Many draft analysts believe that the Falcons will select the best player available at their draft slot (number 6 overall), or trade up to acquire the services of Jadeveon Clowney or Khalil Mack. However, nobody has even mentioned the possibility of trading down, until now.
If the Atlanta Falcons want to address their shortcomings, and build a more complete team they should look into the possibility of trading down and stockpile draft picks.
Kevin Colbert, General Manager of the Steelers, said that every team wants to trade down in the draft this year. This is far from the truth, the 49ers are looking for a true number one wide receiver that can stretch the field, the Vikings are looking for a top tier linebacker or quarterback,and the Lions have been linked to Sammy Watkins.
The possibility of trading down in the draft has its benefits, as a consolation prize of passing on Mack, Clowney or Jake Matthews, Atlanta has the possibility of drafting players with more raw potential such as Anthony Barr or Kony Ealy. Both players have tremendous upside and could end up being better players than Clowney or Mack. Ealy has actually been favorably compared to Aldon Smith (in all aspects besides off the field behavior.)
The second advantage to trading down is the extra draft picks. Right now, the Falcons have immediate needs at offensive line, linebacker, and free safety. I also believe that they should draft an athletic middle linebacker in the middle rounds to provide depth and compete for a starting job. If the Falcons are able to negotiate a trade with a team they should be able to get a second rounder or even a future first rounder.
With an extra second round pick in this draft, Atlanta should be able to pick up an offensive tackle such as Morgan Moses, an athletic tackle who can also slide to guard and be productive at both positions for years to come. They could also be in position to draft Calvin Pryor or Jimmie Ward as their next free safety, both will be an upgrade to last year’s starter Thomas Decoud.
If Atlanta plays their card’s right and nets a first rounder for the 2015 draft they can look at prospects at inside linebacker such as Ramik Wilson from Georgia or draft Roddy Whites replacement in Ty Montgomery from Stanford. If the Falcons feel bold they could draft their running back of the future and grab elite prospects such as T.J. Yeldon from Alabama or Todd Gurley from Georgia.
Regardless of what the Falcons do in this year’s draft they should be wise to explore a potential trade down to reclaim their status as super bowl contenders for 2015 and beyond.