Terry Fontenot is in the thick of his first offseason as general manager of the Atlanta Falcons and the questions regarding the quarterback position around the NFL have reached a new level.
Between the five potential first-round draft pick prospects in this year's class and the movement that's likely to take place during free agency, it's not uncommon for every general manager to be asked about the quarterback position at this time. And for the Falcons who own the No. 4 overall pick, the intrigue from the outside is certainly there.
While Matt Ryan is still playing at a very high level and Fontenot and coach Arthur Smith have expressed his excitement about having a player of Ryan's caliber on his roster, the Falcons will go through a thorough evaluation of the quarterback position, as they will for every position. But what makes this year different is the Falcons will be looking to add at least two quarterbacks to their roster behind Ryan. Matt Schaub is set to retire, and the team recently moved on from Kurt Benkert who spent the last few seasons as Atlanta's practice squad quarterback.
Whether the Falcons add a quarterback in the draft or free agency, they'll be adding at least one in the foreseeable future. So, that begs the question. What traits does Fontenot value most at the position?
"I think it starts off at every position the same way," Fontenot said. "It always starts off with the make-up of the individuals. We are going to assess the personal character and the football character. Arthur (Smith) has said it a number of times; you want a smart, tough, competitive, football team. When we are talking about situational awareness and you are talking about critical times at the end of games, the end of halves. So, he wants smart, tough, competitive football players. I think that goes … that's at every position. Now, obviously the quarterback position is different than some of them, so you've really have to spend a lot of time with the quarterbacks and make sure you really assess the mental part of it. So that you can assess them as processors (of football information). But I would say at every position we are looking for that same make up."
Smith, who will call plays on offense for the Falcons in addition to his duties as head coach, wants to build his team full of players that Fontenot described. The duo will be tasked with helping the Falcons get back on track after a 4-12 season and securing the right players will be a big part of that.
The five quarterback draft prospects who've been projected as potential first-round picks are the following: Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance and Mac Jones. Fields and Wilson have been mocked to the Falcons numerous times.
As far as free agent quarterbacks, Mitchell Trubisky, Jameis Winston, Andy Dalton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jacoby Brissett, Tyrod Taylor, Cam Newton, Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld, Brian Hoyer, Mike Glennon and Geno Smith are among the many who are scheduled to become free agents per Overthecap.com when the new league year beings on March 17.