We're now less than a month from the NFL draft, where the Falcons will make some of the biggest decisions of this offseason. And, yes, that includes some of the monsters recently executed, including the Matt Ryan trade.
I spoke to general manager Terry Fontenot on Monday and you could tell he was excited to make some picks that could expand and fortify the team's young foundation. It was clear he enjoys this time of year.
I, too, enjoy the heck out of it. That's why I was bummed to skip the Wednesday Bair Mail, but Tori McElhaney did an excellent job filling in and answering your questions well. Appreciate the pick-me-up.
And, just to get it out of the way, there will be no April Fool's Day pranks in this mailbag. You should definitely find time in your day to pull at least one on your friends.
Let's get right to your questions in Friday's mailbag:
Bill Witten from Killen, Ga.
Do you believe there is any possibility the Falcons would draft a quarterback in the first two rounds? Surely they aren't foolish enough to even consider doing that. Matt Ryan year after year was destroyed because the offensive line was so bad. Can you imagine what would happen to a rookie or the second year if they sat him for a year? Their defense was an embarrassment in getting sacks. I say best defensive or offensive player in round 1 and the first pick in round 2 and the best receiver for the second pick of round 2. What do you say?
Bair: I think they're going best player available at every spot. They have needs everywhere, especially at premium positions typically selected in earlier portions of the draft.
I'm with you, Bill, in that I don’t think the Falcons are taking a quarterback at No. 8. Maybe they will in the second round, but I wouldn't do that either. They need impact players at several spots, from offensive line to edge rusher to receiver. Those position groups have both elite talents and depth in the draft, which should bode well for a team with five picks in the top 82.
Will Smith from Summerville, Ga.
Hi, Scott. After the Ridley news broke, a lot of the latest mock drafts have us taking a receiver in the first round. I'm sorry, I just don't see it. I'd go somewhere in the trenches, either edge or offensive tackle. Sure, we need some help at receiver but there is plenty of talent at the position in the second or third round. I have heard the "best player available vs. drafting for need" debate and think, in this case, we need help along the lines more than at wide out. Your thoughts, Sir?
Bair: Kris Rhim had the Falcons taking USC receiver Drake London in the latest Falcons mock draft. I wouldn't be bummed about that. The Falcons don’t have an intimidator in that position group right now. There are a few in the NFL draft who could have that impact right away.
Sure, this could be viewed as BPA vs. need. It could also be looked at as the Falcons taking true impact players. If they come out of this with impact players at key positions, it doesn't really matter in which order they took them. There is depth at receiver, but the same can be said at edge rusher. Just take the best talent and don't worry much about where he plays.
Antonio Hall from Dover, Ga.
Is the Georgia product Davis in play with the 8th pick would help with Grady Jarrett from taking double teams every game?
Bair: All good players are in play for the Falcons, but I wouldn't think they're going in that direction at No. 8. Defensive tackle isn't a pressing need with Grady Jarrett and then Anthony Rush as a nose-tackle-type. Maybe in a trade down, but I still think there are other premium positions they could target. It would be possible, however, that he could be the best player on the Falcons board if they're selecting in the teens.
Davis is quite a talent, however, and I believe he'll have a productive NFL career if he stays healthy.
Score! Check out our top touchdowns of the 2021 season.
Jessie Gunn from Columbia, S.C.
What happen with the dead cap money if the Atlanta Falcon's resign Julio Jones as a free agent?
Bair: Two quick notes on that: 1. The dead money would remain. It would be a new deal. And (most importantly) 2. I can't envision a situation where that happens. Nobody would even buy that as an April Fool's joke. Not realistic enough.
Andrew Love from Flowery Branch, Ga.
Will the Falcons be drafting physically dominate players who have proven ability to control the line of scrimmage at their previous levels? I've seen some advertisements around Atlanta saying Size Matters and that is true. I am a huge UGA fan and watched the combine highlights, they all look ready to be professional football players. I just don't want to see a 2-star high school recruit who played non-competitive football at some school not in the SEC drafted in our top 5 picks, let the Saints do that. Big Jordan Davis next to Grady would allow our linebackers to work. Casey Heyward, AJ Terrell and Isiah Oliver will give our edge players time to get home. Build from the inside out.
Bair: I like building up the middle, but the Falcons are, with some exceptions, okay there. They need perimeter players on both sides of the ball. They need athletes to add those who can create separation or prevent it.
As Fontenot said shortly after the season, the Falcons need pressure players. In a broad sense, that means athletes who can tax the opposition mentally and physically. The Falcons need a lot more of those guys. You can definitely find one at No. 8. If the evaluation's right, you can find them at points further down the draft as well.
I'm not from the camp that you have to select from big schools. Talent can be found anywhere if you're looking in the right places
Call for questions
Let's keep the good questions coming. Submit them right here for use in Monday's Bair Mail.