This QB class is as loaded as any in recent memory, and the Falcons are in a prime position with the fourth overall pick to snag one of the elite prospects. However, Atlanta also has Matt Ryan under contract for three more years and many other holes to fill. If they plan to compete in 2021, taking a quarterback with the fourth pick isn’t their best option, especially if they aren’t absolutely in love with one of the prospects.
Still, Terry Fontenot has said several times this offseason that he will always be looking to add to the QB room, so even if the Falcons don’t end up taking one in the first round, they could find themselves selecting one later in the draft. I believe Trevor Lawrence, Mac Jones, Justin Fields, Trey Lance, and Zach Wilson will go in the first round; here are a couple of options I like outside of the first round.
I’m convinced that Kyle Trask would have had all the hype entering the draft five years ago and be a top-ten pick. However, because of everyone’s infatuation with mobile quarterbacks today, I haven’t seen many mocks with him going anywhere close to the first round. It’s likely he’s taken somewhere in rounds 2-4, and I think a team will be delighted with the value he presents in that range.
Standing at 6’5″ and weighing nearly 240 pounds, Trask is what every NFL exec dreamed about just a few years ago. He has a cannon for an arm and had more collegiate success than just about every other member of this draft class. The Florida product took over for Felipe Franks in 2019, which led to an immediate spike in the Gators’ offensive success. He was one of the few quarterbacks to go toe-to-toe with Joe Burrow that year and improved in almost every area in 2020.
Last season, Trask tossed for a ridiculous 43 touchdowns and over 4,000 yards in just 12 games against SEC competition and the Oklahoma Sooners. Some notable performances include a six-touchdown showcase against Ole Miss, over 400 yards and four touchdowns in the World’s Largest Cocktail party against an elite Georgia defense, 400+ yards and three touchdowns in the SEC Championship against the Crimson Tide, and another six-touchdown, no interception performance versus Arkansas.
Trask made mincemeat of some of the best defenses in college football. He is extremely accurate, smart, and has tremendous timing in his delivery. There’s no questioning that he is one of the best pocket-passers in this draft. However, his lack of mobility is bringing down his draft stock, and to that, I say enough.
I understand mobile quarterbacks have had a tremendous amount of success in the NFL recently, but we were downgrading guys who could run just a few years ago because nobody thought they could pass. It’s crazy how things can change in such a short amount of time. The only thing I can guarantee is being mobile isn’t what will determine a quarterback’s success at the next level. It should be an afterthought or the cherry on top, so to speak. Trask has the talent to thrive in the NFL as a passer, and some team will be fortunate if they can snag him outside of the first round.
Mills was once the top overall recruit out of high school right here in Atlanta, as he attended Greater Atlanta Christian. He chose Stanford and didn’t receive his first real taste of action until 2019, when he relieved the injured KJ Costello. That year, he completed 65.6% of his passes for nearly 2,000 yards and 11 touchdowns compared to five interceptions in eight games.
Costello transferred to Mississippi State that offseason, making Mills the full-time starter heading into 2021. Unfortunately, COVID-19 cut the Pac-12’s season to just six games, and Mills actually missed the season opener because of the virus. In the five games he did start, though, he threw for over 1,500 yards and seven touchdowns, completing over 66% of his passes.
The Stanford product stands 6’4″, 225 pounds, and is a lot like Trask in that he’s a prototypical pocket passer with a big arm. He might even be less mobile than Trask, but as I said above, the idea that quarterbacks have to be mobile and that there is some seismic shift going on in the way the position is played has been vastly exaggerated. Being able to move is a plus, yes, but it is not a requirement for successful quarterbacks.
Mills’ sample-size in college is minimal, starting in just 11 games, which might discourage some, but it could also mean there is a lot of untapped potential to discover. Remember, he was a top recruit coming out of high school. Mills may be just scratching the surface, which was still pretty good at Stanford. For a guy that will likely go in the fourth-round or later, he could provide excellent value for Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot.