Report: The Falcons were taking Trey Lance if he fell to the fourth overall pick

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In a not so shocking tweet from NFL Insider Benjamin Allbright, it appears that the Falcons were going to draft Trey Lance of North Dakota State if he fell to them with the fourth overall pick:

This is an interesting development. There were rumors before the draft that Trey Lance was the guy for the Falcons, and they showed their interest by attending numerous showcases and Lance’s Pro Day. I see the appeal to Lance, from my scouting report on him:

Trey Lance has some god-given abilities that most quarterbacks could only dream of. Standing at 6’4” and 225 pounds, his body should be able to hold up in the NFL. That’s important, too, because this kid is hands down the best athlete and scrambler in the entire quarterback class. He is exceptional at improvising out of the pocket and does a good job of manipulating his arm angle — something Patrick Mahomes is the best at in the NFL. He has a nice mix of zip and touch, and his ability to throw to all three levels of the field indicates his arm talent will only improve with coaching.

Lance does a great job of limiting mistakes and taking what the defense gives him. He burst onto the NFL’s radar when he notoriously threw zero interceptions over 287 attempts with a 68% completion percentage in 2019. Trey is extremely poised in the pocket and never seems to lose his cool. He only improvises when he needs to, but he can still pick up those extra yards when nobody is open. For as fast as he is, he is incredibly tough as a runner.

As incredibly gifted as he is, you cannot deny the lack of data — Lance has played less than 19 FCS games. Most of that is not to his fault, but it’s reality. He is extremely raw, and if he’s expected to start day one for a team — I think he would struggle mightily. That’s not as big of an issue with Atlanta, but if he was to go to the Jets or Washington Football team, I think he would develop poorly in a trial by fire. He certainly needs A LOT of seasoning, but Atlanta is a perfect situation for him.

He should not have played in his one matchup against Central Arkansas in 2020. While the box score isn’t a great indicator of future success, he played pretty poorly, completing half of his passes and throwing a pick. In that same breath, he shredded them on the ground for over ten yards per carry, adding two scores with his feet.

Naturally, the gunslinger that he is, sometimes Lance can get mechanically wonky. He wants to make something out of nothing, and while he limits his mistakes, this playstyle sacrifices some accuracy at times. Please don’t take that as him being inaccurate — he places the ball well and throws his receivers open at times.

I had Lance listed as my QB2 in this draft, and it’s obvious the 49ers held him in high regard — trading up from the 12th pick to Miami’s third pick, jumping the Falcons.

Lance made sense for Atlanta; he was only 20 years old when he was drafted, and his age would have allowed him to sit and learn behind Matt Ryan. Lance was thrust into action after a Jimmy Garoppolo injury. He still looks like a rookie quarterback, appearing in four games, completing 52% of his passes for 354 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. He has also rushed for 133 yards on 4.9 yards per carry — pretty solid. Lance’s snap counts in the first two weeks were in situational roles, and the third was in injury relief, so these numbers are really for roughly 1 1/2 games.

The Falcons, of course, landed superstar tight end Kyle Pitts from Florida, but this could indicate the team is willing to select a quarterback in 2021 if they think they have their guy.

Thanks for reading about how the Falcons would have taken Trey Lance fourth overall in the 2021 draft. If you liked this article, make sure to check out Jake’s recent piece on Falcons players who could be traded before the trade deadline.

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