Florida tight end Kyle Pitts is highly regarded, with some calling him the best prospect at his position in NFL Draft history. However, if Pitts’ assessment of how the 2021 draft will play out proves to be accurate, we’ll see an unprecedented four quarterbacks taken in the first four picks.
In a recent interview, Pitts was discussing his draft stock and where he expected to land, but his most interesting soundbite was about what he believes will happen before him.
“A lot of great quarterbacks in the draft. I think the first four picks will be quarterbacks,” Pitts said, per NFL.com.
Everyone expects the Jacksonville Jaguars to take Trevor Lawrence, the New York Jets to select Zach Wilson and the San Francisco 49ers to choose between Mac Jones and Trey Lance. Then of course, Ohio State’s Justin Fields is also very much in the mix to go in the top 10.
The Atlanta Falcons will be on the clock at No. 4 overall, and that’s where the draft really begins. They can either trade down, take Matt Ryan‘s heir apparent, or give Matty Ice a phenomenal weapon like Pitts to help extend his tenure under center.
Since new Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot has so many holes to fill on defense, let’s take a look at three epic mock draft scenarios using The Draft Network’s simulator to see how the fourth pick might shake out.
Read More: 4 best Kyle Pitts fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
New England Patriots pull off crazy move for Justin Fields
- 2021 NFL MOCK DRAFT TRADE: Patriots send 15th, 96th picks, 2021 first-rounder and 2022 second-rounder to Falcons for 4th pick (Justin Fields)
With the recent rumors that the Falcons could wind up trading Julio Jones on or after June 1 to alleviate their dire cap situation, if that comes to pass — and frankly, it should — they’ll be saving $15.3 million in cap room.
If Atlanta had more money to work with, it could’ve gotten cornerback Stephon Gilmore in this trade, but he’s also on the back nine of his career and hits the open market in 2022, so he’s ultimately not featured.
The Patriots have recently been linked to Fields, and if they were going to deal up for a QB, it seems like the Buckeyes star is the one who’s going to fall. Why that is eludes reason.
However, Bill Belichick is definitely happy how all this is shaping up, and Fields won’t be pressured to play right away as he learns New England’s complex system and Cam Newton gets a trial run with a much better supporting cast around him.
Even at 15th, the Falcons can boost their pass rush with whoever they view as the best edge defender in the class. Kwity Paye, Jaelan Phillips and the other top players should still be available.
Atlanta Falcons trade back with Denver Broncos, still get Trey Lance
- 2021 NFL MOCK DRAFT TRADE: Broncos send 9th pick, 40th pick, 2022 first-round pick to Falcons for 4th pick (Justin Fields)
What a dream scenario this would turn out to be. Not only does Fontenot squeeze out a second-rounder this year and next year’s Round 1 selection from Denver, but he also gets Ryan’s eventual successor in Lance.
Much is being made of Lance’s inexperience, and while that’s true to some degree, it’s more of a concern that he just hasn’t played a lot lately. He appeared in just one game in 2020, and he’s going to be in a situation in Atlanta where he’s sitting behind Ryan and learning.
Lance does have his roots in a pro-style offense at North Dakota State. The prevailing notion is that he needs to redshirt and learn the NFL game. On the contrary, he needs live reps to knock some rust off and see how he can execute.
What’s great about Lance potentially landing with the Falcons is that Ryan is so experienced and has transitioned to new offenses multiple times throughout his lengthy tenure. Lance can learn from the veteran, and would probably play most or all of the preseason, which will be a big help for his development.
Atlanta can still address multiple holes, primarily on defense, in the next two drafts. It’s very conceivable that at least one of the consensus top five QBs falls, and the Falcons, even if they trade down, could actually still land one of them.
Atlanta Falcons draft Kyle Pitts, land Caleb Farley with 2nd pick
Whether it takes trading back into the first round, or he happens to fall to Atlanta in the second round at 35th overall, there’s a chance that the Falcons could walk away not only with the freakiest pass-catcher in the class, but also the highest-ceiling cornerback prospect in Caleb Farley.
The Virginia Tech star had a back procedure that’s clouded his draft forecast. Early on, it wasn’t hyperbolic to suggest Atlanta could’ve chosen him fourth overall. That’s where the Cleveland Browns chose Denzel Ward, and the Detroit Lions drafted Jeff Okudah third overall in 2020, so it’s not without precedent.
But as long as Farley checks out OK with the Falcons’ medical staff, he should absolutely be their second draft pick. Farley would pair with another first-round cornerback in A.J. Terrell and form one of the best young duos at the all-important position.
In an NFC South division, Atlanta hasn’t been able to match wits with New Orleans’ Sean Payton, and the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers are absolutely loaded on offense. The Carolina Panthers should also be a greater threat in 2021 with Sam Darnold and tons of skill position talent returning.
Farley could help out the Falcons’ maligned defense in a hurry and help their pass rush get home thanks to his phenomenal coverage skills. While the future of the quarterback position is a little muddier in this scenario, it’s definitely the way to go if Atlanta is planning to win right now and build around Ryan.