Sunday, January 17, 2021

Atlanta Falcons 2021 NFL Mock Draft Roundup, 4.0

Throughout the year and leading up to the 2021 NFL draft, we will update our Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft Roundup showing picks for the Atlanta Falcons from several prominent sites and draft analysts.

The following are picks in August 2020 mock drafts for the Falcons:

EDSFootball - Kevin Hanson (1/15)

4. Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

Per Spotrac, Matt Ryan (22.99%) will account for nearly one-quarter of the team's 2021 salary cap. While the new regime could go in a number of different directions, this will be the first time that the team will pick inside the top four since they selected Ryan third overall in 2008.

Barring a trade, this scenario would allow Wilson the opportunity to serve as Ryan's apprentice for a season. Charted by PFF with the lowest rate of turnover-worthy plays this season, Wilson uses his mobility to make and extend plays and is accurate throwing downfield.

San Diego Union Tribune - Eddie Brown (1/13)

4. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

I imagine the new General Manager will want to target Matt Ryan's heir apparent. Last time the Falcons had a top-five pick, they took Ryan third overall in 2008. Fields' heroic performance in the Sugar Bowl against Clemson almost wipes away his recent questionable decision making against Northwestern and Indiana, especially when he was under duress. His 385 yards and six touchdown passes against the Tigers while he was hurting underlines how much talent he has to work with.

CBS Sports - Chris Trapasso (1/13)

4. Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

The Falcons go with the consensus top cornerback to help the defense to hopefully muster one last surge out of the Matt Ryan era.

The Athletic - Dane Brugler (1/12)

4. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Similar to when the Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes in the top 10 with an entrenched starter already on their roster, the Falcons have an opportunity to secure the future of the position with this pick. Matt Ryan has a complicated contract, but he is still a starting-level quarterback, and that would allow Atlanta to have patience with Fields before examining trade scenarios for Ryan.

The Draft Network - Joe Marino (1/7)

4. Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

The Falcons are a perfect spot for Lance. Matt Ryan is still a more than capable quarterback but he is reaching the end of his run in Atlanta. The Falcons can take their time with Lance, who is a gifted quarterback, but with only 318 career passing attempts at the FCS level, is unlikely to be ready to start right away. Lance is a dual-threat quarterback with a big arm and led North Dakota State to a national championship in 2019. Atlanta can allow him to develop under Ryan and hopefully be set at quarterback for years to come.

ESPN - Todd McShay (1/7)

4. Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

Atlanta will have a new head coach and a new GM for the 2021 season, and after it struggled to just four wins in 2020, it could be looking for a complete reboot. The Falcons will need to address running back, parts of the offensive line and the secondary this offseason, so moving back and acquiring some extra picks might be the smart call. However, quarterback Matt Ryan will be 36 years old when next season kicks off, and his contract allows an out after 2022. The chance to draft an heir this high isn't a guarantee in future years, so could Atlanta make the move here and now?

The decision between Wilson and Justin Fields would be close. It's perhaps the toughest player-vs.-player debate in the class right now, at least for me. They both compete so well. I'm going with Wilson's toughness in the pocket and deep-ball prowess, giving the Falcons a signal-caller of the future.

USA Today - Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz (1/5)

4. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

As Atlanta looks to hire a new coach and general manager, the true measuring stick for the extent of the team's rebuild will be the steps it takes toward replacing Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. The Falcons might be a year away from moving on from either one, but Fields can help start a new chapter for the franchise whenever it chooses to turn the page.

Athlon Sports - Bryan Fisher (1/5)

4. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Matt Ryan is aging out of his prime and on a big contract. Fields is an Atlanta native that could be the QB of the future in a division that seems wide open once Drew Brees, Tom Brady et al. retire. Given how it looks like the entire organization is going to undergo a full reboot from the front office on down, might as well add a new face under center to the mix too.

Previous update: Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft Roundup 3.0

MORE TEAMS: All NFL Team Mock Draft Roundups

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