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The Atlanta Falcons are on the search for their future franchise quarterback and could find him amidst the 2022 NFL Draft class, according to general manager Terry Fontenot.
The Falcons’ GM addressed the media a day ahead of the draft day where he gave some insight (but not too much) on the team’s draft plans.
“We’re not going to give away what we’re going to do at eight or any other pick, but we could come out of this draft with a quarterback,” Fontenot said, via ESPN. “We want to add to that room and we’ll see what happens.”
This draft class has a handful of quarterbacks that the Falcons could choose from that they have done their homework on, including Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder, Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, UNC’s Sam Howell or Liberty’s Malik Willis.
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Rumors Say Falcons Are ‘High’ on Willis
The Falcons met with the Liberty product three times ahead of the draft, so if the source is correct, then it makes sense as to why Atlanta did such extensive homework on the projected top 10 QB.
As noted by Jensen, Willis and Terrell have a “strong relationship” and are both Georgia natives who attended Westlake high school in Atlanta.
After throwing for 2,562 passing yards in addition to logging 1,033 rushing yards as a senior in high school, Willis committed to Auburn. But with Jarrett Stidham ahead of him on the depth chart, Willis didn’t see the field much and decided to transfer to Liberty University after sitting out the 2019 season. The dual-threat QB recorded 5,107 passing yards, 1,822 rushing yards, 74 total touchdowns, and 18 interceptions in just two seasons with the Flames.
Willis is projected to go off the draft board in the top 10 with the Falcons picking at No. 8.
Macrus Mariota Is O.K. With Atlanta Drafting a QB
The Falcons, who lost Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts this offseason, signed Marcus Mariota to a two-year deal in March, but have not named him their starting quarterback for 2022.
This has led to even more speculations that the Falcons will draft a quarterback––and if that’s the case, then Mariota understands.
“If it’s not me, it’s okay too,” Mariota told Falcons’ top insider Steve Wyche. “I’ve been in this situation before. It’s a ‘control what I can control,’ mindset. I have no ego. I can be an ear and listen. Teams are going to do what they’re going to do. If they do draft someone, I’ll give as much advice and knowledge as I can. If not, I’m ready to roll.”
Mariota spent the last two years as a backup quarterback where he appeared in 11 games, 10 of them coming last season. He went 18-of-30 passing (60%) for 230 yards and a touchdown with one interception. He also added 175 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Whether he’s a backup or starter, Mariota just wants a permanent home in Atlanta.
“If things work out, hopefully, I’ll be here for the next few years,” Mariota said.
The Falcons have a lot of needs to address in this year’s draft and the quarterback is an obvious one, so don’t be surprised if they use their first-round pick on the future face of Atlanta.