Good analysis. People are acting like: 1) QB's are the only risky picks you can make in the 1st round, and 2) any rookie you take in the 1st round at a position of perceived need will automatically "fix" that need.
I watched Deshaun Watson clone - but bigger and faster for two years at Harrison HS and then saw Kirby make the worst mistake of his tenure mismanaging Fields Freshman season - only to see Fields go on to be 2nd runner-up in Heisman voting his true Sophmore season and first year as a starter.
So already seen Fields slip through my alma mater's hands - will suck *** to see him slip through the Falcons hands as well.
Everyone with 2 eyes can see Justin is one of the top 2 QBs in this draft. This reminds me of the Deshaun Watson draft where the “Experts” hyped up the other bums and picked apart and over analyzed Watson’s game
I hope Fields falls to #4 and Fontenot and Smith at least have the opportunity to draft Fields with no need to trade-up.
It’s Fontenot’s team now and I will trust him now to make the right moves - but I am a believer in the talent of Fields.
DeShaun Watson fell out of the Top 10 and looking back, it’s easy to say “what was every NFL GM that needed a QB thinking?”
My comp for Fields has always been Watson, but bigger. Not Cam - it was never Cam. Fields is smarter and more accurate than Cam.
If Falcons pass on Fields then they do. Hope they don’t but I would rather they have a shot to take him at #4 and don’t than he be gone altogether.
Thats very not true.
I've worked with a lot a lot of really good quarterbacks,” Avery said. “Justin Fields is the most talented quarterback that I've ever come in contact with. He has the ability to do everything with his arm. And then he's also going to run a sub 4.4 40. And he's 228 pounds. He's built like a rock, and his ability to process information, go through reads, all those things, it's next level.
Exactly. First, it was Fields hasn't played a good defense. That started LAST season at Ohio State. He beats the best defenses, then it was " he ain't played anybody ", but yet those " ain't anybody " defenses were put in front of him as measuring sticks....UNTIL HE BEAT THEM. Then, its " Ohio State don't produce NFL Quarterback ", as if he is the same quarterback as the previous ones with some kind of Ohio State stain that goes back decades. Then it's the " he can't go thru his progressions ", which anybody can see he does very well when given time to throw the ball. Meanwhile, folks LOOK for reasons to praise Zach Wilson who beat nobody and lost to Coastal Carolina of all people...
I dont get it. I hear people say he is Vick 2.0 or he is a system QB. Anybody from metro Atlanta would know the kids journey and development. He has worked with QB guru's since the 8th grade, same as Lawrence. He was coached at UGA by the same guy who coached Brees in college(Jim Chaney) and he said Fields was the most physically gifted QB he ever coached.
He left UGA for playing time and I can't blame him. But to say Wilson is better or superior to him is crazy. The level of comp they both played against should tell the tale. Fields played HS football in GA, and SEC/Big Ten college ball, so he is battled tested. Wilson looks more boom or bust to me. A nice arm and rockstar bravado doesn't mean you will be a good NFL QB. If I had a choice to pick a QB it would be Lawrence, but lets not fool ourselves like these NFL experts are always right. My eye test says Fields will be fine as a NFL QB
Every young QB has progression problems when they first come into the league. Name 1 that hasn't and I will sell you my beach front property in Idaho.
First mock of the off-season. Kind of a combination of what I'd like to see versus what I expect from the off-season based on what little we've heard as far as philosophy goes from TF and Arthur.
Not gonna worry too much with salary cap numbers as of now until a number is set. The swings in which people think the cap will land are just too wild. Anywhere from 180-200 mil so guessing right now is futile.
This mock is going to hammer the secondary hard. I feel like every single spot needs to be replaced except AJ.
For us to have any chance of making any free agency noise though, a lot of contracts are going to have to get reworked.
