With the NFL Draft just a few days away, NFL Network reporter and Falcons' contributor Steve Wyche joined AtlantaFalcons.com reporter Kelsey Conway to discuss his thoughts on what the Falcons will do with the No. 4 overall pick, best player available versus filling positional needs and if he thinks the Falcons will trade back.
Question: What direction do you think the Falcons are headed?
Steve Wyche: Tough call. If [San Francisco] goes Trey Lance, that's an option off the board for the Falcons. Mac Jones, from the people I've talked to, he's not an option at pick No. 4 for the Falcons. That's someone who if he's not picked at No. 3 you could see slip. So, is it Justin Fields? Maybe. Kyle Pitts? From everything I gather, it's more so Kyle Pitts. And it's not just because he's someone who could give them an immediate impact. And I can tell you this, the Falcons are looking for immediate impact out of some of their rookies because some of their contract and salary situations, they've got to have some rookies play right away especially if they feel they've drafted well. But because that position now, that hybrid tight end position has become so important in the NFL with defenses getting more athletic, defenses playing more nickel and dime packages. If you've got someone like Pitts who can run like a wide receiver, block like a tight end, do some things at h-back that opens up the field for you. I think if you get a Kyle Pitts you can address some other positions, they are going to get an edge rusher and some defensive front help elsewhere in the draft, maybe second round. Let's not forget the Falcons have the fourth pick in the second round. Maybe that's when you get a quarterback, they've got to add a quarterback, they've only got one on the roster right now, that being Matt Ryan. I would lean more to Kyle Pitts unless a team comes up to trade.
Q: Do you see the Falcons trading back?
Wyche: I can't see the Falcons trading back that far. I think if the Falcons trade back, it probably wouldn't be out of the top 10. Maybe 11. Maybe. But I still don't see it. If teams are coming up to No. 4, they aren't necessarily coming up for that quarterback. Some of those teams are coming up for Kyle Pitts. Again, I don't know if the Falcons would say we're going to forsake Kyle Pitts to move back six slots and allow a team, whomever, to take Kyle Pitts.
Q: Do you think Oregon tackle Penei Sewell could be in play at pick No. 4 for Atlanta?
Wyche: It's an option. He's a great player. A dynamic tackle, he's super athletic, super tough. That wouldn't stun me. Because if you look at Arthur Smith and you look at Terry Fontenot and the way [their previous] teams were built, it's massive, tough offensive lines. It wouldn't stun me if that's the way they went. I think it would surprise some folks coming after them in the draft because then Kyle Pitts is going to be available. That would be an interesting domino. I still think it's going to be somebody who is going to be putting up stats in Kyle Pitts or someone to be putting up stats in a quarterback for the future.
Q: How do you balance taking the best player available versus tackling needs in this draft for the Falcons in the first round?
Wyche: Let's hit the best player available thing first. It's a myth, it's GM cliché. When you are drafting in the top seven or eight, you are drafting for need. You say the Falcons don't need a tight end, well you look at the successful offenses today, especially with the schemes Arthur Smith runs, they need that second tight end, especially that hybrid type. Football is now a game of geometry, if you have a bigger piece in that geometry game who can run like a smaller piece like a Pitts that really helps you out a lot. This best player happens when a CeeDee Lamb drops in the Cowboys lap last year at No. 17.