A day after the New York Jets cleared the runway of any questions about their draft intentions with the No. 2 overall pick, the Atlanta Falcons are enjoying their newfound status as the critical point in the 2021 NFL draft. Atlanta’s gain has positive ripple effects for the Detroit Lions at the No. 7 overall pick, too.
The Falcons are already listening to trade calls from multiple teams for the No. 4 overall pick and “are open to moving” out of the slot, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter . The teams calling Atlanta and new GM Terry Fontenot are not specified.
The Lions could very well be one of the teams calling, though that is unknown at this point. Fontenot just took the Falcons gig after working for the New Orleans Saints for several years. That’s where Lions head coach Dan Campbell and other staffers also worked before coming to Detroit in this same offseason.
It’s an interesting development to watch for Detroit, which is the first team picking after Atlanta that could conceivably draft a quarterback. If the Falcons do trade back, the Lions then hold the catbird seat for the next quarterback. With the perceived wide dropoff between the fifth quarterback and the No. 6 in line, any team desperate to select a QB would have to deal with the Lions…or jump ahead of Detroit and push another top-shelf prospect at a different position down to the Lions.
About the only way Atlanta’s move could backfire on the Lions is if GM Brad Holmes really wants to address the QB position in this draft but fails to come away with the player he wants. The Falcons could take the fourth QB themselves as they prepare for football life after Matt Ryan, though the new regime in Atlanta has been quiet about its intentions. Holmes has kept his options wide open but also fairly secretive in his recent press conferences. He has been a visible presence at recent pro days for top QB prospects Trey Lance, Zach Wilson and Justin Fields. That trio, along with presumptive No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence and Alabama’s Mac Jones are the top five quarterbacks in the class.
For a deeper dive on the Lions draft developments from the last couple of days: