Is it time for the Falcons to draft their future quarterback?

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Mid-November is not normally a time to pay much attention to mock-drafts or put much thought into what picks the Falcons will make. But as with the rest of 2020, this is not a normal year. One particular mock-draft caught my attention. The headline read, “Falcons take QB Trey Lance…in Draft Wire’s 3-round mock.” I had never dreamed of taking a QB this offseason. Matt Ryan is still a valuable asset and shouldn’t be going anywhere. However, the more I thought of this, the more it made sense. Matt Ryan isn’t going anywhere. Drafting Lance would give the Falcons a skilled backup that could be groomed into Ryan’s replacement in the coming years. “Not to mention, Matt Schaub is old as dirt,” I thought to myself. A quick google search found that Schaub is 39 and has been the backup QB since before I could drive.

Is this the end of the Schaub era?

Matt Schaub’s contract happens to be expiring in 2021. Drafting a QB makes sense but, is Trey Lance capable of becoming the next franchise QB? To answer this question, I pulled Matt Ryan’s stats from Boston College and compared them to Lance’s. The first thing I noticed was the severe difference in the number of games played. Ryan played 43 games in college. Lance has played 18. Taking this into consideration, I have multiplied Ryan’s stats by .42 (43x.42=~18). This will make the numbers easier to compare.

Matt Ryan’s *adjusted* Stats from Boston College

  • Passing- 338 completions in 565.74 attempts (59%) for 3,911 yards. 23 TDs. 15 interceptions.
  • Rushing- 70.56 carries for 24.36 yards. 4.62 TDs.
  • 2007 ACC Offensive Player of the Year. 2007 ACC Player of the Year.  Johnny Unitas and Manning Awards.

Trey Lance Stats from North Dakota State

  • Passing- 208 completions in 318 attempts (67%) for 2,947 yards. 30 TDs. 1 interception.
  • Rushing- 192 carries for 1325 yards. 18 TDs.
  • Walter Payton and Jerry Rice Awards.

Don’t let these numbers fool you; by playing in the ACC, Ryan faced tougher opponents while amassing more yards. HOWEVER, one look at Lance’s accuracy, TDs, and the fact that he is much more of a dual-threat QB proves that he has what it takes to be a fantastic quarterback at the next level. If the Falcons do retain a top 11 draft spot (or worse, climb higher up the list), I would love to see them pick up a young stat-stacked QB with the first pick and then load the defense from there. Matt Ryan’s remaining years spent with the Falcons would give Lance an exceptional mentor and the opportunity to take live reps in big win and loss situations, allowing him to grow into an elite QB by the time the Falcons need him.

I’m not advocating a tank season to secure draft picks, but at the same time, with so many elite quarterback prospects in this draft, the Falcons may be wise to select their QB of the future. Mac Jones, Kyle Trask, and Zach Wilson are three other guys that could be available when Atlanta selects on draft night, and all appear to have the ability to carry a franchise at the next level. 

Photo: Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire

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