Could the Atlanta Falcons get their ‘quarterback of the future’ in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft? The staff of Fan Nation’s NFL Draft site believes it’s possible.
After Week 1 of the college football season, the staff had the Falcons trading into the No. 4 selection to take Nevada quarterback Carson Strong. Per the staff:
The first predicted trade of this mock sees Atlanta look to secure Matt Ryan's heir. While the Falcons restructured Ryan's contract, they wisely inserted an out in 2022, saving them money. Picking Strong here could be viewed as a reach for most teams, but the Falcons provide Strong enough to succeed. He has young weapons in Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts and, most importantly, an offensive scheme that is helpful to his skill set and can help him shine. Work your magic, Arthur Smith, and this pick will pay dividends.
Strong is coming off a 2020 in which he was named Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year and to the All-Mountain West First Team. He was also selected to the Davey O'Brien Award Quarterback Class of 2020. He led the MWC in passing yards (2,858), passing touchdowns (27) and completion percentage (70.1).
Strong is coming off a season opener in which he threw 312 yards and two touchdowns, along with an interception, in the Wolfpack’s 22-17 win over California.
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The Falcons restructured Ryan’s contract in March. The Falcons converted $23 million of his base salary into just $2 million in base salary and the rest as a bonus so it could be spread out over the next three seasons. Ryan’s contract ends after the 2023 season.
The Falcons selected Ryan in the first round in 2008. The Falcons have selected just one quarterback since then, Duke’s Sean Renfree in 2013.
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You can reach Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.