With the NFL Draft just over a week away, the mock drafts and projections have reached peak level. The Atlanta Falcons own the No. 4 pick and are viewed as one of, if not the most, intriguing teams heading into this year's draft.
Majority of the mock drafts to this point have the Falcons either taking a quarterback or tight end Kyle Pitts with the fourth overall pick. When ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky was asked what he thinks the Falcons should do, he made a strong case for why he doesn't think Atlanta should use their pick in the first round on a quarterback.
"I'm of the belief of not taking a quarterback there," Orlovsky said. "I think they should try and trade down and intrigue one of those teams to come up and get some picks. If they can't find a trade partner and they determine not to take a quarterback, probably take Kyle Pitts. Although Arthur (Smith) would have to change what he does philosophy and scheme wise because Kyle is meant to stand up and not put his fingers in the ground and Arthur's history has been hand in the dirt so he would have to be very flexible with what he did with him because Kyle needs to be used like the Chiefs use Travis (Kelce) for him to go be what he should be in the NFL. "
Orlovsky's main point for not selecting a quarterback is that he believes Matt Ryan still has a lot of good football in front of him and the pick should be used on someone who can make an impact. Ryan is under contract through the 2023 season and if the Falcons were to use the pick on a quarterback, he wouldn't see the field right away.
Ryan threw 407 passes for 4,581 yards and 26 touchdowns in the 2020 season. He was sacked 41 times and threw 11 interceptions. The 35-year-old has finished with a completion percentage of 65.0 or higher over the last three seasons.
The Falcons have three scenarios at this point: Stay at No. 4 and draft a quarterback for the future in hopes they aren't picking in the top-five again anytime soon, draft the best non-quarterback prospect in the draft with the fourth pick or trade back and acquire more picks in the future.
"I sit here today and I don't think they should take a quarterback with the fourth pick," Orlovsky said. "One, I think they are better than 4-12. I think they are better than what their record was last year. Two, the question is Matt Ryan playing good enough football for us to be really good over the next two to three years? Is he still capable of playing winning, division championship level football in the next three years? I think that answer is yes unequivocally. Three, are we fixing ourselves now or for the future by taking a Mac Jones, Trey Lance or Justin Fields? And while that answer for everyone is take the quarterback when you don't need him rather than when you need him, yes. They have so many holes in their defense. And while taking the quarterback and sitting him might play well for 2028, you are also in many ways washing away the next two years because you're not getting an impactful player right now and you've already started to make the transition to the future."
General manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith have nine picks to use in their first draft together.