Mel Kiper releases two-round mock that has interesting trade option for Falcons 

ESPN Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released his two-round mock on Tuesday morning and has the Falcons selecting a quarterback while trading back two spots and pass rusher in the second round.

Kiper has the Falcons trading with the Miami Dolphins and moving back from pick No. 4 to No. 6 and acquiring quarterback Trey Lance.  

"So new general manager Terry Fontenot and coach Arthur Smith move down two spots, add extra assets for a rebuilding team and still get a franchise quarterback," Kiper said. "The 20-year-old Lance is green -- he started just 17 games in college, all against FCS competition. The Falcons can let him sit behind Matt Ryan for at least a season. And here's a list Lance will join (courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information): Since the 2006 draft, six quarterbacks with fewer than 20 college starts have been taken in the first round: Mitchell Trubisky (13), Cam Newton (14), Dwayne Haskins (14), Mark Sanchez (16), Kyler Murray (17) and Ryan Tannehill (19). There is some risk involved in picking a young, unproven quarterback this high."

Lance, 20, is one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft because of where he played and the limited reps he has on his tape as a starter. The 6-foot-4, 224-pound dual-threat quarterback only stared one year at the FCS level, leading to the questions surrounding the level of competition he played against. North Dakota State decided to move their season to the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so Lance was unable to compete in the fall and opted to enter the NFL Draft.

In the 18 starts he did make, Lance completed 193 passes for 2,798 yards and 28 touchdowns. He also added 1,110 yards on the ground on 169 attempts and 16 touchdowns.

Kiper has the Falcons taking Miami defensive end Gregory Rousseau with pick No. 35 with Clemson running back Travis Etienne coming off the board the pick before to the New York Jets. One of Atlanta's biggest positional needs is at defensive end and adding Rousseau would give the Falcons another playmaker coming off the edge.

"The 6-foot-7 Rousseau had 15.5 sacks in 2019 before opting out of last season, but he's a tough evaluation," Kiper said. "He doesn't have elite athletic traits, and that showed up on the film. The Falcons could use some edge-rushing help, though. I also thought about tight end and safety here."

Rousseau is long-limbed and rangy and it's hard to discredit the production he had in 2019. He finished second in the country, only behind Chase Young, in sacks that season. But his body of work is small which might cause hesitation from some teams.

The Falcons have nine picks in this year's draft that starts on April 29.

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