The San Francisco 49ers sent shockwaves through the NFL when they sent two first round picks and a third to the Miami Dolphins to move from the 12th pick in the draft to No. 3.
My first reaction was that this hurt the Falcons draft capital at No. 4, because the top three quarterbacks in the draft were sure to be gone by the time Atlanta picks at four.
The Top 3 being Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Justin Fields.
Every team that has traded in to the Top 5 of the NFL Draft the last 10 years has taken a quarterback. So if Atlanta wanted to move down in the draft, they’d have to convince a team there were at least four quarterbacks worthy of a Top 5 pick.
In February we wrote what the Falcons strategy might be in order to maximize the value of their pick should they want to trade down.
“So if the Falcons want to then move down, they’ll need to start sending smoke signals that they’re genuinely interested in taking a quarterback at No. 4 that isn’t one of the big three, either Mac Jones of Alabama or Trey Lance of North Dakota State.”
After the 49ers and Dolphins made their trade, word started spreading that the 49ers were looking to take Jones. The Falcons won’t have to talk up Jones or Trey Lance, the 49ers are doing it for them.
We asked 49er expert Grant Cohn who he thought the 49ers would take, and this is what he had to say on our Live Stream on Thursday.
With the possibility that Zach Wilson or Justin Fields (likely Fields) could be available at No. 4, the Falcons are open for business again.
We’ve advocated for the Falcons to take Justin Fields since January should he be available. But general manager Terry Fontenot is now in the driver’s seat for teams looking to trade up and get a quarterback.
Should a team call with a package that even comes close to what the 49ers offered the Dolphins, pick up at least another first and second rounder, the Falcons should seriously consider moving down.
Atlanta has massive holes on the defensive line and secondary. The Falcons will need to come out of this draft with at least two safeties ready to start. There’s not a defensive end worth a No. 4 pick, but getting back into the teens and adding picks makes sense.
Atlanta Falcons fans’ last memory of Kyle Shanahan was the Super Bowl, but for this draft cycle, Shanahan has been Atlanta’s best friend.