The Atlanta Falcons are sitting at No. 4 in the 2021 NFL Draft with a valuable pick they could possibly trade out of. Who could they make a deal with?
Most people would agree that the 2021 NFL Draft is going to truly begin with the Atlanta Falcons at the No. 4 overall pick. With the Jaguars locked into Trevor Lawrence and the Jets in the same spot with Zach Wilson, the only question is which quarterback the 49ers will take at No. 3 — though the current belief seems to be that will be Alabama’s Mac Jones.
Though there was some speculation early in the offseason that the Falcons would draft a quarterback, that’s not certain by any stretch. More importantly, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Atlanta is open to moving the No. 4 pick and has received multiple calls already about potentially trading down.
For the Falcons, it would make a great deal of sense to trade down if they aren’t taking a quarterback. This is a roster with a ton of holes to plug, so getting extra draft picks would be in their best interest. On top of that, Atlanta’s biggest need is likely an edge defender and they would be better off targeting that position in the middle of the first round as opposed to inside the top five.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at three potential teams that the Atlanta Falcons could make a trade with to move back from the fourth-overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Trade partners for the Atlanta Falcons to move back in the 2021 NFL Draft
3. Washington Football Team (No. 19 pick)
Coming to terms with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick was a savvy course of action for Ron Rivera and the Washington Football Team. They have a defense that proved last season it’s ready to compete at a playoff level and they invested in upgrading the offense this offseason as well. Quarterback was the issue and now they have the Harvard graduate to help guide them in 2021.
After that is a different question entirely, however. Washington may like what Taylor Heinicke could possibly offer but most people would agree that the franchise needs a young option to try and develop. The 19th pick doesn’t necessarily afford them that opportunity, though, so they may be in position where they have to move up. And if they want their pick of the final two quarterbacks among the top five, trading up with the Falcons should be on the table.
2. New England Patriots (No. 15 pick)
Re-signing Cam Newton in free agency was actually one of the bigger surprises of the offseason but the team-friendly deal should be beneficial to the Patriots right now. Specifically, it leaves the door open for New England to still try and identify a player they believe can be their long-term answer at the position and use the former Panthers star as a stopgap option.
It doesn’t appear as if they’ll have the option to make that move with the 15th pick, though. The Patriots will almost surely need to make a move up the draft board if they plan on selecting a quarterback. Given that the Falcons are shopping their pick in the top five, it would only make sense if Bill Belichick and New England were heavily interested.
1. Denver Broncos (No. 9 pick)
Based on the current draft order, it may not make surface level sense for the Broncos to trade with the Falcons. Unless the Detroit Lions are interested in a quarterback with the seventh-overall pick (which seems unlikely at this point), they are the next team in the market for a signal-caller that will come on the clock after the first three picks.
While that may be true, the threat of other teams trading up can lead to some crazy things happening. The Broncos could be motivated by the Falcons leveraging teams like New England and Washington against them to make a deal. As a result, Atlanta would keep a top-10 pick but do so while recouping draft capital to help reshape the roster.