The 2021 NFL Draft begins tonight, April 29, live from Cleveland, OH. Over the next three days, over 250 of the best football players will be picked through seven rounds to make the transition from college to the professional league.
With the hiring of new Head Coach Arthur Smith and General Manager Terry Fontenot during the post-season, the Atlanta Falcons have stayed fairly quiet during the 2021 NFL free agency period. This lack of movement can be contributed to the team’s tight finances; however, it is also putting extra pressure on the team to find talent through the draft.
As of right now, the Atlanta Falcons have nine picks spread out over the seven rounds. The Falcons’ first pick comes at No. 4, and everyone is wondering what the team will do with such a high pick. However, Fontenot, Atlanta’s first-year GM, stated in a press conference on Wednesday that even he is unsure about what will happen on draft day.
We’ve gone through the different things that can happen. But you never know what is going to happen at that exact moment, but we know the players that we’re talking about.Atlanta Falcons GM, Terry Fontenot
With the fourth overall pick of the 2021 draft, the Falcons have the ability to trade down to a lower pick or retain their current pick. While long-time starting QB Matt Ryan is not going anywhere any time soon, Atlanta still might consider drafting a quarterback at the No. 4 position in a draft class filled with QB talent. At the fourth pick, it is predicted that Atlanta-native Justin Fields and Alabama’s Mac Jones will still be available, and these players may be a great fit to sit behind Ryan for the next few seasons.
According to ESPN staff writer Michael Rothstein, “Even if the Falcons don’t take a quarterback at No. 4, it’s likely they will select one during the draft.” This means that Atlanta may wait until a later round of the draft to possibly target the University of Florida’s former quarterback Kyle Trask.
Nevertheless, it is entirely possible that the Falcons will trade down from the fourth pick to select University of Florida tight end Kyle Pitts. When asked about Pitts, Fontenot called him a “special player.” While this star TE could be selected with the fourth pick, analysts suggest that the first four picks of the draft will go to quarterbacks.
When you’re picking at 4, we’re trying to take an impact player. Whether it’s a player that’s going to sit or a player that’s going to play right away, we want to bring in an impact player that fits the culture, that has the right makeup and that we have clear vision for that player.Atlanta Falcons GM, Terry Fontenot
During Wednesday’s press conference, Fontenot also assessed the possibility of a big trade in the future for Atlanta. He reiterated that the team has been taking calls on players for potential trades, including star receiver Julio Jones.
As the team goes into the draft tonight, it is important to remember that at this point the Falcons do not have room in their salary-cap to sign their entire draft class, so moves should be expected soon. Overall, Atlanta Falcons fans are wishing for a productive draft night and hoping for an even better season.