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The Falcons have the No. 4 overall pick in this month’s draft, but with the top three picks essentially decided already, all eyes are on Atlanta. Will the team draft its next franchise quarterback, or trade back to add additional picks?
ESPN’s Mel Kiper released a new two-round mock draft which has the Falcons both trading back and landing a quarterback. Following a projected trade with the Miami Dolphins, Atlanta moves down two spots and selects North Dakota State QB Trey Lance.
“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. 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 Jr. (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’s upside is off the charts. He has a strong arm, good accuracy and is exceptionally mobile within the pocket. The downside, as Kiper noted, is his lack of starting experience (17 starts). However, Atlanta was in attendance at Lance’s pro day and there is believed to be serious interest there.
In the second round of Kiper’s mock (pick No. 35 overall), he has the Falcons drafting Miami’s pass-rushing specialist, 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. 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.”
We profiled Rousseau a few weeks ago, and although he’s easily one of the draft’s most talented pass rushers, Atlanta’s new defensive scheme may not be an ideal fit for the former Miami star. Rousseau’s skill set is probably better suited for a true 4-3 defense, although his overall talent level could make him too good for the Falcons to pass up.
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