After the aggressive trade by the San Francisco 49ers to move up to pick No. 3, the Atlanta Falcons at No. 4 are where the draft looks to begin.
The first three picks will be quarterbacks. With Trevor Lawrence all but confirmed as the pick for Jacksonville and all signs pointing to Zach Wilson at two for the Jets.
There are reports that Mac Jones is the target for the 49ers at three. While there is plenty of skepticism about the pick there are also enough rumblings that the NFL is higher on Jones than most draft and media outlets, so it is possible. Whether it is Jones, Trey Lance, or Justin Fields at pick three, quarterback-needy teams will be desperate to get up to make sure they get their pick of whoever is left.
Anyone behind the Panthers at No. 8 will need to jump them, as Carolina is expected to be aggressive about adding a quarterback. The best way to ensure getting the preferred player is to go as high as possible, Atlanta is the clear trade target.
Take a look at Mock Draft 1.0 to see what has changed. Most of the names are different, but the approach to improving this teams remains the same.
Again using the Mock Draft Machine from the fine folks over at The Draft Network.
Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft, beginning with the First Round
Trade: NE gets 4, 183. ATL gets 15, 46, 2022 first and third, 2023 1st.
The Pick: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL USC
Using the San Francisco trade as an outline, the Atlanta Falcons get a haul for the fourth pick. Adding first-round picks next year and 2023 as well as day two pick this year and 2022 the Atlanta Falcons add draft capital for the long term.
It is a lot to give but if there are multiple teams on the phone it is not out of the realm of possibility for the Falcons to get this trade. New England saw the opportunity to come to four and get their choice of the remaining quarterbacks, as well as a fifth-round pick. Justin Fields was the pick for the Patriots in this version.
Passing on a quarterback in this class is tough, but with the added firsts in future years the Atlanta Falcons can be aggressive in attacking the position in the future.
Now to the player. Alijah Vera-Tucker (AVT) slides in day one at left guard and immediately makes the Falcons’ offensive line better than it has been in years. AVT Played left guard in 2019 and then due to injuries moved to left tackle during the 2020 season.
While he has the versatility and athleticism to man either the guard or tackle position the upside on the interior could be an all-pro level. The ability to kick outside if necessary is also incredibly valuable. His athleticism and strength make him an ideal fit for the zone blocking scheme the Falcons are expected to run in 2021.
Sandwiching Matt Hennessey between AVT and Chris Lindstrom in the middle of this line will help Hennessey grow and hide any potential shortcomings he may have as he learns to be an NFL center. Reducing interior pressure on Matt Ryan will be key to the success of this offense going forward.