The Atlanta Falcons, holding the No. 4 overall selection in the first round of the coming NFL Draft, have indeed been taking phone calls from other teams inquiring about trading up to that spot, The Miami Herald has confirmed.
And of the relatively small number of teams calling the Falcons, at least one does not need to draft a quarterback, per a league source.
That has repercussions for the Miami Dolphins.
First it must be said the Falcons are taking calls — and welcoming more — to get a full understanding of what is available to them before they make a final club decision on which direction to proceed.
So the Falcons might draft at No. 4.
The Falcons might trade down to a team wanting to select a quarterback.
The Falcons might trade down to a team wanting to select a nonquarterback.
That means there is good news and bad news possibilities for the Dolphins.
First the good news: The Falcons might indeed sell their draft spot to a team who wants to draft a quarterback, and that would obviously give the Dolphins, drafting No. 6, the choice of at least two high-valued playmaker prospects at their current slot.
Most draft analysts believe the Dolphins value LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, Florida tight end Kyle Pitts and Alabama’s DeVonta Smith, with Smith perhaps being the third of the three choices.
(There is, one supposes, a chance the Dolphins believe Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle is a better prospect than Smith, too.)
So if quarterbacks are selected Nos. 1-4 and the Cincinnati Bengals, who do not need a quarterback, select a nonquarterback player, the Dolphins will be in the position to get their second-highest-graded playmaker at worst.
Now the bad news:
The fact the Falcons are shopping their pick says they’re not at all sold on drafting a quarterback at No. 4.
Yes, starter Matt Ryan is 35 years old and the Falcons don’t think they will be picking as high as No. 4 again anytime soon. But having the fourth-best quarterback choice of this draft might not appeal to the Falcons when they can potentially pick the best nonquarterback choice of the draft.
Bottom line: It’s a mistake to pencil in the Falcons for a quarterback if they stay at No. 4. They could easily pick Pitts, Chase, or even Oregon left tackle Penei Sewell or some other left tackle.
More bad news?
The Falcons could decide dealing the pick maximizes their ability to best improve from this draft. But their choice of which team they select as a trade partner is now also open to at least one team that doesn’t seem to be in need of a quarterback.
So it is a mistake to pencil in a quarterback going No. 4 under all circumstances.
And if a nonquarterback goes at No. 4 and another nonquarterback goes at No. 5 to the Bengals, the Dolphins could find themselves picking the perceived third-best playmaker prospect.
That uncomfortable scenario obviously is, for example, Pitts selected No. 4 and Chase selected No. 5.
That would leave the Dolphins, drafting sixth, looking at Smith, Waddle or Sewell. The record must be corrected here, by the way, because Dolphins coach Brian Flores did not attend the Oregon Pro Day last week as earlier reported.
A possible solution for the Dolphins to avoid all this concern and speculation?
Call the Falcons. Ask what their price of moving from No. 6 to No. 4 might be.
On the draft trade value chart the difference between the two spots is 200 points. That’s a mid-third-round pick. The Dolphins have the No. 82 pick (mid-third round) in the coming draft.
Is that optimal for Miami, especially if it finds itself giving up a 2021 draft asset? No.
But might it be worth the effort to avoid the so-called uncomfortable scenario of not getting either Chase or Pitts?
That’s up to the Dolphins.