The defensive portion of the Combine Testing turned into the Jadeveon Clowney show, and for good reason. The 6’6” specimen lit up every drill he participated in. Since we are keeping our eye on how the Falcons are going to factor into the Clowney Sweepstakes let’s look at some trade scenarios that would guarantee JC7 found himself in a Falcon uniform.
Trade with the Houston Texans to #1 overall pick– The most secure trade to land Jadeveon Clowney is going straight to the top. General Manager Thomas Dimitroff has shown that he will go after a player in the first round that he thinks will be a difference maker. He moved up for Sam Baker and Desmond Trufant and traded up 21 spots to secure Julio Jones. Thomas has demonstrated he will get his guy. Personally I would be strongly against spending the amount of pick it would take to get the Texans off of the top overall pick. Even with the Falcons being relatively close to the Texans’ draft position, the price would be too steep and the cost would be felt in Atlanta’s future depth. I see this as an unrealistic (but not exactly impossible) scenario.
Trade with the St. Louis Rams to #2 pick – This would be a more obvious pick for Dimitroff to consider. He is good friends with of St. Louis GM Les Sneed, as well as being his former boss. In fact the two have already worked out a cushy Draft day deal last year when the Falcons moved up and traded spots with the Rams to pick Desmond Trufant. The model for trading into the second spot might have already been set by St. Louis when they took three first-round picks from the Redskins in 2011. The difference here is that the ‘Skins were seeking the highly regarded quarterback Robert Griffin. While Clowney is as highly touted a defensive player as they come, QBs still command the most in trades. Les Sneed might not try to squeeze quite so many picks out of Dimitroff to pull of this trade. Given the history and relationship between the general managers I see this as a likely trading spot if the Dirty Birds do elect to jump up the board on Draft day.
Trade with Jacksonville for the #3 pick – We only have to go one more spot down the draft board to see another former employee of Thomas Dimitroff. David Caldwell served on the Falcons personnel staff from 2008-2012 in the T.D. regime. While these two teams have not traded in the past this is still a very real option. This would be obviously less expensive because there is a steep decline in cost in trading up compared to the top two spots. The issue here is every spot that goes by Dimitroff is tempting fate to see if Clowney is left to be selected. The Texans and Rams are obviously considering Clowney with their top spots. One real possibility is that there are teams behind the Falcons that have their eye on Clowney as well and are willing to trade the farm to get the coveted pass rusher with a top-2 spot.
Multifaceted Trade Scenario- I am of the opinion that the Falcons should stay put with their sixth pick. This draft is too deep to give up potential starters to get a single player. The top ten players in this class are so good that even if we miss out on Jadeveon Clowney or Jake Matthews then we could get a game changer at 6. Khalil Mack and Greg Robinson would be instant upgrades in Atlanta and shouldn’t cost a third round pick or more. That being said I believe here is a realistic trade scenario mock draft for the Falcons to land Clowney.