1. By drafting Ryan, the Falcons are falling back into the exact same trap they faced with Mike Vick. With Vick, the Falcons faced the problem that they had committed a huge amount of money, including an enormous signing bonus, to a player who produced decent, but not outstanding results. The team was paying Vick to be Brady or Manning, but he was far short of that level. The Falcons could only win with Vick if they surrounded him with great talent, but Vick's cap number, combined with less than stellar drafting from Rich McKay, prevented that possibility.
With Ryan, the Falcons are going to pay an arm and a leg for a quarterback who will almost certainly not produce initially (rookie quarterbacks so rarely do) and whose upside is almost certainly not Brady/Peyton Manning and very likely isn't Roethlisberger/Eli Manning. Even if Ryan turns into a pretty good quarterback, he's going to be paid like a star, which means the Falcons are right back at square one. And that analysis ignores the opportunity cost involved with passing on an excellent defensive tackle to take a decent quarterback.
2. Ryan is not coming into a good situation with the Falcons. Leaving aside the mediocre receiving corps and substandard offensive line, Falcons fans are not happy with the drafting of Ryan. Speaking in broad stereotypes (always a recipe for disaster), the Falcons' fan base is primarily composed of two groups. The first group are African-Americans, some of whom still like Mike Vick and most of whom are well aware of the racial coding that goes on when the media slobbers all over Ryan for being a "leader" and "polished." They aren't going to be overly excited for a great white hope, given the circumstances. The second group are college football fanatics who view Falcons games as dessert after the main course on Saturday. (I would put myself in this group. I would also assert that there isn't tremendous overlap between group one and group two because college football unfortunately tends to be a white sport, especially in the South. I digress.) Southern college football fans, almost universally, view Ryan as an average college quarterback who has been hyped beyond his merits because he played in the Northeast. This group is also not happy with the Ryan selection.
Whereas most top five picks are greeted with unabashed, oft-irrational enthusiasm by the fans of the teams that draft them, Ryan is not going to get the same love in Atlanta. Atlanta fans tend to be a lot more positive and forgiving than, say, Philly fans, but the particulars of Ryan's drafting mean that he is going face an especially empathetic fan base. This is why the purported rationale of the Falcons to take Ryan for marketing purposes is so weak. I am promising myself that I am going to root for Ryan, even if his success will mean that I will be spectacularly wrong about the decision to pick him, but my leash will be short. OK, that's a bad choice of words when discussing a Falcons QB.
3. Steak Shapiro was, as one could expect, insufferable this morning when discussing the Ryan pick. He was totally dismissive of the idea that Arthur Blank had anything to do with the selection, even while admitting that Blank wanted the Falcons to take Ryan. Gee, if the managing partner of my firm didn't order me to take a particular course in a case, but expressed an opinion that I should do something, do you think I might do it? Steak then naturally started his defense of the Ryan selection with the subjective analysis that most support of Ryan takes. He cited his "leadership," as if players are going to follow a young quarterback if that quarterback doesn't produce on the field. For the cherry on top of the sundae, Steak was mortified when a caller compared the pick to David Carr and pointed out that Ryan just wasn't that good in college. His two defenses:
a. Ryan's 67% completion percentage. For the record, Steak, Ryan completed 59.3% of his passes last year, not that it's your job to know about sports or anything. Maybe you picked the wrong name for the bar your station partnered.
b. Ryan played well against Georgia Tech. So did Sean Glennon (22/32, 296 yards, 9.3yards per attempt, 2 TDs, no picks) and I'm not going out on a limb by saying that Glennon isn't going to be a top five pick in the Draft any time soon. Ryan was poor for 115 of the 120 minutes he played against Virginia Tech and just about the entire game against Florida State. I would say that he ran up his numbers against bad teams, but he was mediocre against N.C. State and UMass. I guess BC's receivers must have been so bad that they couldn't get open against the Minutemen.