What does Arthur Blank want the Falcons to do at No. 4?
As the football-following world continues to wonder what the Atlanta Falcons will do with the fourth pick in the draft, it’s fair to wonder what the guy who owns the team wants them to do with the fourth pick in the draft.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who has owned the team for nearly 20 years, surely has a preference. Even more surely, he’ll find a way to make it known.
Consider this nugget from Peter King’s Football Morning in America: “Owner Arthur Blank is fascinated by the quarterbacks atop the draft, thinking the franchise might not be in such an advantageous position to take one for years. But Blank will not force a decision — of that I am sure. He hired G.M. Terry Fontenot and coach Arthur Smith and won’t big-foot them on their first big call.”
King is right. Blank won’t tell them what to do. One of the benefits of being a billionaire is never having to tell them what to do.
There’s a subtlety, a nuance. An art. And Arthur Blank knows how to properly use that particular paintbrush.
Thirteen years ago, for example, the Falcons were torn between taking quarterback Matt Ryan and defensive linemen Glenn Dorsey with the third overall pick in the first post-Mike Vick draft. (Dorsey went No. 5 overall, to the Chiefs.) Blank wanted a new face of the franchise in Ryan. As we heard it then and now, Blank’s preference definitely became a factor in resolving the dilemma.
So unless Fontenot and Smith are dead set on a non-quarterback at No. 4, Blank’s fascination could cause him to do what he did in 2008. Make his views known, without making a direct order.
Another possibility, as discussed on Monday’s PFT Live, would entail the Falcons trading down a few spots to give someone the chance to jump the Bengals for, say, Penei Sewell and then seeing how the board plays out. If Lance is still there, take him. If not, pivot to someone else.
However it plays out, the draft in many ways begins with the Falcons at No. 4, since we know it will be quarterback, quarterback, and quarterback at picks No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3.