Nick Fitzgerald was one of the best young quarterbacks in the SEC when he stepped into the huge void left by Dak Prescott, and he could still be a successful NFL quarterback.
When Nick Fitzgerald finally got his shot after backing up legendary Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott, fans were excited to see what he could do. He put up some monster numbers in his sophomore season and had Bulldogs fans pumped up once again.
His production did fall off a little in his junior and senior seasons, although the stats were still very respectable. He set a school record being named the SEC Player of the Week six times during his career at Mississippi State.
Fitzgerald went undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft, eventually being signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and landing on their practice squad for most of the season, until being released in October.
He never saw a snap in a live NFL game and went on to sign with the XFL’s St. Louis BattleHawks in January. With the shutdown of that league due to the coronavirus pandemic, Fitzgerald is once again playing the waiting game.
Some NFL team needs to give him a shot, and Fitzgerald needs to play with the fire and intensity he had in 2016 for any team to want to keep him around.
Right now, the NFL is quarterback-starved. There are a lot of aging starters (legendary ones even) who are getting ready to hang up the cleats. Teams like the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are moving on from their former starters like Cam Newton and Jameis Winston.
Young quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Kyler Murray are showing the league that athletic gunslingers who are students of the game are going to be what teams want, and Nick Fitzgerald fits that bill perfectly.
What NFL team would be a good fit for Nick Fitzgerald?
There are a number of teams who would benefit by at least giving Fitgerald a shot and seeing what he can bring to shake things up, but one team, in particular, may be a great place for him to play.
The Atlanta Falcons are going to be looking for a project quarterback to possibly take over the team from Matt Ryan, who is entering his 13th year in the league. Getting a guy like Fitzgerald on the cheap who they can coach-up and mold into what they want while Ryan still has a few years left in his arm would be beneficial.
Ryan is the prototypical pocket passer, and he’s amassed just about every possible team record there is at quarterback for the Falcons. That said, Atlanta may do well to move with the times and find themselves a quarterback who is mobile, unpredictable, and who has youth on his side.
Enter Nick Fitzgerald.
Falcons head coach Dan Quinn isn’t unfamiliar with the idea of bringing in a young, mobile quarterback and seeing what happens. He was the defensive coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks when a young Russell Wilson came to town and everyone expected him to be a backup at best.
Make no mistake, there’s no comparing Wilson and Fitzgerald right now, but who’s to say there couldn’t be at some point down the road?
Fitzgerald cold bring some fire and excitement to an Atlanta offense that has, truthfully, gotten rather stale. With seasoned and top-line receivers such as Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Laquon Treadwell there to help him along, it would be a great fit.
Fitzgerald can play, that’s been seen. But does he have what it takes to bring his game up to an NFL level? He needs another shot and some encouragement in a tight-knit team environment. A place like Atlanta could give him both.