The Atlanta Falcons are sitting pretty with the fourth pick in the 2021 NFL Draft later this month. It’s now known that the top-three selections will be quarterbacks after the San Francisco 49ers pulled off a blockbuster trade up to the third pick last month.
New Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot could potentially look to find Matt Ryan’s eventual heir-apparent with that selection. Two of Justin Fields, Trey Lance and Mac Jones should be available with that pick. The Falcons could also look to trade down with a quarterback-needy team.
“My guess has been that the Falcons will stick at No. 4 and take a quarterback, because I don’t think they want to count on picking that high again and this happens to be a really strong year at the position,” Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported on Monday. “But I do know they’re open to the idea of trading the pick and have had exploratory talks with other teams on a deal that would have someone else moving up to No. 4.”
A trade-down scenario for the Atlanta Falcons would include them picking up more selections as a way to rebuild a fledgling roster. Depending how far they trade down, the Falcons could also add a first-round quarterback.
Atlanta Falcons trade-down scenarios in the 2021 NFL Draft
- Carolina Panthers: Selecting eighth overall, it’s now well known that Panthers owner David Tepper wants to find a franchise quarterback to eventually take over for Teddy Bridgewater. Carolina was in on Deshaun Watson before troubling allegations of sexual assault. It also offered up the eighth pick to the Detroit Lions for Matthew Stafford. A move of this ilk would likely cost Carolina its first-round pick in 2022 and second-round pick this year.
- Denver Broncos: There’s a decent chance new Broncos general manager George Paton is considering a trade up for a quarterback. Coming over from the Minnesota Vikings, he has no built-in relationship with Drew Lock. He’s likely going to want to find his own guy. Picking ninth overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, Denver would be an ideal trade partner with the Atlanta Falcons. It would cost pretty much what we mentioned with the Panthers.
- New England Patriots: Is Bill Belichick willing to offer up the house to move up from the 15th pick to fourth overall? Based on recent comments made by owner Robert Kraft, that seems unlikely. Heck, it would likely cost New England its first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 and change. Even then, the Pats need to find that quarterback of the future after retaining Cam Newton on a one-year deal.
As for the Atlanta Falcons, there’s a number of directions they could go in a trade-down scenario. In need of help on defense, there’s no one worthy of the fourth pick on that side of the ball. Meanwhile, trading down into the bottom half of the top 10 could still net Atlanta a quarterback of the future. That could come in the form of Justin Fields, Trey Lance or Mac Jones to learn behind Ryan for a year or two.
It’s certainly something to keep an eye on with the 2021 NFL Draft quickly approaching.