Atlanta Falcons: Drafting a QB is waving the white flag on next two years

Drafting a quarterback is waving the white flag on the next two years for the Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons have an important decision to make when they are on the clock with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft later this spring.

Depending on who you talk to, you might get 30 different answers as to what the Falcons should do with their first-round pick. Some believe they should trade back and earn more draft capital. Others believe they should take the best player available- regardless of position- when their turn comes around. Some think they should zero-in on a defensive playmaker who can help turn that unit around. Still, many others believe the Falcons should draft a quarterback with their top-five pick.

It’s a logical argument to make, no doubt.

There aren’t many opportunities to pick inside the top-five, so why shouldn’t the Atlanta Falcons go ahead and find their next quarterback once Matt Ryan is gone?

If your stance is to draft a QB now, what you’re saying is that the Atlanta Falcons should wave the white flag on the next two years

You can’t draft a quarterback to sit on the bench for the next two seasons behind Matt Ryan and still say that you’re looking to compete this year- or next, for that matter. It’s just not going to happen.

The Falcons have far too many other needs- edge-rusher, secondary, running back and the offensive line- to address for them to take a quarterback who’ll be tasked with developing over the next couple of years, and still expect to be competitive.

Now, many of you have already waved the white flag.

The Falcons have one of the worst cap situations in the league and anyone who sees that this team has only 39 active players on the roster and they’re still upwards $10 million over the expected cap limit can easily understand why that would be an issue. Ryan makes up a large portion of the space being taken up and, let’s face it, he’s not getting any younger.

I’m not here to talk you down from your position or to change your mind. The only thing I’m saying simply this: If you’re sold on drafting a quarterback this year, you need to be in for a long-term rebuild. You need to be prepared for mediocrity for at least the next three seasons, possibly longer.

Perhaps it is time for the rebuild. Just a few years ago, the Atlanta Braves faced a similar situation. They ended up deciding not to spend major money and decided to develop their young prospects, build through the draft and focus on a long rebuild. Now, they’re winning divisional pennants and one of the top teams in the National League with tons of youth and promise moving forward.

Is that what the Atlanta Falcons need to do? Let their veteran contracts expire off the books, build through the draft and look towards the 2023, 2024 and 2025 seasons?

Maybe that’s what needs to happen. Or, maybe the Falcons just need to add a few new pieces to shore up the defense- with a breath of fresh air in leadership- and change up the offensive system.

Who’s to say this team- which lost nine games by a touchdown or less– couldn’t turn it around and make a run at the postseason? If they win just five of those nine one-possession games, they’re finishing the 2020 season with a 9-7 record and are right there in the mix for a wild-card berth. Is it really worth giving up on when you could see that kind of a turnaround?

I’m not here to change your mind- no matter what end of the spectrum you may fall on- and I see both sides.

If you’re convinced the Falcons can’t win with Matt Ryan, there’s nothing else to say. But the only thing we’re here to point out is that you’re stuck with him for the next two years, so the Falcons have two choices:

  1. They put a few more pieces around him through the draft and small free-agency contracts and hope for the best
  2. They give up on the next two years with him here and they look towards the future

If you’re ready to throw in the towel on Ryan, that’s completely understandable, but don’t think it’s going to be a quick rebuild or that you’re going to see the Falcons back in the playoff picture anytime soon if they go after a quarterback to sit the bench in this draft class.

You either have to be ‘all in’ on trying to make the best of this current roster and situation or ‘all out,’ there can’t be any in-between.