire FBS.
Fields is extremely accurate, takes great care of the football and has unparalleled wheels for the position. He may not come in right away and light up the league as a rookie if Atlanta were to have a change of heart and decide to trade Matt Ryan, but the talent is there for him to be a franchise quarterback.”
In the second round of the mock, the Falcons take Washington cornerback Elijah Molden with pick No. 35 overall. Despite playing the nickel spot for most of his college career, Treash thinks Molden’s game will translate well to a pass-happy NFL.
“Molden was in an exclusive relationship with the slot throughout his college career at Washington, and he’s likely not playing anywhere else at the next level. That being said, one NFL team will get an absolute steal for three reasons: 1) Slot defenders are the most undervalued players in football, (2) he was one of the best slot defenders we have ever seen in the PFF College era and (3) he has all the traits to make us believe he will have similar success in the NFL.”
The Falcons definitely have a need at cornerback and with Darqueze Dennard hitting free agency, Molden would make sense.
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