Arthur Smith is the guy in Atlanta, and Matt Ryan has to be the player who benefits most. Smith tailored an offense around Ryan Tannehill that statistically made him one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Integrating the most pre-snap motion in the NFL with an effective run game is something that the Falcons have missed since 2017. I have a full piece on what Smith does well that enabled the Titans offense to really thrive. With that in mind, Atlanta doesn’t really need to be as quarterback-needy as some would think. It would still be wise to do their homework on Zach Wilson and Justin Fields, but I think trading back is the best option — even before Smith’s hiring.
If you read my most recent mock draft, you’d know that Atlanta has a golden opportunity to leverage a massive haul of draft picks out of a quarterback-needy team. In the mock, I have Atlanta finishing with eight picks in the top 100 and a future first-round pick for 2022. The value of the Falcons’ pick increases exponentially when you consider a Deshaun Watson trade to the Dolphins, which could potentially give whoever is drafting at #4 the choice between Justin Fields and Zach Wilson.
Atlanta could still take a quarterback. However, considering what Smith did with Ryan Tannehill, trading down to address the plethora of holes in the roster, i.e., guard, halfback, defensive line, safety, and corner would be a much better strategy. This is a deep draft class, and a quarterback won’t solve Atlanta’s woes overnight. Looking to the future is important, but Arthur Smith’s scheme allows Atlanta to weigh their options in April and potentially come away with tons of draft capital — future and present. Regardless of what happens, Atlanta is in a good situation, hopefully with rumored GM Terry Fontenot coming in this week.