The Atlanta Falcons hold the No. 4 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft and the rest of the league is keeping a close eye on what the team’s new leadership will do. General manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith will likely want to make a splash later this month, which might mean taking one of the many highly touted quarterback prospects.
Fontenot and Smith are reportedly “aligned” on what to do with the fourth pick on April 29, but that doesn’t mean a quarterback will definitely come off of the board. According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Atlanta has a group of five players that is has focused in on, which includes former Ohio State star Justin Fields.
In a recent video snippet released by the Falcons, Fontenot revealed his mindset about the quarterback position. The new general manger spoke about how he’s focused on the present, but always wants to be looking towards the future, if there’s the right player available.
“That’s critical because that’s a position that regardless of where you are at your starter — we’re so excited about Matt Ryan, but we have to evaluate every one of these quarterbacks,” Fontenot said. “Not just for now, when you think big picture, if you have an opportunity — for example Trevor Lawrence, when you have an opportunity to see that player in person throw, then you have to take advantage of that. Even if you’re not going to have the opportunity at him this year, you don’t know what’s going to happen three, four, five years from now in the future. So you want to take advantage of that in-person exposure.
“That’s why we see every single one of these quarterbacks. We want to, as much as we can, get to them, see them in person, and just take advantage of those exposures because it’s the most critical position in the NFL and we want to stack good quarterbacks. It’s a prime time to do it when you have a player like Matt Ryan, because when you can get in the right quarterback, you don’t have that pressure to play him right away. So it opens up so many possibilities, and we have to make sure we’re evaluating those positions. And we feel good about where we are there.”
You have to evaluate quarterbacks for the future.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) April 13, 2021
Ryan posted solid numbers last season, but the Falcons limped along to a 4-12 record, due mostly to a porous defense. The 35-year-old definitely still has a few years left in him, but Atlanta might not have as high of a pick anytime soon, so it could be worth it to take a quarterback at No. 4.
The rest of the NFL will ultimately find out the Falcons decision on the night of April 29.