Atlanta Falcons 2022 mock draft: Not moving on from Matt Ryan yet

Atlanta Falcons 2022 mock draft - Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Falcons 2022 mock draft - Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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Atlanta Falcons mock draft
Atlanta Falcons mock draft: Wide receiver Jalen Tolbert #8 of the South Alabama Jaguars runs the ball in for a touchdown in front of cornerback Seth Robertson #20 of the Georgia Southern Eagles during the second quarter of play at Hancock Whitney Stadium on October 14, 2021 in Mobile, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) /

Third-round pick: Jalen Tolbert, WR, Alabama State

What happens to Calvin Ridley shouldn’t stop the Falcons from adding another wide receiver. Getting a guy who can make plays after the catch should be on Terry Fontenot’s mind. No one has stepped up in Ridley’s absence.

Cordarrelle Patterson is the next best thing, but he’s a 30-year-old utility player. The 2022 NFL Draft is the place to find an insurance policy or a solid No. 2 wideout.

Alabama State wideout Jalen Tolbert is an ideal boundary wideout with elite ball skills and catch radius. Thanks to his versatile release package and quick feet, he wins at the line of scrimmage. At 6-3, he wins downfield on deep routes where he wins at the catch point. He’d give Matt Ryan another target that can win downfield.

Putting Tolbert next to Pitts makes for two solid young wideouts for any quarterback. Add Ridley to the mix, and the Falcons would return to their potent offensive prowess.

As it stands, Tolbert is a late Day 2 prospect who’ll see his stock rise. He’s accepted a Senior Bowl invite, and I have no doubt he’ll shine against tougher competition.

Fourth-round pick  Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State

Don’t expect the Falcons GM to replace Matt Ryan with this draft. What they can get is their version of Taylor Heinicke or Garner Minshew. Drafting a developmental prospect with a solid floor would help the Falcons in the future.

Brock Purdy is on the smaller side at 6-1 with a solid build (220-pounds) but stands tall with a good strong base. He does his best work between the hashes on short and intermediate routes.

Purdy doesn’t have great athletic traits, but he has enough straight-line speed to get a few yards if necessary. Inside the pocket, he’s shown a nifty spin move with the ability to reset and make throws.

If Ryan were the starting quarterback for 2022, they’d have a guy who could step up if he got hurt. Or, if the season went south again, Purdy gives them a legit potential starter to evaluate.