Brynn Anderson/Associated Press
Peter King discussed the Falcons’ options with the No. 4 pick in his Football Morning in America column and reported “owner Arthur Blank is fascinated by the quarterbacks atop the draft, thinking the franchise might not be in such an advantageous position to take one for years.”
However, King pointed out that “Blank will not force a decision” and instead will allow head coach Arthur Smith and general manager Terry Fontenot to make the ultimate call.
Atlanta certainly has a number of options, and the luxury of this year’s draft is there may be five quarterbacks worthy of taking with such an early pick.
Even if the Jacksonville Jaguars take Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, the New York Jets take BYU’s Zach Wilson and the San Francisco 49ers take a quarterback with the first three picks, the Falcons would be left with two of three options from the group of Alabama’s Mac Jones, Ohio State’s Justin Fields and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance depending on who San Francisco selected.
They could also look to take an offensive weapon at a different position, such as Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, or trade down with a team in desperate need of a quarterback, such as the Chicago Bears.
There is also the Ryan factor, as he turns 36 years old next month and has a potential out in his contract for 2022.
Atlanta could decide that his best days may be behind him at this point and look for a new quarterback, but he also threw for 4,581 yards and 26 touchdowns during the 2020 campaign and didn’t appear to be slowing down much.
His presence shouldn’t preclude the Falcons from taking a signal-caller, as someone like Fields could sit behind the four-time Pro Bowler who has a league MVP and Super Bowl appearance and garner valuable knowledge and experience from the veteran before eventually taking over a few years from now.
Blank apparently recognizes the opportunity the Falcons have with a top-five pick in a quarterback-heavy draft, and what Atlanta ultimately does will have a domino effect on the rest of the first round as other teams scramble depending on how many signal-callers are still remaining after those first four picks.