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Bair Mail: Kyle Hamilton or Kayvon Thibodeaux, Ahmad Gardner, a surprise choice at No. 8 overall


Guess who's back….back again….Scotty's back…from vay-cay-tion.

Scotty's back, Scotty's back, Scotty's back, dah-dah, dah-dun….

And apparently so energized by a little R+R, as much as one can have traveling with two kids under six, that he's making early 2000s Eminem/Dr. Dre references. What can I say? That was the music of my youth, which is why I loved the Super Bowl halftime show so much and my dad absolutely hated it. It was a real blast from the past for both of us.


Hope you all had a good last week and enjoyed Mac Mail and Rhim's roundup – I just made that one up without Kris' approval, which is NOT pushing P – and I sincerely thank Tori and Kris for carrying the torch while I was away.

I think it'll be good for the mailbag, too, cause I'm looking at topics bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready to tackle important questions about this Falcons offseason.

And for those of you who liked Kris' and Tori's takeover, don't stress. It won't be the last time that happens. That might've been news to them – hey y'all!! [waves like Forrest Gump on the shrimp boat] – but they'll be ready for Round 2 soon enough.

Well, let's dive into your questions, shall we?? Onward into the mailbag, which, ironically enough, includes a Bair Mail submission by someone with the same last name. That's so meta. Or it's just my brother knockin' on the door. Either way, we're answering it and a bunch of other topics in Wednesday's edition.

Lucas Ledesma from San Jose, Calif.

I know this Falcons team has a plethora of needs they can fill at #8, but if both Thibodeaux and Kyle Hamilton somehow drop to #8, the Falcons have to go Hamilton right?

Bair: We talked about this [unlikely] predicament on the latest Falcons Final Whistle – in that scenario, Stingley was in there, too – and I feel confident saying Kris would take Kyle Hamilton and Tori would take Kayvon Thibodeaux. I'm legit typing this thought without knowing how it's going to end. That would be as tough a decision as there is at No. 8 for me. I might forget to turn in the pick while dreaming about what each player could do.

Can you tell I'm stalling here? Let's do what game-show contestants are asked to do and think out loud for a second. On one hand, you have Hamilton, a unicorn in the defensive backfield who can do it all. Dean Pees would have so much fun with that chess piece. Then you've got an elite athlete in Thibodeaux as good as anyone rushing the passer, which would address the team's greatest need.

Decisions, decisions. I think, in this thought exercise, I'd take Thibodeaux. The dude could be a double-digit sack guy and elite disruptor for a decade. Is there any time left on the clock??

Scott Moore from Boise, Id.

How long will it take for the Falcons to get out of their Cap Space predicament? What position has the best value with non-restricted free agents this year and who should the Falcons target with a realistic chance of getting?

Bair: Good questions, Scott. Even better first name. Ha.

It will take some time to get out of this cap mess, with a realistic target of 2024 to be right with the cap. This will be another hard year, with things getting easier in 2023 and beyond as the Falcons free themselves of some massive contracts made more cumbersome by repeated restructurings.

So, with that said, I would expect the Falcons to go through another offseason of stopgap solutions, veterans playing [and leading a young core] on one-year deals or mid-level players willing to take a prove-it contract. You can build a competitive team that way, but it can be tricky. Picking out individual names would be tough with so many holes to fill but expect the Falcons to add those types of players in free agency, especially if they re-sign one or two of their own.

Jerry B from Hinesville, Ga.

My question is about our secondary. We have one good corner in Terrell, but we need another one. I really like the kid from Cincinnati Gardner. He didn't allow a touchdown on him during his career at Cincinnati. I think 8 is a little high for him but I think he's a top 20 pick. We need more picks in the 2nd round, so we should trade down if possible and take him later. Imagine the holes we could fill with 3 or 4 second round picks. Is that something that we should explore?

Bair: Trading down while targeting Ahmad Gardner is a risk I wouldn't take. Sure, he may be available at Nos. 11-15. He could also be gone before eight, with a real prospect that some teams value more than Derek Stingley. I'm not in that camp, but I'd bet plenty are. If that's the guy you want, you've probably got to stay at No. 8 and take him.

Kyle Pitts broke records during his rookie year, so we're breaking out our favorite photos.

Antwon Smith from Atlanta

Hello Scott, it's Smitty There are many holes to fill for the Falcons on both sides of the football, they are a lot of free agents and could be some cap casualties as well. What position could Atlanta SURPRISINGLY choose with the 8th pick? I'm thinking LB because of the uncertain future of Deion Jones and Foye Oluokun, Thanks Scott always enjoy your work!

Bair: Smitty! What's up, man? Appreciate all the support since I arrived in the ATL. You all should check out his pods/shows on YouTube. Tons of Falcons talk all year around.

A surprise position at No. 8??? Linebacker is possible because there are a few, Devin Lloyd comes to mind, who could be the best player available at that spot. I'd say quarterback would be a surprise at No. 8, but not an impossible thought. If the Falcons love one of the top quarterbacks, they could have a crack at him at No. 8, especially if they can keep their interest quiet and surprise some folks. Do I see that as a likely scenario? I do not. I've also said [often] that you move heaven and earth to get the quarterback you want. That could include this first-round pick, even with so many more pressing needs to address.

Ryan Bair from [Orange County, Calif.]

What are the chances the Falcons will play in the regular season game in Munich next year?

Bair: Hey everyone. This is my brother Ryan. Ryan…Everyone. Everyone…Ryan. With introductions out of the way, I think this question is a way of asking if Falcons will play in the same town as Bayern Munich, the soccer team I'm borderline (okay, completely) obsessed with. Having the Falcons play in Munich -- the NFL will host a regular-season game there for the first time in 2022 -- would be a dream come true if Bayern also had a home game while the Falcons were there. But just to be in Allianz Arena is a bucket-list scenario, so it'd be awesome just to be there.

To answer the question directly, there's a chance. The Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are among four teams with marketing rights in Germany, so it's possible one of them gets the first home game over there and they could be matched with the NFC South rival Falcons on that trip. So there's a chance. But…the Falcons just played abroad, so the league might not send them overseas twice in as many seasons. We don't know yet, but I'd consider it remote. Oh, and hope all is well. And say hi to Amanda and Gene Parmesan (that's their dog) for me.

Call for questions

We've got another mailbag coming up before the NFL Scouting Combine. Submit your questions right here for inclusion in Friday's Bair Mail.


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