2016 Draft Needs: Quarterback Is a Luxury Pick For Falcons

Brett Davis-USA TODAY SportsSean Renfree

The Atlanta Falcons already have four quarterbacks on their roster, making the potential addition of another in the draft highly unlikely.

But the team has shown considerably more interest in a couple of draft-eligible passers this spring than a team that is expected to stand pat normally would. That opens the door to the possibility that the Falcons are looking for more options to compete for reserve roles behind starter Matt Ryan this summer.

The team already brought in veteran passer Matt Schaub this offseason, who is expected to handle the backup duties behind Ryan. The team has kept just two quarterbacks on their active roster in two of the past three regular seasons, making it far from a given that a third passer will be retained in 2016.

While both Sean Renfree and Matt Simms remain practice-squad eligible heading into 2016, the team’s interest in draft prospects suggests they could be looking for another arm to compete with the pair during spring and summer minicamps. So there’s a chance that a rookie could push either player off the roster ahead of training camp should his play merit it.

That scenario is very unlikely to involve the Falcons using a draft pick, given their limited number heading into the 2016 draft. Selecting a quarterback to compete for the third quarterback spot on the depth chart, a role that is not guaranteed to exist on the team’s 53-man roster this year, is the very definition of a “luxury” pick.

However, it would not be a complete surprise if the Falcons added another quarterback in undrafted free agency. Such a move would be clearly a shot across the bow of Renfree in particular, given that both Schaub and Simms were added by the current regime. Renfree is a holdover from the previous staff.

As offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan attempts to remake the offense in his own image, it could prompt the team to add another young quarterback into the mix that is “his guy” that the team might want to develop long-term as a reserve.

But it’s worth noting that undrafted players get to choose their teams rather than vice versa. Given the already cluttered depth chart in Atlanta, it doesn’t seem likely to attract many strong candidates that would be instantly seen as upgrades over either Renfree or Simms.

Although it’s not a given, but the right undrafted talent opting to come to Atlanta for a chance to compete for a spot could potentially call for a depth shake up this summer. At the very least it signals that the quarterback depth is in flux heading into training camp even if a single player isn’t added to the roster before then.

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Aaron Freeman
Founder of FalcFans.com