There is a group of Atlanta Falcons fans that think the franchise is doomed if they do not draft a quarterback with the fourth overall pick. Lots of fans want Justin Fields, some want Trey Lance, but what fans need to realize is there are more options than that to find a future quarterback.
Teams have been able to find quarterbacks in every which way. As much as Atlanta Falcons fans hate it, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just won a super bowl because of free agency.
Tom Brady was drafted in the late rounds, Kurt Warner and Tony Romo were not even drafted at all. Russell Wilson was a mid-round pick. It is obvious that you can find a star quarterback for the next decade without spending a top-five pick on them
You can find a top quarterback in the first five picks, but recent history has shown that, now, more than ever, you are able to find star quarterbacks in the later rounds, or undrafted players, or even free agency if it comes to that.
There is evidence of super bowl quarterbacks coming from every situation you can think of. Stop thinking that a top-five pick is the only way to find a top quarterback.
In fact, recent history shows that top five quarterbacks have not been great.
This could be a major fluke, but it is still worth noting. Even the Browns might take a different player than Baker Mayfield if they were given the chance to redo the draft.
Matt Ryan is not the only one who plays for the Atlanta Falcons, and he is far from the problem.
It is virtually a lock that Matt Ryan will be the opening day starter. He is the quarterback of the team, whether you like it or not. He gives a better chance for the Atlanta Falcons to win, than any of the rookie quarterbacks would.
Fans are blinded by their own thoughts or wants. They do not want to see certain things that are true. Everyone is guilty of that, but to say Matt Ryan is dooming this franchise is just ignorant. He has taken the team to the very tip-top of a championship you can be, without winning it, or you can say the team and coaches took the Falcons to almost the top. It was not just Matt Ryan’s fault they did not win, it was the team’s fault, including coaches.
Matt Ryan is one of the most accurate and effective passers in the game today, no arguments to that.
It is not Matt Ryan’s fault the team had a losing season this past season, it is the team’s fault. Sure, Matt may not have been perfect, but neither was Patrick Mahomes. Remember that game when Matt Ryan took on Patrick Mahomes?
Pat Mahomes basically threw away that game, if A.J. Terrell does not drop the ball. No one talks about that and how Matt Ryan basically out-dueled Mahomes.
Patrick Mahomes almost lost to the team that currently holds the fourth overall pick. He was only able to score 17 points, or what should have been 10 points, to one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Just like Matt Ryan, it was not just Mahomes’s fault.
Tom Brady got blasted by the Atlanta Falcons in the first half of the first matchup between the Buccaneers and Falcons. Now the outcome of that game, and the next game was a different story, but still, no one talks about that.
Matt Ryan only had about 240 less yards passing during the 2020 NFL season, than that of Deshaun Watson’s league lead. Matt Ryan came in fourth for passing yards. You do not throw for that many yards if you are not good, and “declining.”
Matt Ryan did not have Julio Jones for much of the season, he did not have a running game the whole season, he had no offensive line the whole season, and he had a very up and down defense the whole season. Quite honestly Deshaun Watson was the only player to do more, with just as little help as Matt Ryan.
The Atlanta Falcons also had probably the most ineffective offensive coordinator in the NFL. Pat Mahomes had Andy Reid, Tom Brady had Bruce Arians and Byron Leftwich, Josh Allen had Brian Daboll, and even Ryan Tannehill had Arthur Smith, while who did Matt Ryan have? Dirk Koetter.
Find a more ineffective offensive coordinator. You may be able to find a couple, but Deshaun Watson is probably the only one you could make an argument with who had a worse play-caller and a better stat line.
The Atlanta Falcons do not need to nor do they have to, draft a quarterback.
If they do not take one with the fourth pick, they still have eight more picks to take a quarterback with. If they can identify a quarterback that you might be able to clean up and turn into a future star, than they need to do that. It is about maximizing what you have, and that includes your draft picks.
Arthur Smith was able to take a castoff quarterback, in Ryan Tannehill, and turn him into a pro bowl player who took the underdog Tennessee Titans to the championship game. What makes anyone think he could not turn a later round quarterback into a quarterback who will take the torch from Matt Ryan?
There should not be any doubters.
Even if the Atlanta Falcons do not take a quarterback with any of their picks this year, they still have next year or the year after, and many years after. They would still have to find a backup for Matt Ryan, in the event that Ryan gets hurt, but that would not be a huge deal.
Matt Ryan has already stated he wants to play into his 40’s. Fans have doubts that he could play that long, but it is not like he is a quarterback who relies on his speed or cannon arm, he is the type of quarterback who can play effectively into his 40’s, it just depends on his love for the game.
Terry Fontenot and the Atlanta Falcons are in no rush to draft a quarterback. They do not need a new starter at the position for this upcoming season, or even the next. Having a player sit behind a starter does not do the team any good in the present. Look at the Green Bay Packers who selected Jordan Love with their first-round pick.
Who knows, maybe if they would have taken another player who would have started, maybe they could have beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Certainly if they would have taken a guy like current Minnesota Vikings cornerback Jeff Gladney, he would have been able to cover the Buccaneers wide receivers better than Kevin King could.
That pick of Love could have cost them the super bowl this year.