QB - Matt Ryan (Yes, some people will see this as 'kicking the can', but really its not. This year Ryan accounts for almost 23% of the total cap. Over the final two years of his contract he accounts for 18.3% and 15.2%. It's more about evening those numbers out to roughly 19% over the course of the next 3 years. )
LT - Jake Mathews (same deal with Jake. This year he's accounting for 11.1% of the cap, but over the next two years his cap hit actually goes down. 8.7% and 7.6% over the last two. Even that out to roughly 9% over the next 3.)
WR - Julio Jones (again, same situation. Julio's contract is at its peak this year at 12.6% of the cap taken up. A significant drop over the last two years. 8.5% and 8% over the last two years. That would round out to 9.7% over the final 3 years)
With these 3 moves we save 9% of our cap space this year which comes out to $16.74 million in cap space.
DT Grady Jarrett (sign him to a 3 year extension and back load it heavily. By that time Matt, Julio, Fowler won't even be on the books.)
Easily the potential to save 10+ mil.
FS Ricardo Allen
DE Allen Bailey
LG James Carpenter
Not much to say about the cuts. The majority seen all of these coming from a mile away
K Younhoe Koo
OL Matt Gono
DE J. T. Mariner
FS Marcus Williams - PFF's 4th highest rated safety over the past 3 years. TF knows him well.
CB Desmond King II - Our new slot CB and kick returner.
C Corey Linsley - Hard to find gifs of a center...but was top 5 at his position last year. This signing will have nearly the same impact that signing Alex Mack did. TF believes in a strong OL.
This is how I see the first 4 picks going as of now
1. JAX - QB Trevor Lawrence
2. NYJ - QB Zack Wilson
3. MIA - OT Penei Sewell
4. ATL - TRADE - The Denver Brocnos have been in on the QB sweepstakes all off-season and I see them making a move. We receive their 1st, 2nd, 3rd and next years 1st. DEN selects QB Tray Lance
9. ATL - CB Patrick Surtain II
35. ATL - RB Javonte Williams
40. ATL - S Jevon Holland
68. ATL - LB Dylan Moses
71. ATL - DT Tyler Shelvin
99. ATL - DE Carlos Basham JR
132. ATL - RB Chubba Hubbard
5th round comp ATL - DT Alim Mcneil
163. ATL - TE Hunter Long
6th round comp ATL - OC Drake Jackson
6th round comp ATL - QB Sam Ehlinger (our version of Taysom Hill)
Our new secondary
CB1 - AJ Terrell
CB2 - Patrick Surtain JR
Slot - Desmond King
FS - Marcus Williams
SS - Jevon Holland
Justin Fields is being "over-thought" as well. His career completion percentage is 69.2%. He has 67 passing TDs, only 9 INTs which is a healthy 7.4/1 TD/INT ratio. He's 6'3", 228lbs, will run a 4.5-4.6/40 and is a strong/fast runner with the ability to make plays, extend plays, move the chains for first downs and has a very strong arm.
The combo of the way he left UGA and the "anti-OhioState QBs in NFL" history has everyone overthinking Justin Fields. That said, he does have some more development and only had basically 1.5 years as a starter instead of the typical 2-3 year starter - so he's a little behind the curve there. He's not as good now today as he will be - but he's dayum good now.
There will be a lotta "yeah we should have saw this" hindsight from the doubters now in three years when he's a star in the NFL.
I find it hilarious that the people that like Wilson discredit Fields because of his performance against a team like Northwestern (Despite half his team being out due to COVID) but ignore the fact that the only decent defense Wilson played all year he looked terrified in the pocket and they lost. They also pretend that his horrific 2019 season never happened. 11 TDs in 9 games not to mention the 7 INTs. He has been playing garbage level competition his whole career and finally had a great year this year. One year wonder.
Wilson has played 6 ranked teams in his whole entire 3 years at BYU...His record is 2-4.
Meanwhile Fields played 5 ranked teams in just an 8 game season this year... His record is 4-1. The only loss coming against the god squad of Alabama. He has lost 2 games in 2 years.
If a QB is great, Even low level teams the QB will find a way to win. Matt Ryan got the awful squad of Boston College to #2 in the rankings. Only other player worth a crap on that team was Gosder Cherilus and Ron Brace and neither were anything to write home about. Zach Wilson is the flavor of the month QB that will get drafted too high and a team will regret it later. I would take Mac Jones in the 2nd before I took Zach Wilson at 4.
((Can't figure out how to change the font, ah well. Don't wanna have to go back bolding everything, so here goes))
Real early in the process, so I’m sure things are gonna change a lot going forward…but I figure it’d be fun to try and predict what this team wants to do (or at least what I’d like them to do) before Free Agency kicks off. Not as crazy detailed this time since cap is up in the air, and I still haven’t watched some of the guys I’d like us to draft in as much depth as I want to, but yeah.
Using Spotrac for our base salary cap (186.8 cap after rollover, about 23 mil over the cap right now), bolded means it’s this year’s cap hit/cap relief.
Matt Ryan (frees up ~14.5 mil) – only restructure I want us to do. I love having Julio and Jake on the team, but a big restructure (while freeing up about 17.5 mil between the two) means both are MUCH more difficult to trade or move on from in the following years. Worst comes to worst, it makes a bit more sense to restructure Matthews, but I’d like for them to wait on Julio until we see how this season goes and how Ridley develops.
Didn’t talk Debo or Jarrett because they better fit under…
Grady Jarrett (two years left on contract, extend for another 3, can free up to 10 mil in space) – Jarrett needs to be the biggest building block on the DL, and arguably the biggest on defense period. Extending him with two years left on the contract (and giving him a bunch more guaranteed money) keeps Son of Tuggle happy and balling.
Debo is one of my favorite Falcons, if not my favorite outright. That said, with Foye having the potential to get a new contract, I might wait on extending Debo to incentivize competition (besides, I doubt he wants an extension during COVID times after a down season since he’ll get less). He’s getting 12.5 mil this season anyways, hardly the reason we’re short on space.
Ricardo Allen, James Carpenter, and Allen Bailey (frees up 14.8 mil total) – all straightforward cuts here. Guys getting either overpaid, underperforming, or a combination of the two.
Dante Fowler to Bears for 2021 5th round pick (frees up 9.2 mil) – Fowler is just a year removed from a double-digit sack campaign and the Bears need a guy opposite Mack. With guys like Mack and Hicks on the line, allowed to stand up in base and stunt in nickel packages, Fowler can thrive while not having to be “the guy.” And the Bears get Fowler for ~9-10 mil this year due to us taking on about half his cap hit. They can extend him pretty easily if he balls out.
These moves leave the Falcons with about 25.5 mil in cap space. Keep in mind, the salary cap could be lower or higher next year, and if we went ham restructuring Julio and Jake, then extending Debo…we could have ANOTHER 23.5 mil in cap space. So keep that in mind before getting your panties in a wad over my suggested Free Agency and trade moves. If it doesn’t add up with the rookie class, pretend the first year cap hit is lower, someone else is restructured, whatever you like.
Younghoe Koo (avg 4.5 mil/yr, first year 3 mil cap hit)
(Vet min signings, all were either injured or won’t have much competition on the FA market)
Just being real with ya – I don’t see us keeping any of our “bigger” FAs leaving this season, aside from maybe Neal if he doesn’t generate interest, and I don’t see any of the guys I want us to keep outside of Koo getting more than a vet min contract. If you have an argument, have at it, but we got guys like Dennard for vet min last year and he got injured, guys like Tuoti-Mariner had no interest beforehand…just not all that worried.
Harrison Smith, S – 2021 4th round, conditional 2022 5th round (extend after trade for 3 years, no guaranteed money left on his contract, can easily get 2021 number to ~5 mil) – Smith is on the last year of his contract and the writing is on the wall – 32 years old, Anthony Harris coming due for a contract? The Vikings are gonna opt for Harris. That said, I watched the Vikings plenty this year, and Smith is still the better safety. Dude was really good this last year and gives us a ton of positional versatility at our weakest spot (safety). Pull the trigger.
I wanted to try and include a trade for JJ Watt too, but I get the feeling he’ll either 1) be traded to an immediate contender since that’s what he wants, or 2) refuse to take a pay cut with the trade and be released. But man, I’d love having a guy like him on this team.
Marcus Williams, S: 5 years, 52 mil (6 mil) – Yeah, we all love the Minneapolis Miracle, but you know what I love more? Safeties that can actually ball. Smith and Williams would legitimately be the best tandem this team has had in its long and mostly miserable history. And versatility in both players too – let’s go all out making a weakness a strength, even if it’s a bit pricy.
Chris Carson, RB: 3 years, 17 mil (4 mil) – Do you want Javonte Williams, but can’t fit him into your mock based on the other players you’re taking in the draft? Then you might want Chris Carson. It’s a little crazy how similar the two players are. Carson isn’t gonna be “cheap,” considering his relative age and smaller load of carries. That said, he’s dealt with some injuries and isn’t as dynamic as other backs. Fine by me. Dude almost never goes down at first contact and refuses to go out of bounds without a fight. As part of a multi-faceted rushing attack, he’s a threat that has to be constantly accounted for. Especially since he isn’t one of the bigger backs that can’t catch or block.
Melvin Ingram, DE: 1 year, 8 mil (8 mil) – Ingram is going to be 32 coming off an injury, trying to make the most of what’s likely his last chance to earn another big contract in the NFL. Ingram is an all-around player still capable of giving you 7-12 sacks a season and leading the team in QB hits if healthy. Let him prove that and give the younger guys a vet to look up to.
There are a bunch of other low and mid-tier guys I’d be into, but for now I’m trying to keep it reasonable. Fontenot has a penchant for turning low and mid-tier free agents into great contributors (and more), so I’m looking forward to what he’s got planned.
1(4) – trading down with Denver so they can get their QB of DA FUTURE. We give up our 1st and a 5th comp, and in return, we get their 1st and 2nd this year and their 1st next year. Rolling into next year with two 1st round picks gives the new FO tons of flexibility after evaluating the roster. And after the trade, let’s get it started with actual picks…
1(9): Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Best CB in the draft, I’d honestly be fine with him at 4. The speed narrative is gonna be blown when he runs a 4.4 at the Combine (not like that’s the most important thing to begin with). In Pees defense, paired with Terrell on the other side and two stellar safeties in Smith and Williams, this secondary is gonna be nasty.
2(36): Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
Stupid talented TE, and a better blocking-receiver combo than arguably any other TE in the draft. Having Hurst and Jordan in run formations makes this offense incredibly hard to prep for. Then consider that all of our RBs can catch (just wait till you see the guy we’re drafting) and we have Julio and/or Ridley on the outside…that’s the kind of thing that keeps defensive coordinators up at night.
2(41): Ar’Darius Washington, S, Texas Christian University
But FYM, we already allocated a ton of resources to safety! Suck it up buttercup. Don’t especially care if this is “too high” to pick Washington, he’s the best safety in the draft imho. His feel for the flow of the game is unmatched and he’s as juiced as a 5’8 guy could be. Vicious tackler in the open field, ballhawk, and has the versatility to get on the field right away, whether that’s as a nickel, a special teams gunner, a third safety – just get him out there. The goal of turning our biggest weakness on the team into a strength continues.
3(68): Alim McNeill, DT, North Carolina State
I was torn between taking an RB Rd 2 or 3 to pair with our 4th round guy and taking a big NT, but McNeill’s pass rushing ability won me over. Not quite as freaky as Dexter Lawrence coming out, but still a crazy mover for such a big dude up front. Especially given the lack of investment in the DL overall, this kind of move gives us more flexibility and ups the caliber of our short yardage defense while still offering some pass rush ability on other downs. McNeill is a hoss, and while I was torn between him and Shelvin, McNeill’s ceiling wound up winning out.
4(109): Kenny Gainwell, RB, Memphis
You can’t fake the lightning-in-a-bottle type playmaker. It’s just one of those things where when you see it…you know it. Gainwell is a threat all over the field. RB? Absolutely. WR? He runs the tree. Returner? Let’s have an actual competition for once. And the guy can gun and block, too. Carson as the “main” dude with Gainwell, Smith, and Ollison behind means that this team has a RB group capable of actually striking fear in opponents for once. Versatility all over the place.
5(149) – Chris Rumph II, DE, Duke
II - II: Electric Boogaloo. Rumph may very well not be at this spot when the draft comes around (ditto everyone else – it’s a tricky thing – but I’m going by where these guys tend to be ranked atm). But if he is, this move is a no brainer. Rumph is a smaller guy, but maybe the most refined pass rusher coming out. If you’re looking for the next Maxx Crosby cat to be taken late and blossom early, he’s likely it. Though the next guy is my other pick in that respect…
5(165) – Elerson Smith, DE, Northern Iowa
How the heck did this guy fly under the radar? I still have trouble finding his college games (didn’t play in 2020, some 2019 games on YT where he looked really good), but he’s picking up steam after a great Senior Bowl. Smith has crazy measurables (6’6 and 260+ with long arms), maintains surprisingly good leverage, and has great bend for a bigger guy. Can use refinement like a lot of smaller school dudes, but he’s not that far off if I’m being honest. Both he and Rumph can compete for pass rushing snaps early with potential for starting in a couple years, if not sooner.
5(178) – Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
I was willing to take this dude in the 2nd or 3rd last year but he’s completely fallen off the radar somehow. Adebo is a former WR with smarts to go with athleticism. Great hips and a really good man corner. Notice a theme? Drafting guys who have legit starter potential, smart guys who won’t be liabilities as depth.
6(190) – Frank Darby, WR, Arizona State
Started watching Darby because he played with my dude Jayden Daniels (who I would love for us to target in the 2022 draft). Darby is the kind of guy who can develop into a stellar 3rd WR like Gage has for us while offering contributions on STs immediately. He’s crazy talented when it comes to making adjustments for catches, he runs clean and crisp routes, and he’s a mean run blocker to boot. As close to a can’t-miss as you can get this late in the draft.
6(218) – Ben Mason, FB, Michigan
A favorite for some of the TATF crowd. A big mean fullback who can help in short yardage situations, whether he’s the one toting the rock or the one crushing linebackers in the hole. And he’s a mean ******* when it comes to special teams coverage too, ensuring we’re getting the most out of him when he’s active game-day. Decent hands as well…fullbacks are as good as it gets when it comes to late round value, and he’s gonna be a good one.
Let’s take a look at where we’re at now.
On defense, this team suddenly has one of the better starting secondaries in the league, with Surtain and Terrell at CB while the more experienced Smith and Williams man the safety spots. Pairing that with our talented LBs and a retooled DL with intelligent and versatile players means that this defense can be at least solid and arguably very good. Washington and McNeill offer great developmental depth and situational talent, with other potential homeruns that can contribute on STs immediately from Day 3.
On offense, we have one of the scariest packages on run downs of any team. Think of a 2 TE heavy I, one WR in Julio, Mason at FB, Carson in the backfield. You have to stack the box against that kind of look, but you have to double Julio (because why wouldn’t you?), and if it’s play action, there are four guys who can make you pay. Swap Carson with Gainwell and it’s even scarier. This is the kind of offense where misdirection and motion can thrive, and that kind of stuff wears down a defense from running sideline to sideline…and then Carson closes it out.
Thoughts? Wanna tell me how much you hate all that investment at safety and secondary instead of the DL? Or why I didn’t take Harris/Williams/Etienne early? (Fwiw I'd love to) Go for it. The QB crowd is gonna be miserable though.