Atlanta Falcons fans’ hopes that general manager Terry Fontenot can trade out of the No. 4 selection and acquire more picks in the 2021 NFL Draft are alive and well. Woody Paige of DenverGazette.com reported over the weekend that the Denver Broncos “made the first call to the Falcons” about moving up into the top five.
The Broncos hold the No. 9 pick. Paige estimated that the Broncos would send that pick, a third-round selection and a 2022 first-round pick to move up to No. 4. In addition to the fourth pick, Paige says the Falcons would also give Denver a fifth-rounder.
Such a deal only yields the Falcons one extra selection, and it wouldn’t come until next year, but it would mean Atlanta having two first-rounders in 2022. Plus, in the deal, the Falcons turn a fifth into a third-rounder.
The Broncos don’t sound very convinced Drew Lock is the answer at quarterback. Denver picked Lock in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. After he spent the majority of his rookie season injured and returned to lead the Broncos to a 4-1 record at the end of the year, he went just 4-9 as a starter in 2020 and led the league with 15 interceptions.
Lock has completed under 60 percent of his passes for an average of 6.6 yards per attempt, 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions in 18 career starts.
A trade with the Falcons would signal the end of Lock’s tenure — at least as the starter — in Denver. Paige reports Broncos general manager George Paton holds both signal callers Justin Fields of Ohio State and Trey Lance of North Dakota State in high regard. The Broncos would be selecting one of them at No. 4.
As for the Falcons, they will still have plenty of options at No. 9 should this deal be made. Trading back would rule out taking a quarterback, but cornerback Patrick Surtain II and linebacker Micah Parsons should both still be available. There’s also a scenario where tight end Kyle Pitts falls to No. 9.
Pitts doesn’t address a Falcons need, but he and quarterback Trevor Lawrence are considered the best two players in the 2021 class. Landing him at No. 9 would be surreal, and the Falcons would feel his impact immediately, especially in the red zone, where Atlanta scored touchdowns just 53.45 percent of the time, which was 26th in the league during 2020.
Then, the Falcons could address the defense in the next round and possibly twice in the first round during 2022.
But even if the Falcons don’t land Pitts at No. 9, drafting Surtain or Parsons with that pick and having an extra first and third-rounder could go a long way to rebuilding the Atlanta roster quickly.