Entering the draft, which is set for April 29-May 1, in Cleveland, Fields, BYU’s Zach Wilson and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance are rated behind Lawrence.
I have the Falcons picking Fields because Wilson reminds me of Mitchell Trubisky in part because he couldn’t beat Coastal Carolina. If he was this transcendent talent that we keep hearing about, he would have willed BYU to victory over the Chanticleers.
We’re also going to hear about Wilson’s shoulder injuries that date to high school.
Lance comes from the same university that gave us Carson Wentz, who was traded to the Colts on Thursday. However, Lance does have a big arm, and some believe he’s the next Josh Allen. So, he’s intriguing, but not worthy of the No. 4 overall pick.
Of course, I loved Allen when he came out and thought the Browns would select him No. 1 overall, but they went with Baker Mayfield.
Our good friend Ray Glier, a longtime respected Atlanta freelance writer, in his newsletter “Ball Atlanta: Sports Reporting by Ray Glier” forwarded the notion that the Falcons should select Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell.
Given the team’s problems in the trenches, Sewell makes excellent sense. However, we have him going to the Dolphins at No. 3.
So, why will the Falcons draft a quarterback when they have so many other pressing needs, which include improving the offensive line, finding a pass rush, getting a running back and finding some secondary help?
That’s a fair question. The best move may be to trade back and amass picks to address some of the many needs.
However, one thing from the Pro Football Hall of Fame news conference with Peyton Manning has stuck in my brain. Manning was with the Colts for 14 seasons and went to two Super Bowls, winning one. He finished his career playing four seasons with the Broncos.
After 14 seasons, the Colts felt it was time to move on from the future Hall of Famer.
Matt Ryan is set to enter his 14th season with the Falcons and has shown no signs of slowing. He probably could play for four more, like Manning.
But the Falcons have to look to the future, and if they don’t plan to be up in the top 10, taking a talent like Fields and have him work with Ryan for a season or two would not be a bad plan and would ignite the slumbering fan base.
The Falcons have had only had two winning seasons over the past eight. That’s 25 percent.
Drafting Fields would send the message that are serious about building a team that can win yearly and not have only an occasional good season.
“Sustained winning” has been one of their offseason “talking points.” Now, it’s time to put some action behind those words and draft Fields, the best player available.
Here are the picks:
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)
2. New York Jets: Ja’Marr Chase (WR, LSU)
3. Miami Dolphins: Penei Sewell (OT, Oregon)
4. Falcons: Justin Fields (QB, Ohio State)
5. Cincinnati Bengals: DeVonta Smith (WR, Alabama)
6. Philadelphia Eagles: Zach Wilson (QB, BYU)
7. Detroit Lions: Jaylen Waddle (WR, Alabama)
8. Carolina Panthers: Trey Lance (QB, North Dakota State)
9. Denver Broncos: Caleb Farley (CB, Virginia Tech)
10. Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain (CB, Alabama)
11. New York Giants: Micah Parsons (LB, Penn State)
12. San Francisco 49ers: Rashawn Slater (OT, Northwestern)
13. Los Angeles Chargers: Christian Darrisaw (OT, Virginia Tech)
14. Minnesota Vikings: Gregory Rousseau (DE, Miami)
15. New England Patriots: Jaycee Horn (CB, South Carolina)
16. Arizona Cardinals: Kyle Pitts (TE, Florida)
17. Las Vegas Raiders: Kwity Paye (DE/LB, Michigan)
18. Miami Dolphins: Najee Harris (RB, Alabama)
19. Washington: Mac Jones (QB, Alabama)
20. Chicago Bears: Kadarius Toney (WR, Florida)
21. Indianapolis Colts: Greg Newsome (CB, Northwestern)
22. Tennessee Titans: Jaelan Phillips (DE/LB, Miami)
23. New York Jets: Ronnie Perkins (DE/LB, Oklahoma)
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Travis Etienne (RB, Clemson)
25. Jacksonville Jaguars: Tylan Wallace (WR, Oklahoma State)
26. Cleveland Browns: Aaron Robinson (CB, Central Florida)
27: Baltimore Ravens: Creed Humphrey (C, Oklahoma)
28: New Orleans Saints: Trevon Moehrig (S, TCU)
29: Green Bay Packers: Asante Samuel (CB, Florida State)
30: Buffalo Bills: Alex Leatherwood (OT, Alabama)
31: Kansas City Chiefs: Zaven Collins (LB, Tulsa)
32: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Azeez Ojulari (DE, Georgia)
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