Publish date:

NFL Mock Draft 2022: Falcons Steal Matt Ryan QB Successor

In the latest USA Today Mock Draft, the Atlanta Falcons finally add the successor to Matt Ryan with a draft day steal

When on the clock at No. 4 in the recent NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons had two options: best player available or a quarterback of the future. Ultimately, they went with tight end Kyle Pitts out of Florida to help in the passing game. 

READ MORE: Atlanta Falcons Rookie TE Kyle Pitts: Wave of The NFL Future

That sort of option will likely no longer will the case, as with 2022 NFL mock drafts in full swing, QB figures to be on the Falcons' wish list. Matt Ryan, 36, still seems to be the guy for the short-term, but a new front office will always want to bring in its own gunslinger. With that in mind, it comes at no surprise most 2022 mocks have a quarterback coming to Atlanta.

For USA Today's Luke Easterling latest mock draft, consider it a blessing they added Pitts in 2021. For 2022, they'll be selecting North Carolina's Sam Howell with the No. 7 pick. 

Howell, a two-year starter for the Tar Heels, is considered by some to be the safest quarterback prospect entering the 2021 season. That will happen when you post numbers like he has at Chapel Hill during that span. 

As freshman for Mack Brown, he lit up the ACC with 3,641 passing yards and 38 touchdowns against seven interceptions. The 2020 season wasn't a stacked, but the rising junior still threw for 3,586 yards and 30 touchdowns with the same amount of turnovers. 

The question will be how Howell responds in Year 3 without his go-to weapons. Both star wide receivers Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome were drafted last April, as were running backs Javonte Williams and Michael Carter. 

Recommended Articles

usatsi_11499274
Play

LISTEN: Can Falcons Get First Win This Week?

Locked On Falcons: Falcons vs. Giants Crossover Week 3 Preview with Locked On Giants

Anthony Rush Atlanta Falcons
Play

Falcons Sign Mountain of a Man for DL

The Atlanta Falcons were lacking in size on the defensive line. They've addressed that issue with their latest signing.

Dean Pees Atlanta Falcons
Play

Can the Falcons Stop a Mobile QB like Daniel Jones?

The Eagles' Jalen Hurts shredded the Falcons defense. Can Atlanta rebound against the Giants' Daniel Jones?

If the 2020 Orange Bowl is a glimpse of what could be, Falcons' fans should be giddy with the chance to draft a high-end talent like Howell. Against Texas A&M, he threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns, connecting with new lead target Josh Downs four times to for two scores. 

In Round 2, Easterling has the Falcons selecting pass-rusher Merlin Robertson from Arizona State. As the team looks to attack the quarterback more, Robertson could be an intriguing name after recording 15 sacks in 28 games with the Sun Devils. 

Last season, Atlanta finished 24th in pass-rush, recording a mere 29 sacks on the campaign. 

READ MORE: Dan Quinn: Troy Aikman & Michael Irvin Reveal Thoughts On Change

For now, the two biggest needs feel to be wide receiver and pass-rushing help entering another season. Depending on Ryan's production without Julio Jones, adding another quarterback could be another. 

Howell finding himself in Atlanta could be a win-win for both sides. Several scouts consider his game to be similar to Browns' starter Baker Mayfield. Could coach Arthur Smith find success with a quarterback such as that? 

If the time to move off Ryan is approaching, building a franchise around Howell and Pitts might be what keeps the Falcons in contention for years to come. 

READ MORE: 'Face of The Falcons': Who in Atlanta Replaces the Julio Image?