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NFL Trade Rumors: Falcons 'Open' to Moving No. 4 Draft Pick amid Interest

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2021

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) helmet sits on the field before an NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018 in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)
Mark Tenally/Associated Press

The Atlanta Falcons reportedly aren't ruling out the possibility of trading the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, multiple teams have reached out to Atlanta to gauge its interest in trading the pick, and the Falcons "are open to moving" out of the No. 4 slot.

The Falcons are believed to be the first team on the board that isn't necessarily locked into its pick. The Jacksonville Jaguars are widely expected to take Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence first overall, and the New York Jets are believed to be taking a quarterback at No. 2 overall after trading Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers on Monday.

Also, the San Francisco 49ers moved up to the No. 3 overall pick in a trade with the Miami Dolphins, and it is likely that the Niners are going QB as well.

It is widely assumed that BYU quarterback Zach Wilson is the Jets' target at No. 2, which would leave the Niners to choose between Ohio State's Justin Fields, North Dakota State's Trey Lance and Alabama's Mac Jones.

Since San Francisco still has Jimmy Garoppolo under contract, it will have the benefit of taking a signal-caller and letting him learn behind a quarterback who took the 49ers to the Super Bowl just two seasons ago.

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In his latest mock draft released Tuesday, NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah projected the Niners to go with Jones, meaning the Falcons would have the option of Fields or Lance at No. 4 should they stay put and focus on a quarterback.

Atlanta could also take a top player at a different position or trade out of the spot to land a bounty of picks from another team desperate to find a franchise quarterback.

The Falcons are in a unique situation in that they have a former NFL MVP at quarterback in Matt Ryan, but Matty Ice is nearly 36 years old and coming off a 2020 season in which he went 4-12.

Ryan's 4,581 yards, 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions suggest he is far from done, but it may be time to find an heir apparent, especially with a new regime in place, led by head coach Arthur Smith.

At No. 4, the Falcons would likely have two elite passers to choose from, and any of them could potentially develop into a superstar, as the 2021 NFL draft's QB class is shaping up to possibly be among the best ever.

Trading out of the No. 4 spot could take Atlanta out of the running for a quarterback depending on how far it trades down, as the Detroit Lions at No. 7 and Denver Broncos at No. 9 may be in the market for a QB as well.

Trading down and continuing to rely on an older quarterback Ryan would be a risk of sorts, but it would likely also land the Falcons a future first-round pick and additional selections that might accelerate the timeline of their rebuild.

Atlanta has plenty of other needs on both sides of the ball, so trading down and then taking someone like Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell, Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons or Michigan pass-rusher Kwity Paye may not be the worst option.

In any event, the Falcons are now in a powerful position, and that is a great place to be in a draft that has seen the hype train push quarterbacks toward the top.

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