Going into his age-37 season, Matt Ryan is still on track to be the Falcons’ starting quarterback. The team passed on Justin Fields and Mac Jones last year, however, leaving the 14-year starter without an heir apparent.
The Falcons took a risk by passing on prospects in a better QB draft compared to the upcoming group. They do hold the No. 8 overall pick in this year’s draft. That might be sufficient real estate to nab the top 2022 passing prospect, though it remains murky on who exactly that is going into the Combine, and Arthur Blank indicated the team needs to be prepared to grab Ryan’s eventual successor.
“Our fans should look for a succession plan,” Blank said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “And I think that’s not improper. It doesn’t show a lack of confidence in Matt, but, you know, I mean, Father Time will get to all of us.”
No draft has commenced without a quarterback going in the top five since 2013, when only E.J. Manuel went in Round 1. Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett and Matt Corral rank as first-round-level prospects, per ESPN’s Scouts Inc., which slots each as top-30 prospects but none as top-15-level talents. Quarterback demand will naturally push one or two near or into the top 10 this year, with the QB trade market certain to affect how some teams approach the upcoming rookie crop.
The Panthers have been linked to Pickett at No. 6, but the Falcons’ NFC South rivals remain interested in Deshaun Watson. Trading for Watson will remove Carolina from first-round considerations at any position for the foreseeable future. And, unless the Lions are keen on reaching for one of these QBs at No. 2, the Falcons could have a clear runway at quarterback. QB-needy teams will surely explore scenarios about trading in front of Atlanta as well.
Ryan’s presence could lead Atlanta to wait another year, but the team is picking in the top 10 for just the second time in the past 14 drafts. Ryan’s contract, which calls for an NFL-record $48.7MM cap number this year, runs through the 2023 season.
12 comments on “Falcons Eyeing Matt Ryan Succession Plan”
Falcons have a shot at division title this year going with Ryan at QB. They need to improve at both oline, dline and add WR and RB weapons. Far better QB class planned for 23 draft…
So basically they need to improve their entire team….
To be fair, that’s pretty much that entire division now.
The team that decided Billy Joe Tolliver had more potential than Brett Favre will undoubtedly do an awesome job of finding an heir for Matt Ryan.
That was 30 years ago…
I just think it isn’t the year for an heir apparent. Not in round 1. Too many guys are not graded well in terms of their floor.
If they are looking the earliest should be in round 3 and honestly at that point, you’re gambling just as well. Draft a guy that high this year or wait until next year where people know the prospect floor is significantly higher and build the future of the team this season? It doesn’t make sense to draft a guy this year.
Just because there aren’t any knockout quarterbacks available this year doesn’t mean that last year’s class was impressive. Only one rookie QB from that class feels assuredly safe this next year as a starter-Mac Jones-and the next closest was not even a Day One pick in Davis Mills. Most importantly-and I cannot stress this enough-there’s no telling that either one of those guys would end up any better in another spot. There’s no guarantee that they would have had the same success anywhere else, including Atlanta.
They may as well roll with Ryan. It’s not like the Falcons are completely set at all of their other positions. Another year of plugging holes will only deliver a better team to whomever Atlanta does end up using as a Ryan successor.
I think fans in Atlanta are fed up with Arthur Blanks rhetoric and unwilling to endure another 56 years of hole plugging. They’ve watched the Braves get their act together and win a MLB championship and now they are impatient to see some significant effort from the Falcons to compete for a title.
Blank to me doesn’t seem like the problem, but that’s just me. There have been a series of under achieving coaches in Atlanta, and only time will tell if Arthur Smith will get over that hump that has held back his predecessors.
It would be frustrating though to see the career of an elite level quarterback like Matt Ryan end without s championship if I were a Falcons fan, that much I can say. It would be highly beneficial for a new rookie to get to see Ryan’s habits as a player thoug, so it would behoove Atlanta to find someone soon. That may not be this year, but time on Ryan’s effectiveness will likely run out sooner rather than later.
Just make sure you don’t let Ryan Pace draft the next QB. Or it will be a total fail.
The answer for that is to draft o-line, receiver, a lot of defense (in both this and next year) and take the best QB on the board first round 2023.
Should’ve started this a while ago