The Falcons have acknowledged that they were in Calvin Ridley trade talks that could have landed a first-round pick. But they had to withdraw after hearing from the league Feb. 9 that Ridley was gambling on games.
“Obviously, we were very transparent with everything throughout the season with the way everything played out,” Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot said. “We did our best to be supportive of him and his family, and then we get into the offseason, and it was a surprise to all of us when we, on Feb. 9, got the call from the league and (they) told us that there was an investigation (for gambling).”
Some have contended the Falcons were in talks with the Eagles, who have three first-round picks and need wide receivers. The Eagles hold the 15th, 16th and 19th picks in the upcoming draft.
“We were talking to other teams and having some discussions,” Fontenot said. “When we got that call, we had to take a step back.”
After trading Matt Ryan to the Colts for a third-round pick, the Falcons now have nine picks in the upcoming draft.
They also picked up a second-round pick in the Julio Jones trade and earned a sixth-round compensatory pick from the league office for losing Alex Mack in free agency last season. They traded their seventh-round pick to Buffalo in the deal for Lee Smith.
Overall, the Falcons have five picks in the top 100:
Round 1: Pick No. 8 overall
Round 2: Pick No. 43 overall
Round 2: Pick No. 58 overall (from the Titans)
Round 3: Pick No. 74 overall
Round 3: Pick No. 82 overall (from the Colts)
Round 4: Pick No. 114 overall
Round 5: Pick No. 151 overall
Round 6: Pick No. 190 overall
Round 6: Pick No. 213 overall (compensatory)
The Falcons have heavily scouted the quarterbacks but look for them to pass on this group.
Falcons coach Arthur Smith was asked if the Cincinnati Bengals were an inspiration with their quick turnaround last season by our good buddy Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com.
Smith started discussing their weapons in quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. The Falcons will look to add weapons in this draft and will have a shot at Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson, who is 6-foot and 183 pounds.
Wilson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds and has elite run-after-catch ability.
The Falcons also have enough capital to move either up or down in the draft.
“We certainly want to have picks that allows you to be flexible depending on the situation at hand,” Fontenot said. “Where we’re at right now, the other narrative about, ‘Oh, play the comp game,’ well, we’ve got to fill out a roster, so a lot of these guys we’ve added like Lorenzo Carter – who’s going to be good – where he’s at age-wise and career as we keep building this.”
Smith doesn’t plan to be fooled by the Pro Day workouts of the quarterbacks.
“It’s just part of it,” Smith said. “I don’t think a Pro Day is going to make or break. It’s part of the evaluation process. Certainly, you’ve got to take into account that it’s not real.
“They are throwing on air and off a script. It’s part of the process, and you get to know the player. You get to talk to people around the program. All of that stuff helps. We still have a month to go.”
Look for the Falcons to add a weapon to the offense in the first round.
Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC
Falcons coach Arthur Smith discusses recent roster changes, attending Pro Day gatherings while meeting the media Tuesday at the NFL owners meeting.
Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC
So, here are the picks for the Mock Draft 2.0 (no trades allowed):
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
- Detroit Lions – Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
- Houston Texans – Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
- New York Jets – Jermaine Johnson, DE, Florida State
- New York Giants – Ikem Ekwonu, OT, N.C. State
- Carolina Panthers – Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
- New York Giants (from Chicago) – Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
- Falcons – Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
- Seattle Seahawks (from Denver) – Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
- New York Jets (from Seattle) – Kyle Hamilton, FS, Notre Dame
- Washington Commanders – Drake London, WR, USC
- Minnesota Vikings – Travon Walker, DE, Georgia
- Houston Texans (from Cleveland) – Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
- Baltimore Ravens – George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
- Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami) – Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
- Philadelphia Eagles (from Indianapolis) – Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
- Los Angeles Chargers – Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia
- New Orleans Saints – Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
- Philadelphia Eagles – Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Trevor Penning, OL, Northern Iowa
- New England Patriots – Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson
- Green Bay Packers (from Las Vegas) – Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
- Arizona Cardinals – Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
- Dallas Cowboys – Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M
- Buffalo Bills – Logan Hall, DT, Houston
- Tennessee Titans – Zion Johnson, G, Boston College
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Derek Stingley, CB, LSU
- Green Bay Packers – Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
- Kansas City Chiefs (from San Francisco through Miami) – Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
- Kansas City Chiefs – Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
- Cincinnati Bengals – Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
- Detroit Lions (from Los Angeles Rams) – Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
On the fringe: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida; Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati; Christian Harris, LB, Alabama; and Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson.
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