Falcons Trade Way Up in Highly Touted Mock Draft

Falcons running back Todd Gurley

Getty Todd Gurley II #21 of the Atlanta Falcons.

ESPN’s longtime draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released his new NFL mock draft in which he has the Atlanta Falcons trading all the way up to the No. 2 spot to still draft BYU quarterback Zach Wilson.

What is surprising about this is that Kiper in his 38 years covering the NFL draft, Kiper has never had a team trade up or down. However, this year is apparently necessary for Atlanta:

“OK, here we go. The Falcons make a deal to get their quarterback. My comp for the deal is the Bears’ trading up for Mitchell Trubisky in 2017. To move up one spot and get the No. 2 pick, Chicago gave up pick Nos. 3, 67, 111 and a third-rounder the following year.

So for Atlanta to move up two spots, it’s going to have to send the Jets the No. 4 pick, likely its second-round picks this year and more picks. That’s a lot to give up, sure, but there is going to be competition. The Jets should take the best deal on the table, and this one means they only drop two spots and pick up prime assets after that.”

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Kiper Had Trouble Deciding Between Wilson & Justin Fields

While putting together his first mock draft of the offseason, Kiper said he struggled when choosing between Ohio State’s Justin Fields and Wilson. Though after plenty of analyzing and help from sources around the league, he came to his conclusion:

“Depends who you talk to in the NFL,” Kiper said on ESPN’s Get Up on Tuesday. “I’ve changed that about six times when I was doing that mock with Fields and Wilson flip-flopping, but Wilson had such a great year. I had one guy who said Fields, but he also said Wilson was spectacular all year. Fields had some…hiccups. Go to the Indiana game, the Northwestern game in particular there. Now, in the Northwestern game, he didn’t have Chris Olave, but still, Wilson didn’t have that hiccup. You go Coastal Carolina, he was good — wasn’t great but he was good. So, he didn’t have that subpar game.

“[Wilson] can spin it like no other. Arm strength, release, athletic ability, got bigger, got stronger after having that shoulder surgery a couple of years ago. So, Zach Wilson, right now, I think has just a slight, slight edge over Justin Fields to become the number two quarterback coming off the board.”

Contrasting Fields and Wilson

Fields and Wilson have been talked about all season but after Fields had two disappointing games against Indiana, the attention shifted all to Wilson. But, then Wilson lost to Coastal so now the two seem to be at eye level.

The question remains, who is actually better? I’m not an expert but I can tell you that Wilson has been compared to Patrick Mahomes in the way he reads a field and the ability to angle his arm. As for Fields, he has been compared to Dak Prescott and Russell Wilson because of his athleticism.

Last season, Wilson posted 3,692 yards and tossed 33 touchdowns to only three interceptions, which led BYU to its highest final ranking at No. 11 since 1996. And Fields took Ohio State to the National Championship Game before losing Alabama. The former Buckeye threw for 2,100 yards and threw 22 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Kiper might be over-exaggerating in his latest mock draft considering the Falcons have way too many needs to address to trade up all the way to No. 2.

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