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NFL: Falcons GM adds to No. 4 pick mystery

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If the Atlanta Falcons know what direction they are headed with the No. 4 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday, they are not about to show their hand.

Offense? Defense? Trade?

All options are being considered, Falcons first-year general manager Terry Fontenot said.

Without a draft-day track record, trying to predict the route Fontenot will go has been a difficult task. He came to the Falcons in January after 17 years with the New Orleans Saints where he went from scout to director of pro scouting into his 2020 role of assistant general manager.

“We’ve gone through the different things that can happen,” Fontenot said Wednesday. “But you never know what is going to happen at that exact moment, but we know the players that we’re talking about.”

Fontenot said he is fairly confident how the first three picks in the draft will go. But he isn’t making it easy to predict pick No. 4.

” … Do we trade back compared to the player we could get at 4, or if we trade back, what would be the value?” he said. “So we have to weigh all those different variables and all those scenarios so we know the players that we’re talking about.”

With longtime quarterback Matt Ryan turning 36 next month and heading into his 14th season, the Falcons are interested in selecting a new face of the franchise soon. Quarterback options like Ohio State’s Justin Fields and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance have been speculated as options Thursday.

But a 4-12 record last season and a last-place finish in the NFC South shows that multiple areas of the roster are in need of improvement.

“When you’re picking at 4, we’re trying to take an impact player,” Fontenot said. “Whether it’s a player that’s going to sit or a player that’s going to play right away, we want to bring in an impact player that fits the culture, that has the right makeup and that we have clear vision for that player.”

A quality quarterback is as impactful as it gets, but the Falcons might decide they aren’t in position to wait for a new signal caller to take over.

“We understand we have to add quarterbacks to the roster,” Fontenot said. “And there’s a lot of good ones and a lot of good options.”

–Field Level Media

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