Obviously, we do not know what the future holds for Jordan Love. Maybe he ends up winning multiple super bowls for the team and turns into the next Aaron Rodgers, but for now you can certainly say it was not a good idea for the situation.
One counterargument fans might have has to do with Aaron Rodgers.
The Packers selected him when they already had a hall of fame quarterback Brett Favre. It certainly worked out for them, and it is a great argument, but Aaron Rodgers was a guy they felt was a top pick in the draft, and he was falling too far not to take him.
Not to mention that Aaron Rodgers is another example of a star quarterback not taken in the top five picks.
Perhaps in the upcoming drafts when the Atlanta Falcons have a much lower pick, hopefully, that a potential star at the position does fall to the Falcons, like Rodgers did with the Packers.
There is more than one option to finding the next great player, Atlanta Falcons fans need to understand that.
The overall point that fans need to understand, is that there is no slam dunk pick or strategy. Much of it is luck.
Even with how talented top passer Trevor Lawrence is, there is a world were he turns into a bust for one reason or another. He can be considered the most talented and biggest slam dunks at the position in a long while, but that does not mean you can say there is no chance he never turns out.
The Jaguars are taking Lawrence because he is a generational talent that you cannot pass up, maybe if the Falcons were in their position, you could say they must take him. Being at the fourth pick where the Falcons are at, and having the situation where the top three picks will be quarterbacks, it can be assumed they would not be taking a generational talent at the quarterback position.
Now every scouting department has a different opinion, and who knows maybe the Atlanta Falcons think that Justin Fields or Trey Lance are generational talents. If they do, then maybe they should take them. That is only IF they think they are going to be that great of a player.
The Atlanta Falcons will most likely have a generational player, and the widely regarded second-best player in the draft, Kyle Pitts, sitting there for them at the fourth pick. If quarterback was not valued so highly over other positions, there is definitely an .argument for Pitts going second overall, the Falcons have a chance to get him at four.
If Kyle Pitts was not there, or even Jamar Chase and Penei Sewell, then there would be a better argument for the Falcons to take Fields or Lance.
But again, there is more options for the Falcons past the fourth pick to take a quarterback who will guide the team to their first super bowl victory. It has been proven that those players can be found anywhere, with good scouting you can find them.
If you would have told Seahawks fans back in early 2012, that a rookie third-round pick would come in a win a super bowl for the team in his third year, they would have laughed in your face. There is more places to find a quarterback than a top-five pick, that will never change.
Players like Kellen Mond, Kyle Trask, Jamie Newman, and Sam Ehlinger are some options at quarterback that will be there past the first round.
So, if you are Terry Fontenot, why not take the generational prospect that will be sitting there at pick four, and then as the rounds pass you spot a quarterback that could come in, learn a few things, and then start a few years down the road, why not do that? If you do not see a quarterback in this draft then set your sights on next year.
The Falcons are in no rush to find the future passer of the franchise.
Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith did not come to Atlanta to throw away the next couple of years.
Listen, Fontenot and Smith know this roster better than the fans do. They know who they think will excel and who may not, so ultimately the fans have to trust them at what ever they do.
The two of them did not come to Atlanta and say to Arthur Blank that the next two years the team will lose a ton of games, and then we will start winning. That is just giving up. Blank wants the franchise winning right now, they have an older roster and a proven set of guys that can win the team a lot of games.
Drafting a quarterback at this stage, when in all likelihood Matt Ryan will be the starter for the next two years, does not help you win games. It only helps in three years, and the fans and staff for the Atlanta Falcons cannot wait that long. Sure there will be growing pains with a new system and what not, but this is a team that has the offensive firepower to win right now.
If the Falcons close out all those games from last year, we would not be sitting here talking about a quarterback being drafted. We could have made the playoffs. A lot of those blown games were pure bad luck and bad coaching. It is safe to say that blowing games so routinely will not be as big of a problem with the new staff.
When Shanahan was the coordinator, up until the super bowl, the team did not blow games. Matt Ryan is not the reason the team choked so many games. Matt played as good as someone could play in the playoffs during that run, even in the super bowl. Arthur Smith brings similar optimism for the offense, and Matt Ryan will not be asked to go out there and do it all himself.
This team can win now, taking a quarterback early does not help that. Kyle Pitts, or some other player who would start right away, would help that. It is not like this is the last chance the Falcons have to take a quarterback.
Patrick Mahomes did not come from the top five picks. The Chiefs traded up to grab him, why could the Falcons not do something similar in the years to come?
It is silly to see so many fans acting like this Terry Fontenot’s last chance to draft or find a future quarterback. Fans need to relax and realize that this is not the only year that star quarterbacks can be drafted.
Besides for the fans who think the team is not good enough to win right now, but yet they also say this is the only chance for the team to find a future passer, that just does not make any sense. If you think the team is so bad and you think the only place to find a quarterback is in the top five picks, than why do you not think we will have another top pick in the next draft?
The fact of the matter is, is that the team will run Matt Ryan onto the field on opening day for the 2021 NFL season. Whether or not Arthur and Terry want to have another new talented starter going out on the field, or have a talented player sitting on the bench not helping the team win, remains to be seen.
Fans have no control over it, Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot will do what they think is best. They are the professionals, and they know what this team is truly capable of.
If one thing is for certain, no matter what happens, at the very least half of the fan base will be upset. There is no denying that.