Atlanta Falcons leave door open for the Detroit Lions to select a QB

(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Falcons want everyone to know they are open for business regarding the fourth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.  What does this mean for the Detroit Lions, who currently sit with the seventh choice?

Over the last couple of days, many experts are starting to suggest the first three picks in the upcoming NFL Drafts are already set in stone.

Usually, the first pick is very predictable; typically, the top quarterback in the draft class will go to the worst team in the league picking first.  There had been a time that choice could have been the top left tackle, but landing a dynamic quarterback in this passing league has taken precedence over the years.

It’s not often we can accurately predict the top three choices; there is usually one surprise, but when ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter speaks, we all listen.

If you haven’t been paying much attention to the NFL Draft coverage to this point, you are reading this and assuming Trevor Lawrence is going to be selected first overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Zach Wilson will be heading to New York to join the Jets.  Both of those decisions are no-brainers.

Things get really interesting when it comes to this third choice apparently ‘set in stone.’  Many reports suggest that the San Francisco 49ers who traded up with Miami to the third slot in the draft will take Alabama’s quarterback Mac Jones.

Schefter is so confident that he’s locking Jones in as the third overall pick, not Justin Fields or Trey Lance, but Mac Jones.  Wow.  That will be the first wrinkle or curveball thrown into the draft.  A month ago, Jones had been considered a mid-to-late first-round target and firmly the fifth-ranked quarterback in the draft.

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If the Atlanta Falcons are indeed shopping the fourth overall pick, that tells me they are not really content with drafting a quarterback to eventually replace the 36-year old corpse of Matt Ryan.  I’m shocked the Falcons have no interest in selecting someone like Penei Sewell, who has the ability to anchor Atlanta’s offensive line for the next decade, or in a worst-case scenario, draft Kyle Pitts to play alongside Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, and dare defenses to try and stop their air-raid attack.

This news leaves the door propped open for the Detroit Lions.

The Falcons may just be dangling that fourth pick out there, hoping to cash in with an abundance of draft capital from a quarterback desperate team.  Teams know that three quarterbacks will be selected in succession to begin the draft, so if an organization falls in love with either Fields or Lance, they may be willing to pay in a big way.

Perhaps the Denver Broncos will hope to come up and make it four quarterbacks off the board in a row.  If that is the case, Atlanta will add plenty of draft capital and still have an opportunity to pick a franchise-altering talent in the top ten.  If the organization is content with not picking a quarterback fourth, it’s a no-brainer.

Other teams that may hope to pick a QB are the New England Patriots, who currently sit with the 15th overall pick, or the Washington Football Team, who own the 19th overall pick.  A couple of others that come to mind are the Vegas Raiders, who are sitting 17th overall, and the Chicago Bears at 20.  It will be difficult for those teams slated to pick 15 and beyond to package something up that Atlanta will accept to move that far back in the draft.  To me, it’s Denver or bust for the Falcons.

This leaves the Detroit Lions in a unique position with the seventh choice.  If the 49ers are set on Mac Jones, that all but guarantees one of Fields or Lance falls to them at seven.

That will allow Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes to pick up the phone and potentially trade back and acquire even more draft capital, or select one of the quarterbacks mentioned to sit behind Jared Goff for a season.

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In my eyes, trading back to nine with Denver, adding capital, and still somehow being able to draft Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith, or maybe even Sewell would be a win-win situation for Holmes and the Lions.