What Will Atlanta Falcons Do In First Round Of NFL Draft?
By: Colin Lacy
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Just a couple of days after the 2023 Atlanta Falcons season came to a close in New Orleans, the change at the top was made with Arthur Smith out.
Earlier in the month Arthur Blank announced that Raheem Morris would be the new head ball coach in Atlanta.
As the fresh staff begins to roll into Flowery Branch, the biggest question is “How do the Falcons answer some key questions in the NFL Draft?”
The NFL will flock to Detroit on April 25th through 27th for the 89th annual First Year Player Draft, and the 8th name that will be read by Commissioner Roger Goodell will be the newest Atlanta Falcon.
With the 8th pick in the first round, most Falcon fans are praying for a quarterback. Draft experts however aren’t convinced that there will be that first round QB talent available after the seven previous picks are made. So, what are the QB options available?
Most “experts” believe that former USC quarterback Caleb Williams will be the first signal caller to hear his name on draft night. It’s believed that Williams will be taken off the board by the Bears with the number one pick, or at the very latest, will be reunited with former USC coach Kliff Kingsbury in Washington (hired as Commanders OC) with the second pick.
Seems all but certain that Williams will not be on the board for the 8th selection.
The next couple of QB prospects have at least a possibility (some slight, but still possible) of being on the board when Atlanta is on the clock.
North Carolina Drake Maye was destined to be the unanimous first selection, but a up and down 2023 season with the Tar Heels has seen his stock dip just a touch.
Maye is undoubtably uber talented and looks the part at 6’3” 230 pounds. Maye’s combination of accuracy with the arm and ability to make plays on the ground has shown his proficiency at times to run a high-powered offense.
The third “high first round” option potentially available for the “Dirty Birds” is Jayden Daniels. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner may be the player that had his draft stock soar the most in 2023 leading the LSU Tigers.
To me, Daniels seems to be the most realistic and to me frankly seems to be the best fit with the Falcons organization.
Daniels turned into a “human highlight reel” for the Bayou Bengals throwing 40 touchdowns (rushing for 10 more) and only four interceptions on the year.
The biggest improvement (and one of the largest knocks on Daniels entering 2023) was the deep ball, but Daniels proved all the naysayers wrong launching numerous balls down field with impressive, improved accuracy.
There are a couple other QB options in this draft, that if in desperation could be on the board, but I don’t believe are top 10 picks.
A couple names that will be heard in the first two to three rounds will be JJ McCarthy from Michigan, Michael Penix Jr out of Washington, and Bo Nix from Oregon.
To me the Falcons first round selection turns into one question. Do we think either Williams, Maye or Daniels will be available when we hit the clock?
If the answer is yes, fantastic. I think the Falcons will have to make a trade to move up a couple of spots (maybe as few as two spots to the 6th pick). To me, Jayden Daniels should be the play, and a lot depends on if the Bears take a quarterback with the first pick. If so, Atlanta will have to move up to get the former LSU Fighting Tiger.
What are the other needs? What happens if all -you know what- breaks loose, and the three quarterbacks are gone?
The next biggest need for new Head Coach Raheem Morris is an edge rusher on the defensive front. Dallas Turner from Alabama would be a powerful addition to the Falcons organization and would help erase a question that has been near the top of the Atlanta faithful for a number of years.
Overall, the Falcons have the potential to be an up-and-coming team in the near future and I understand that the draft is a full weekend of multiple rounds and the Falcons have eight picks in the Draft, but Atlanta unequivocally needs a quarterback pronto and the draft would be a huge key in addressing the need!