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Our review of Mel Kiper’s 2021 Falcons mock draft 4.0

With tons of speculation now surrounding what the Falcons will do with the 4th pick, Mel Kiper’s Falcons mock draft 4.0 offered a unique take. While the debate has remained focused on whether or not Atlanta should remain put and draft Kyle Pitts or if they should trade back with a QB-needy team, Kiper another outcome. He projects that the Falcons will trade back to the 6th spot with the Miami Dolphins. 

The Dolphins trade up, not for Lance or Fields, but instead for Kyle Pitts. Atlanta trades back only two spots and get 2nd and 3rd round picks in 2022 for compensation. This satisfies one of the glaring facts regarding a possible team trading up to the 4th spot for a QB; the teams that need a QB would have to trade way too far to get to the 4th pick. The lone exception to that now is the Denver Broncos with the 9th pick, but all seems quiet in terms of them making the jump up. New England at 15, Washington at 19, and Chicago at 20 don’t really have the draft capital to entice the Falcons to make such a drastic move back. 

After trading back with the Dolphins, Kiper then projects the Falcons to select QB Trey Lance with the 6thoverall pick. 

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This is not what we projected, but this is the only QB option that would make sense given their restructuring of Matt Ryan’s contract as we discussed in more detail here. We think that the Falcons will take Pitts at 4 and gear up for a final two year run with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones on their team. However, if they thought that they would not be in this position in the draft again, Trey Lance would make the most sense. It’s a given that due to the non-elite competition, the few number of starts, and the limited number of passes thrown during those starts, that Lance would need to sit and learn for at least one season if not more. With Matt Ryan under contract for at least 2-3 more seasons due to the massive dead cap hit if he were to be cut in 2022 (over $42M) and in 2023 (over $15M), Lance would not be expected to turn this team around immediately. 

This makes some sense, but you miss out on a lot by making this pick now. You’re stuck with Matt Ryan at least 2 years and with Trey Lance on the bench it will create QB drama (just ask Philadelphia). Also, if Lance does sit for 2 years, the Falcons are missing out on a huge benefit of a young QB, their rookie contract. They would still have a massive QB contract on the roster or the dead cap hit from one, so it wouldn’t fully benefit them. 

Finally, by taking a QB to not play, you’re not doing everything you can to win now. At that point, you might as well try for a full rebuild and trade what valuable pieces you have, i.e. Julio Jones. 

With the second pick in Kiper’s Falcons mock draft 4.0, he projects them selecting defensive end Gregory Rousseau. 

We projected them going with the same position, but going with Joe Tryon out of Washington instead (who Kiper has going to the Cowboys with the 44th pick). 

Rousseau’s draft stock has fallen rapidly over the past few weeks. He was at one time thought to be possibly the first edge rusher off the board and at worst going in the early twenties. He’s now thought to not even be a 1st round pick. The problem is that he isn’t the elite athlete other prospects are, but he produced big-time in college. He opted out in 2020 but finished with 15.5 sacks in 2019. He might not grab a lot of attention with his pro-day, but on Saturdays during the Miami Hurricanes’ football season, he consistently showed up and made a big impact.

With the two first picks in Mel Kiper’s Falcons mock draft 4.0, he has them planning for the future, as well as, getting an impactful edge rusher who is a day 1 starter.

Although drafting a QB to play in 2-3 years can create many issues, it would set up Atlanta for transition well from Matt Ryan to the heir apparent. The rest of the draft would be spent on helping the roster now and they could still have the opportunity to surround Matt Ryan with even more talent along the line and with pass catchers. 

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