Saturday, March 6, 2021

Pre-Free Agency Atlanta Falcons 2021 NFL Mock Draft Roundup

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 - Hanson (3/5)

4. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

It was an up-and-down season for Fields, but he showed tremendous leadership and toughness in the semifinal win over Clemson as he threw for 385 yards and six touchowns in that game. A two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, the dual-threat quarterback has accounted for 78 total touchdowns -- 63 passing and 15 rushing -- while throwing only nine interceptions over 22 games as Ohio State's starter.

ESPN - McShay (3/4)

4. Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

The QB run is on, and Lance to Atlanta makes it four signal-callers in the first four picks -- that has never happened. I like Lance's field vision, pocket presence, arm strength and mobility. He needs time to learn and develop -- he started only 17 games at North Dakota State -- but Atlanta offers him the chance to do so with Matt Ryan under contract through 2023. There's no guarantee that the Falcons will be drafting this high again any time soon, and they shouldn't be planning on it. Take the opportunity to find Ryan's heir now.

Michael DiRocco on his fit with the Falcons: Lance would sit and learn behind Ryan in 2021 and maybe even for at least part of the 2022 season. Ryan is still playing at a high level, and his contract makes it hard for the Falcons to move on, at least this year.

CBS Sports - Trapasso (3/3)

4. Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU

HELLO! The Falcons make a clear statement that they're giving Matt Ryan one last go at a deep playoff run. And with Chase, they plan for a future after Julio Jones.

The Athletic - Beat Writers (3/1)

4. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Drafting Fields would mark a new era in Atlanta. Mired in a bad salary-cap situation, the Falcons do not have the means to part with Matt Ryan just yet. But Fields would allow Atlanta to build a bridge to a post-Ryan future. The problem is that Fields would likely sit a year which is not something you want to do with a someone picked fourth overall. Perhaps playing behind Ryan for a season would give Fields time to grow into his successor. -- Tori McElhaney

Touchdown Wire - Farrar (2/26)

4. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

The recent canard about Fields being a “one-read” quarterback is just that; our colleague Steven Ruiz over at For The Win demolished that myth with an outstanding tape piece. However, there is a hesitancy to Fields' overall processing that gives me pause; it showed up particularly heavy in Ohio State's 22-10 win over Northwestern on December 19 when Fields completed 12 of 27 passes for 114 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions. Too often, Fields looks slow when he's deciphering what's going on out there, and that doesn't bode well for his professional future.

But if new Falcons head coach Arthur Smith turned Ryan Tannehill into a top-shelf quarterback as the Titans' offensive coordinator (Spoiler: he did), perhaps Smith can also speed up Fields' clock while maximizing his attributes -- accuracy, mobility, and a great downfield touch. Last season, Fields completed 19 of 32 passes of 20 or more air yards for 709 yards, nine touchdowns, and two interceptions. - Casserly (2/25)

8. Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

The Falcons trade back and still get their top choice -- a dynamic running back whom Arthur Smith can build his offense around. I know we rarely see running backs go this early these days, but Todd Gurley is a pending free agent and Atlanta has to have a strong running game if it's going to get back to competing for a playoff spot. - Meinke (2/25)

4. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Atlanta is in salary cap hell and won't be able to do anything with Matt Ryan for at least a season. This is the perfect time for Arthur Smith and that new staff to invest in their future with a quarterback who can bide his time from the bench.

San Diego Union Tribune (2/24)

4. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

I imagine new GM Terry Fontenot will want to target Matt Ryan's heir apparent, especially if Wilson or Fields are still available. 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 is more indicative of the player's potential than his questionable decision making against Northwestern and Indiana.

Previous update: Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft Roundup 5.0

MORE TEAMS: All NFL Team Mock Draft Roundups

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