With the 43rd pick in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons selected QB Sean Renfree out of Duke. The 6’3″, 220 lb gunslinger will likely compete with Dominique Davis for the position of Matt Ryan’s backup.
The most intriguing news to come of this selection is that Renfree is the first Duke player to be drafted since 2004 (Drew Strojny, NYG – 7th round). Left and right, we’re seeing more and more signs that Duke is beginning to develop legitimately talented players, NFL talent-level players, and that is exciting.
Okay, back to Renfree. The Falcons are currently without a reliable backup, with last year’s backup Luke McCown signing with the Saints on April 1st, which possibly leaves Renfree to compete with Dominique Davis, a 2012 UDFA, for the backup job. Obviously, Atlanta could add a veteran quarterback in the next couple of months, or they could, in all likelihood, bring in an UDFA to add to the competition.
Renfree brings to Atlanta a strong arm, great mechanics, and a college career full of wisdom from Dave Cutcliffe, who coached up both Peyton and Eli Manning when the brothers were in college. NFL.com has Derek Anderson as his NFL Comparison, and I feel that is about right. He will never put up ridiculous passing numbers, but he has all the potential to develop into a decent NFL quarterback.
Renfree will face virtually no pressure to develop quickly in Atlanta, due to the presence of franchise quarterback Matt Ryan, and this should prove very beneficial for the rookie. If everything goes to plan, he will receive three or more years to sit back and learn how to play at the NFL level before he either moves on to a different team or, in a very unlikely scenario, takes over for Matt Ryan.
The New York Giants GM said, upon drafting QB Ryan Nassib, that if he never plays, that ‘would be great’. I think it is safe to say the Falcons have the same approach with Renfree.