The Atlanta Falcons finally have their long-term backup quarterback with the seventh-round selection of Sean Renfree out of Duke. The David Cutcliffe product is a great fit for the Falcons' offensive style and will be the ideal guy behind Matt Ryan.
Atlanta lucked out and got one of the best long-term prospects at quarterback in the draft. He should have gone about three rounds earlier than he did, but when a prospect this good falls, you just snatch him up. Finding a good backup in today's NFL is tough to do.
On the Field
Sean Renfree is a field general of epic proportions to bring Duke to a bowl game. He makes effective reads and can lead the worst talent to winning seasons. When Duke finally gave him full control of the offense, he posted career numbers. He's shown improvement in every single season in almost every category since he earned the starting job as a redshirt sophomore.
He brought his completion percentage up an average of almost three full percentage points each season (61.4 to 64.9 to 67.1), raised his touchdown to interception ratio each year (14:17 to 14:11 to 19:10) and has taken fewer sacks from year to year.
On top of all of that, the Blue Devils have seen his abilities lead them to some of their best seasons over the past few decades. In his three seasons starting, they went from 3-9 and 3-9 to 6-6 and a bowl game in his final season at Duke. Hopefully, Renfree never even has to take the field, but if he does, the Falcons should feel confident in his ability as a backup.
Off the Field
Sean Renfree is a great player off the field. He's a team captain as the quarterback of the Blue Devils and has been committed to the team since his first day on campus. He's a college graduate already and has been planning on getting not just a master's degree, but is also looking to eventually go to medical school and become a doctor.
A work ethic that his head coach David Cutcliffe compares to Peyton Manning (h/t NFL.com's Marc Sessler) will help him earn that degree when his football career is over. But for now, it looks like his first love is football, and his medical degree can come later. Worst-case scenario for Renfree is he spends a year or two on the Falcons' practice squad and doesn't need student loans for his medical degree.
Best-case scenario for both Renfree and the Falcons is that he ends up a long-term backup for the Falcons and can show starter potential—the kind of starter who would warrant a pair of two second-round picks much like Matt Schaub did. That would be the ultimate winning situation for both the Falcons and Renfree.
For more information on Sean Renfree, check out Wes Steuve‘s scouting report.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus's Premium Stats, ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All contract information is courtesy Spotrac and Rotoworld. All recruiting rankings come from 247Sports.com.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.
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