So I was under the impression early that the Falcons were gonna blow this roster up and go into rebuild mode. The defense is bad, the offense is getting old at the skill positions, and Matt Ryan is in the twilight of his career. Dan Quinn got his walking papers four weeks into the season and brought GM Thomas Dimitroff to the unemployment line with him. So why in the realm of all that is right in the world did this Falcons team not take Justin Fields at four overall?
Trading Julio was NOT the Plan
I can already hear the furious typing on a keyboard asking what in the world I am talking about, but hear me out. There was not any top tier talent on the defensive side of the football in the 2021 draft. The cap situation meant they could not go after any premier free agent talent. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones had huge dead money hits until post June 1 of 2022. All of these factors played against the idea of blowing it all up this year and waiting until next year to go get a quarterback and begin rebuilding. Then, Julio requests a trade.
Arthur Smith was not Ready for a Rebuild
Normally, a new coach knows what kind of situation he is walking into. For Atlanta, its a team with plenty of offensive talent and a huge need for defensive playmakers. I believe Smith thought he would have one year with this offense then parlay that into a rebuild from there. He is now in a situation where Matt Ryan will probably be cut next year and the two cornerstones over the last decade will not be on the roster.
Smiths Offense is Completely Different Than the Personnel on the Roster
Having a guy like Julio Jones covers up some of the issues on your offensive line and your skill positions. Smith is also used to having a quarterback that has mobility about him. He currently has an offensive line built to pass block and a quarterback that does not have much in the movement department outside of the pocket. He is also settled with a backfield who’s lead back in Mike Davis when coming from Derrick Henry.
Why Justin Fields?
Let’s take a look at Ryan Tannehill in a nut shell. He’s a quarterback that does not have the biggest arm, is mobile, makes good decisions, and he is not gonna lose you a game. What are some of the traits for Justin Fields? Mobile guy, good decision maker, not gonna lose you a game. So Fields is a slightly stronger Ryan Tannehill. Where has Tannehill had his best success? Under Arthur Smith. See where I’m going here.
Arthur Smith was not prepared for a rebuild, but he now does not have a choice in the matter. The defense has looked like a revolving door of bodies the past 3 years with few upgrades. The offense has been good to great, but they are not getting any younger. Smith has a ton of work to do with this roster from top to bottom. He will need a quarterback in next years draft, but I dont know if this team will be bad enough to compete for a Spencer Rattler or Sam Howell.
This upcoming QB class is just as large, but does not have the cream at the top that this past years class did. To have Justin Fields sitting in their lap and chose to pass on him seems like a poor move five years down the road. Kyle Pitts is a phenomenal prospect, but it seemed to come at the sacrifice of the future. Good luck to the Falcons this year, but I believe they began this tenure with a questionable draft move.