2021 NFL Draft: Will the Falcons Stick With Matt Ryan or Draft a Young Quarterback?

Published 04/18/2021, 6:42 PM EDT


The NFC South old boys Atlanta Falcons finished at the bottom of their division with a 4-12 record last year. Veteran quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 4,581 yards with 26 passing TDs against 11 interceptions. That was his 13th season in the NFL with the franchise.

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Ryan arrived in 2008 as the third overall pick, following which established himself as one of the most consistent quarterbacks of the last decade. He has thrown for 55,767 yards with 367 passing TDs and won the league MVP in 2016. But at 35, he’s entering the twilight of his career and could be the latest high-profile quarterback after Drew Brees to retire this decade.

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Will Matt Ryan start for the Atlanta Falcons in 2021?

While talking about the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft, ESPN analyst Todd McShay addressed the Matt Ryan conundrum in Atlanta. He suggested that the Falcons will definitely be in two minds with the prospect of drafting someone like Trey Lance or Justin Fields.

 

He said, “We know the first three picks are gonna be quarterbacks. We know it’s going to be Trevor Lawrence going to Jacksonville, we know the Jets are highly likely to take Zach Wilson, San Francisco didn’t move up for a guard or a linebacker they moved up for a quarterback. We don’t know if it’s Mac Jones from Alabama or if it’s Trey Lance from North Dakota State or Justin Fields from Ohio State.”

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“After the three then it gets interesting because for Atlanta, they still have Matt Ryan for the next couple years most likely, and they want to put a weapon around them. So do they take Kyle Pitts, a tight-end from Florida? Or do they say we’re not going to draft more? Let’s take advantage and get the quarterback for the next decade and take a Trey Lance or Justin Fields,” McShay said on the show.

Trey Lance will be their obvious choice (if still available at #4). He missed the 2020 NCAA season due to the COVID-19 crisis. However, he remains a first-round prospect after his heroics in 2019.

Lance threw for 2,786 yards with not a single interception all season. He further rushed for 1,100 yards. The Falcons reportedly view him as a long-term replacement for Ryan in Atlanta. But will they stick with the latter for at least another year before undergoing a full rebuild?

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Daniel Arambur

1683 articles

Daniel Arambur is an NFL writer and content strategist for EssentiallySports.With more than 1,000 articles, he is one of the senior writers in the NFL cohort at ES. A mass media graduate from the University of Mumbai, Daniel has found the perfect blend of vocation and passion in the sports content niche.

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