That made it sound like Brugler was going to suggest Atlanta adding a game manager behind center. But he did quite the opposite.
Brugler projected in his latest mock draft that the Falcons will land LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels at No. 8 overall in the first round.
“Arthur Smith is now the Falcons’ former head coach because he believed his scheme and (misuse of) weapons could elevate mediocre quarterback play,” Brugler wrote. “It is interesting to think about what Atlanta’s talented, ready-to-go roster would look like if you dropped in Daniels.
“After producing a minus-12 turnover margin, you can bet that will be a point of emphasis for the Falcons. In 13 starts this season, Desmond Ridder had 12 interceptions and 12 fumbles; in 12 starts, Daniels accounted for only four interceptions and three fumbles.”
Daniels won the Heisman trophy in 2023 while posting a 72.2% completion percentage, 3,812 passing yards and 40 touchdowns. But as Brugler documented, he also only had 4 interceptions.
In fact, Daniels threw just 7 interceptions on 715 attempts in two seasons at LSU.
As Brugler mentioned, turnovers were a huge problem for Desmond Ridder during 2023. As a result, the Falcons finished tied for second-to-last in turnover margin.
There likely won’t be much second-guessing if the Falcons select Daniels at No. 8 overall in April. But the question is whether Daniels will be available in the second half of the top 10.
ESPN’s consensus draft rankings have Daniels rated the third-best quarterback and 11th overall player in the class. Daniels will very likely be drafted after fellow signal callers Caleb Williams and Drake Maye.
But with quarterbacks in such high demand, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Daniels also drafted in the top 5.
In three of the past four drafts, the top three quarterbacks went off the board in the top 6. The lone exception was in 2022.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that 2022 was Ridder’s draft class. The Falcons selected Ridder at No. 74 in the third round that year. He was the second quarterback chosen in the draft class behind Kenny Pickett, who went at No. 20 to the Pittsburgh Steelers.