The mock drafts are winding down as the 2021 NFL Draft is right around the corner so we will take them all in as they keep coming.
Well respected NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released a new two-round mock draft that has the Atlanta Falcons trading back from No. 4 overall in round one but still looking at a quarterback. In round two, the Falcons address their pass-rushing needs at No. 35.
Kiper has the Miami Dolphins, who already made a blockbuster move back with the San Francisco 49ers from No. 3 to No. 6, trading back to the top 5 in a move with the Falcons. Talk about a whirlwind.
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Kiper Has Falcons Drafting Trey Lance With Trade
The quarterback that Kiper has the Falcons turning to is North Dakota State’s, Trey Lance. He figures Lance will sit behind Ryan for at least year before making his debut. He backs up Lance’s lack of experience with current NFL quarterbacks who entered the league coming off limited starts but became starters.
“So new general manager Terry Fontenot and coach Arthur Smith move down two spots, add extra assets for a rebuilding team and still get a franchise quarterback,” Kiper said. “The 20-year-old Lance is green — he started just 17 games in college, all against FCS competition. The Falcons can let him sit behind Matt Ryan for at least a season. And here’s a list Lance will join (courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information): Since the 2006 draft, six quarterbacks with fewer than 20 college starts have been taken in the first round: Mitchell Trubisky (13), Cam Newton (14), Dwayne Haskins (14), Mark Sanchez (16), Kyler Murray (17) and Ryan Tannehill (19). There is some risk involved in picking a young, unproven quarterback this high.”
Lance, 20, started just one season at NDSU and last year’s season was moved to the spring due to COVID-19. This leaves teams feeling a bit uneasy about taking the risk on a rookie signal-caller who missed out on playing another season to get more starting experience.
However, in the 18 starts he did see, Lance completed 193 passes for 2,798 yards and 28 touchdowns. He also added 1,110 yards on the ground in 169 attempts with 16 touchdowns.
The Falcons currently have nine draft picks this year and adding more with a trade back could help their vision of re-building, but it will still take risking a No. 4 pick. Also, Matt Ryan is set to be the Falcons starter at least until 2023, so is it worth picking up a quarterback that high right now? It’s a lot to think about.
But, let’s turn to round two.
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Falcons Draft a Pass Rushed in Round Two
While quarterback isn’t a dying need for the Falcons, adding another defensive end is.
In round two at No. 35 overall, Kiper has the Falcons taking Miami defensive end Gregory Rousseau.
“The 6-foot-7 Rousseau had 15.5 sacks in 2019 before opting out of last season, but he’s a tough evaluation,” Kiper said. “He doesn’t have elite athletic traits, and that showed up on the film. The Falcons could use some edge-rushing help, though. I also thought about tight end and safety here.”
This move is smart because the draft isn’t stacked with quality pash rushers this year, so the Falcons will have to act fast on that need.