Falcons Take Dark Horse QB in Latest 2022 Mock Draft

Matt Ryan

Getty Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons.

The 2021 season has not even started yet, but that isn’t going to keep us from looking at 2022 mock drafts––especially during the “dog days” of summer.

The Atlanta Falcons passed on taking a quarterback in this year’s draft which means they still have plenty of faith in Matt Ryan this season.

Next year, however, could be a different story when it comes to getting serious about who Ryan’s successor will be.

In Sports Illustrated’s latest mock draft, Lorenz Leinweber has the Falcons selecting Nevada quarterback Carson Strong with the 10th overall pick in 2022.

“Atlanta had the chance to draft a quarterback in last year’s draft but chose to postpone the decision around Matt Ryan’s succession,” writes Leinweber. “Strong is a big-armed pocket passer who would be a great fit in an Arthur Smith offense.”

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Carson Strong’s Impressive Leap in 2020

Strong, 21, saw his first start at Nevada in 2019 as a redshirt freshman. During that season, he finished with 2,335 yards passing and 11 touchdowns in ten games. He threw seven interceptions and completed 63 percent of his passes for the Wolfpack.

Fast forward to 2020 and Strong’s shortened season was one for the books. His completion percentage jumped to 70 percent, and his interceptions fell to only four. He threw for 2,858 yards and 27 touchdowns.

While Strong is an accurate pocket pass similar to Matt Ryan, his downfall is in his rushing ability. The good news is that the Falcons’ offense should be equipped with talent around him by then, so he wouldn’t need to worry about running the ball himself.

If the 6-foot-4, 215 pounds gunslinger can take another leap, we could see him go off the board in the first round, until then he’s considered a second-round pick.

Check out Strong’s arm in 2020:


Pro Football Network Ranks Strong at No. 6

In their early rankings, Pro Football Network currently has Strong ranked as the 6th best quarterback entering the 2022 draft.

Here’s what PFN had to say about Strong:

Nevada’s Carson Strong only sits behind Willis in these rankings due to his limited ability outside of the pocket. As the modern game transforms, teams value the ability to extend plays with athleticism. Willis has the distinct advantage in that regard while also having the arm to make plays.

Standing at 6’4″ and 215 pounds, Strong has the look of a prototypical pocket passer in the NFL. He could be a damn good one as well. Last season, he demonstrated his ability to make plays downfield while being accurate with it. The Nevada quarterback threw for 2,858 yards while averaging 8.1 yards per attempt and completing 70.1 percent of his passes. He also compiled an impressive 27:4 touchdown to interception ratio.

Strong has a genuine chance to improve his 2022 NFL Draft stock in the coming season. Strong demonstrated awareness in the pocket and arm strength last season. If he improves his accuracy — there were multiple examples of overthrows in the small sample of film studied — he can skyrocket his stock. Additionally, Nevada returns Strong’s favorite receiving target in Romeo Doubs. Their relationship will be pivotal to his success.

North Carolina’s Sam Howell took the No. 1 spot for now and Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler landed at No. 2.

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