Falcons Skip Justin Fields & Pick ND State QB in Latest Mock Draft

Ohio State

Getty Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes.

It’s the offseason for the Atlanta Falcons who have locked in the No. 4 overall pick in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft which means the mock draft saga continues until April.

In a recent NFL.com mock draft, NFL analyst Daniel Jeremiah predicts the Falcons take a QB but skip Justin Fields and select North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance instead.

“This decision will likely come down to Lance versus Ohio State’s Justin Fields,” Jeremiah wrote. “I can make a strong argument for both players, but I’ll stick with Lance because of his advantage as a decision-maker on the field.”

 Trey Lance’s Success As A Bison

ND State has been a dominant force over the past few years, but this year was a bit different with COVID-19 canceling the 2020 season after just one game.

In the one game that the Bisons played this past season against Central Arkansas, Lance looked a bit rusty, completing 15-of-30 passes for 149 yards and an interception. He also helped on the ground, turning 15 carries into 143 yards and two touchdowns.

Before COVID-19 plagued the sports world, Lance had a notable season in 2019 as a redshirt freshman. He led ND State to an undefeated season and another National Championship, completing 67 percent of his passes for 2,786 yards and 28 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He flashed his versatility and ran for 1,100 yards and picked up 14 rushing touchdowns.

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Justin Fields’s Success As A Buckeye

Fields, a native of Georgia, played six regular-season games this year. He ended the season throwing for 2,100 passing yards, 22 touchdowns, six interceptions while completing 70.2 percent of his passes. He also had 383 yards on the ground and five rushing touchdowns.

Prior to losing miserably to Alabama in the National Championship, Fields had a solid first round of the College Football Playoff against Clemson, outplaying this year’s sure-fire No. 1 overall pick, Trevor Lawrence, in a six-touchdown performance.

Fields has been compared to NFL stars Russell Wilson or Dak Prescott, as noted by NFL Media analyst and ex-NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah. At 6-foot-3-inches and 223 pounds, Fields is similar to Prescott’s build, who stands at 6-foot-2-inches and 238 pounds. And like both Prescott and Wilson, Fields is also a dual-threat quarterback.

 So What About Matt Ryan?

The 2021 draft class will be stacked with top QB talent and hard for Atlanta to pass up. But if the Falcons are eyeing their next franchise QB what happens to Matt Ryan?

Well, as of now, Arthur Smith is uncertain.

“No decision with personnel has been made right now,” Smith told Pro Football Talk. “It’s just so early. . . . We’re just not gonna make any snap judgments. There is a long process. We’ve got to get in here with the staff. We’ve got to go through every guy on this roster. And we’re gonna take our time. There’s no decision that has to be made today. It’s not Matt and Julio, it’s every player on this roster.”

Ryan and Jones are set to account for a salary-cap hit of more than $63 million in 2021. But if the Falcons wait another season, the cap hit falls drastically and might make more sense.

Still, drafting a QB to grow behind veteran Matt Ryan is Atlanta’s best bet.

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