2021 NFL Draft: Atlanta Falcons 7-round mock

Atlanta Falcons, NFL Draft
Falcons mock draft, Matt Ryan

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – DECEMBER 20: Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons calls a play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first quarter in the game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 20, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Arthur Smith needs to lay his stamp on the Falcons in this year’s NFL Draft. Here’s how Atlanta could do just with each pick at their disposal. 

The Falcons’ lack of salary cap space means they need to nail the 2021 NFL Draft to take a meaningful step forward in Arthur Smith’s first season. The biggest decision facing Atlanta is whether or not now is the time to secure Matt Ryan’s long-term successor at the quarterback position.

This could be the franchise’s last chance to make a selection this high in Round 1 if, as expected, Smith gets the team’s offense back on track in 2021. The fact that Ryan still projects to be a decent starter next year only complicates the matter. The Falcons might be best-served to draft a quarterback who can sit behind Ryan and learn for an extended period of time.

The other tempting alternative would be to sell the No. 4 overall pick off to a team more desperate to land a signal-caller. That would allow the Falcons to build a war chest of draft picks to help them rebuild the rest of their ravaged roster. That might not be the splashy move fans in Atlanta covet, but it would be prudent roster reconstruction.

That’s a hard sort of trade to make though. That’s why this mock draft begins with Atlanta taking a quarterback in Round 1.

4

Zach Wilson

Quarterback BYU

Lots of mock drafts have Wilson going off the board at No. 2 to the Jets, but his lack of height might cause him to fall as the draft approaches. Atlanta would be more than happy to stop his slide at No. 4.

Smith will be attracted to Wilson due to his exceptional arm talent. He’s got a cannon that can push the ball down the field with really good accuracy. Sitting behind Ryan for a few weeks might represent the best-case scenario for Wilson’s transition to life in the NFL.

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