NFL Draft 2021: Falcons reportedly open to trading No. 4 pick

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Alex Shapiro
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Report: Falcons open to trading No. 4 pick to QB-needy team originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The NFL draft is more than three weeks away, but we’ve already seen huge upheaval near the top of the board. On Monday, the New York Jets traded away Sam Darnold, essentially locking them into drafting a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick. Last month, the San Francisco 49ers sent a bounty of picks to the Miami Dolphins to move up to No. 3, presumably for a quarterback, as well. Now, Adam Schefter is reporting that the Atlanta Falcons could be the next team to make a deal for their No. 4 overall pick.

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The tweet leads to many questions — chiefly, which teams have called to check on that No. 4 pick?

“Everything’s on the table” for the Bears at quarterback, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Ryan Pace were one of the interested GMs. Denver is widely speculated to be interested in a new rookie quarterback after Drew Lock underwhelmed in his 18 starts for the Broncos. Many believe the New England Patriots could be in the market for a new QB, too, with Cam Newton under contract for another one-year deal and Jarrett Stidham looking more like a career-backup than a future starter.

The next question is if the Falcons trade back from No. 4, can we rule them out of landing a first-round QB? Almost certainly. A move like that would mean they’re satisfied sticking with Matt Ryan for the near future and are looking to draft an impact player at a different position. They could then draft their QB in the second round or kick that can to next offseason. For the Bears, that would eliminate at least one competitor for a first-round QB, if Pace decides to go that route.

Lastly, if it's the Broncos, Patriots or another mystery team that trades up to No. 4 to draft a quarterback, would that increase or decrease the Bears’ odds of landing a first-round quarterback? Well, it all depends. Let’s say, using a completely arbitrary set of circumstances, the one quarterback left after the first four picks is Trey Lance, and the two teams left without quarterbacks are the Broncos and Bears. If the Bears have identified Lance as their guy, but the Broncos aren’t interested, that’s obviously a great scenario for the Bears. But just as easily, the teams and players left on the board could lead to a permutation where the Bears end up without a first-round quarterback and are forced to go in a different direction with their No. 20 overall pick.

It’s far too early to say with confidence how things will turn out on April 29. But one thing we do know is the intrigue surrounding the top-five quarterbacks isn’t dampening anytime soon.

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