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Is there a world in which the Falcons draft a receiver like Marvin Harrison Jr. or Rome Odunze? Perhaps

It was wideouts and quarterbacks podium day at the NFL Combine on Friday. The Falcons have a few holes to fill at receiver. Could one of these draft-eligible receivers be a fit? 

INDIANAPOLIS -- Let's start with a hypothetical.

Let's say we all get to April 25, the first day of the 2024 NFL Draft. And let's say when we do, the Falcons have answered their quarterback question. How they did so? Well, in this scenario it's through free agency or a trade.

Since this is a hypothetical, the who they got doesn't matter so much as the how they got him. All we need to know is the Falcons have QB1 locked in prior to the start of the draft. So, where do they set their sights in the first round? Two positions of need come to mind: edge rusher and wide receiver.

Many draft analyst have sent Dallas Turner of Alabama to the Falcons at No. 8 time and time again. It has been Turner and quarterbacks linked to the Falcons throughout the month of February. However, who's to say the Falcons wouldn't use a top-10 pick on a receiver? Especially if they don't need a quarterback or someone like Turner is off the board already.

Over the course of the last three draft cycles, the Falcons have followed a specific formula, drafting an offensive weapon in the first round even if they didn't necessarily need said weapon at the time. There's an argument the Falcons drafted Kyle Pitts, Drake London and Bijan Robinson when they had greater position needs to fill elsewhere. They went the best-player-available route. If they do so again, it could end up that they draft yet another offensive weapon with a top-10 pick for the fourth year in a row. The only difference this year? This pick -- if they draft one of the best receivers on the board -- would fall into a best-player-available bucket and a position-of-need bucket.

Because, yes. The Falcons are in need of receivers, potentially a few of them.

London is the only true receiver under contract for the Falcons in 2024 from the 2023 squad. This is a position group that needs reinforcements and immediate game-changers. The best way to supplement that need in a way that doesn't immediately load up the bank loan is to get young, flashy weapons on a rookie contract, as they've done with Pitts, London and Robinson.

Enter the hypothetical of drafting a receiver in the first round (again, if and only if they've answered the quarterback question by that point).

This 2024 wide receiver class is fairly deep and talented at the top of the draft. Marvin Harrison Jr. out of Ohio State tops the group in most class breakdowns. If he falls to No. 8, that could be enticing to a wide-receiver-hungry team like the Falcons. Harrison did not speak to the media Friday in Indianapolis.

More realistic around the No. 8 spot are LSU receivers Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr., along with Washington's Rome Odunze, whose name has popped up alongside the Falcons on a few mock drafts recently. During his Friday media availability, Odunze compared his style of play to that of Raiders receiver Davante Adams.

"I do a lot of his split-release technique," Odunze said. "I'm still learning, still trying to figure out how he's so twitchy with it. I'm still getting there. With his size, his route-running ability and his contested-catch (ability), I like to compare myself to him."

Asked what he would want the team that ultimately drafts him to have in place, Odunze said a veteran quarterback, which the Falcons would likely already have in place if they were (hypothetically) drafting a receiver at No. 8 overall.

"A good quarterback is always nice," Odunze said. "Someone who's a vet and who has proven himself in the quarterback room. The quarterback is a tough position to secure in the NFL and pretty much one of the biggest factors in getting me the ball and my success as well."


Then, there's always the options of the Falcons moving down in the first round or even moving back up into it if they need to. In that scenario, you're probably looking at someone like FSU's Keon Coleman or Georgia's Ladd McConkey.

"I think I'm a very competitive guy, high-personality guy, good locker room guy," Coleman said when asked what he would bring to an NFL team. "I'm a guy that's going to come to work every day and give his all in practice. I'm going to compete, dominate, do what I need to do and just come in as a sponge, ready to learn."

So, even in this hypothetical world, the Falcons have options at wide receiver. However, it's important to note this would likely stay a hypothetical if the Falcons get to the end of April without their QB1 on the roster. The question of quarterback has to be answered first.

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