Atlanta Falcons: Why it makes sense to draft Zach Wilson

(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Many 2021 NFL mock drafts have Zach Wilson as the selection by the Atlanta Falcons at No. 4. Here’s why that’s the right move.

The offseason is in full swing for the Atlanta Falcons ahead of the 2021 NFL season, and the future of the franchise is in limbo with a new regime taking over operations of the team following the conclusion of the 2020 campaign.

Earlier this offseason, the Falcons went out and hired head coach Arthur Smith to take things over on the sidelines in Atlanta, later adding Terry Fontenot to take over operations in the front office for the Falcons moving forward.

With that new pairing in place both on the field and in the front office making decisions, Atlanta has a lot to work out and figure out before the 2021 season can begin with filling holes and coming up with a clear vision of the organization moving forward.

First of all, Atlanta is in a tough spot with its salary cap while it tries to fill some needs on various aspects of the roster this offseason. Along with that, the Falcons have some players creeping up in age — most notably veteran quarterback Matt Ryan and star wide receiver Julio Jones — on the roster.

The first way Atlanta will try and begin the process of looking to the current season and beyond will come in the annual NFL Draft at the end of April, a draft where the Falcons hold the No. 4 selection in the opening round.

With the draft continuing to inch closer, mock drafts have begun to emerge from national media members with various NFL insiders and reporters predicting who the Falcons will select with that first pick in the top five.

On Tuesday, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. released his first mock draft ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft. And, as reported by Falcons Wire, Atlanta selected BYU quarterback Zach Wilson with the No. 4 pick.

Why Zach Wilson is the right selection for the Atlanta Falcons in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The prediction of Wilson going No. 4 to Atlanta is an interesting one, but given the current state of the franchise and where it will end up going moving forward, it’s the right decision and the a smart move to make.

When it comes to the current Falcons quarterback situation, they are currently tied into the contract of veteran Matt Ryan, who will be 36 years old by the time the 2021 season begins. Ryan will likely return to the field in Atlanta yet again in the new year, but Wilson could learn from the veteran quarterback throughout the year and be the quarterback-in-waiting behind Ryan when he ultimately moves on.

Wilson’s draft stock has quickly improved since the college football and NFL seasons concluded, with him previously being viewed as the third- or fourth-best quarterback in this draft that is filled with talent under center.

Throughout his three-year career at BYU, Wilson finished with a total of 566 completions for 7,652 passing yards, 56 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 30 games. He has also shown the ability to use his legs in the running game, recording 212 rushes for 642 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground over his collegiate career.

When it comes to Wilson’s latest season, his junior campaign in 2020, the stud quarterback completed 247 of 336 passes (73.5 percent) for 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns and just three interceptions. His completion percentage, passing yards and touchdown passes were all career-best marks.

On the ground in 2020, Wilson paired his strong arm with the ability to run, finishing with 70 carries for a career-high 254 yards and career-best 10 touchdowns.

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The 21-year-old quarterback is the prime candidate for Atlanta to select in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft and would be a great player to insert into the Falcons’ high-powered offense once Ryan departs. Drafting Wilson is the right move, allowing Atlanta to secure its future at quarterback and also develop him for at least a year behind Ryan beginning in the 2021 campaign.