The Atlanta Falcons have already added three former first-round picks this offseason in Jeff Okudah, Bud Dupree and Mike Hughes. But CBS Sports’s Cody Benjamin proposed the possibility of the Falcons adding two more former first-round draft choices.
Benjamin named Atlanta a potential landing spot for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen. The Falcons would need to require either one through trades.
“At 23, with first-round tools, Lance obviously remains a high-upside project at a critical position,” Benjamin wrote. “But Kyle Shanahan is already comfortable with surprise standout Brock Purdy, 23, and just named Sam Darnold the team’s backup QB.”
Benjamin also named the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings possible suitors for Lance.
Besides the Falcons, Benjamin identified the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles and Las Vegas Raiders as potential landing spots for Queen.
“The former first-rounder is entering his contract year in stride after turning a corner alongside 2022 trade acquisition Roquan Smith, but with a potentially lucrative payday on the horizon, and Smith already commanding top dollar, Baltimore might wonder if Smith is capable of getting passable production out of any running mate at linebacker,” wrote Benjamin. “The club could shop the 24-year-old starter in search of more immediate help at cornerback, where injuries have dinged up both of their starting cover men.”
On paper, Queen appears to be a more logical trade target for Atlanta.
Queen was the No. 28 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. He has been a solid inside linebacker for the Ravens. But as Benjamin noted, Baltimore probably won’t sign the 24-year-old to a lucrative extension after paying Smith. Queen will be a free agent next March.
The Falcons traded for Okudah in April. He will be a free agent next spring, but Okudah only cost a fifth-round pick. Queen will likely cost significantly more.
The Falcons will have to plan to sign Queen to a long-term deal before acquiring him in a trade.
Although Lance does have tremendous upside, the Falcons moving to grab the No. 3 overall pick from 2021 wouldn’t make a lot of sense if they truly believe in Desmond Ridder.
But it’s a rumor that will undoubtably surface again early in the season if Ridder struggles and Lance remains in San Francisco.