When looking at the Falcons’ 2014 roster, there are a few glaring holes that the team wasn’t able to fill during the offseason. Atlanta never acquired a true edge rusher or a pass-catching tight end, among other things.
The Falcons are no strangers to completing offseason trades to bolster their roster; Tony Gonzalez, Asante Samuel, and Dominique Foxworth were all acquired via trade during the current regime’s tenure, and they all made impacts both big and small in their time with the Falcons.
Currently, Atlanta has a little under $14 million available in cap space, so, they won’t be limited there. Pair that with a full slate of draft picks and the Falcons have more than enough ammunition to fill their remaining holes and possibly land an impact player before the season gets underway.
Here are my top-five players the Atlanta Falcons need to trade for before the new season gets underway.
5) Jarrett Boykin, Wide Receiver, Green Bay Packers
The Falcons wide receiver corps is extremely top heavy. That said, Julio Jones is coming off a serious foot surgery and Roddy White’s age might be catching up to him. Behind Jones and White, the team has a group of slot-type receivers in Harry Douglas, Devin Hester, Drew Davis, and UDFA Bernard Reedy. Their average height being around 5’11’’, and their average production being nothing to get too excited about. The Falcons need a bigger receiver they can groom behind White as he begins his fight with Father Time, and someone that can readily step in if Jones or White go down again this year. Jarrett Boykin is big (6’2’’, 220-pounds) and young at only 24 years old. The Packers might be willing to part ways with Boykin with the returns of Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, as well as the arrivals of second-round pick Davante Adams and fifth-round pick Jared Abbrederis. A former undrafted free-agent from Virginia Tech, Boykin could net the Packers a fifth-round pick and clear up Green Bay’s picture at wide receiver — giving the Falcons someone they can use both now and in the future.
Additional option: Jon Baldwin, San Francisco 49ers
4) Coby Fleener, Tight End, Indianapolis Colts
Atlanta is dangerously thin at tight end. Tony Gonzalez left a massive hole at the position when he hung up the cleats, and the Falcons didn’t bother to add anyone of significance to bolster the position, choosing to alter their offensive scheme instead. The Falcons are putting all of their eggs in the enormous basket that is Levine Toilolo, but if he doesn’t take the expected leap or goes down with an injury, the team could be in real trouble at the position — that’s where Coby Fleener comes in. Like Toilolo, Fleener is a big (6’6’’), balanced tight end from Stanford University. Fleener is a capable receiver (52 catches in 2013) and holds his own in the run game. The Colts could afford to deal Fleener with the emergence of Dwayne Allen as a legitimate play-making tight end. Additionally, Indianapolis gets star wide receiver Reggie Wayne back from injured reserve and signed free-agent WR Hakeem Nicks to further open up their passing game. Throw in big-play threat T.Y. Hilton and the Colts feature an offense built to air it out with young-stud Andrew Luck at the controls of it all. A third or fourth round pick could be enough to entice Indianapolis to send Fleener to Atlanta, and the Falcons would begin the season much more talented and stable at tight end.
Additional option: Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles