5 Creative Moves the Atlanta Falcons Can Pull on Draft Day
Atlanta Falcons fans need to be resigned to the fact that the team is probably trading on draft day. No inside information or rumors needed to come up with this logical conclusion here. Simple math shows it’s over 80 percent likely GM Thomas Dimitroff will make a trade in the first three rounds.
He’s done it in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013. That’s five of his first six years as a general manager that the Falcons have made a trade—either up or down—within the first three rounds. The question we all have to ask ourselves is, "What will Dimitroff’s next trade be?"
Trading Down with the Rams and Picking Up WR Stedman Bailey
The Trade: Atlanta trades a first-round pick (No. 6 overall) to St. Louis for a first-round pick (No. 13 overall), a third-round pick (No. 75 overall) and wide receiver Stedman Bailey.
The Falcons bringing in another wide receiver? Yes. And I know it looks a bit crazy, but to move up from 13 to six, there has to be a lot of compensation. So why not last year’s third-round selection and this year’s third-round selection.
Stedman Bailey is toward the end of the Rams wide receiver depth chart, especially if they wind up bringing in Sammy Watkins with this trade. Bailey would go from No. 5 on one chart to No. 4 on the other, but the Falcons would be able to use him more effectively.
It would also give Atlanta an insurance policy should it be unable to reach an extension agreement with Roddy White after the 2014 season ends. Bailey is a very similar receiver to White in some ways, but he also channels Harry Douglas in others. He would be a good No. 2 or No. 3 long term for Julio Jones.
Trading Down with the Lions and Picking Up TE Joe Fauria
The Trade: Atlanta trades a first-round pick (No. 6 overall) to Detroit for a first-round pick (No. 10 overall), a third-round pick (No. 76 overall) and TE Joseph Fauria
Atlanta could use a good Joker-style tight end in its offense. A joker-style tight end is one who can line up at slot receiver, stacked with another tight end or in-line at tight end. If the Falcons are in a situation where a trade down makes the most sense at No. 6 overall, they should look to the Lions.
In order to fill their needs to the best possible way, the Falcons getting an extra third-round pick and tight end Joseph Fauria to move down those four spots would make the most sense. The third-round pick could be used in a possible trade up from 37 to get a safety.
At No. 10, the Falcons could get Anthony Barr and then trade up to the early 20s to make sure they get a safety who can start and really improve their defense as a whole with two picks. Atlanta could also look into trying to pair the third-round picks for a high second-round selection.
This could allow it to get a safety, a tackle and a pass-rusher all in the top 40 picks. Then it would also fill its need at tight end for a complement to Levine Toilolo. The trade would work out well for both teams, as the Lions would be able to move up for their guy and give up minimal selections.
Trading Up into the Latter Part of the First Round for S Calvin Pryor
The Trade: Atlanta trades its 2014 second-round pick (No. 37 overall) and fourth-round pick (No. 103 overall) to the Chargers for their 2014 first-round pick (No. 25 overall)
As good as the Falcons defense looks right now from where it was in 2013, they still need a starting free safety. The best one in the class not named Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is Louisville’s Calvin Pryor. Atlanta trading up to No. 25 to select him would be a wise move for both this year and the long term.
The former Cardinal will be 24 when the season starts and will be a much older rookie than the standard one. That could lead him to dropping into the latter part of the first round despite being one of the top safeties in the class.
Atlanta would reap the benefits of having William Moore and Sean Weatherspoon’s preferred safety back there, as the chemistry would be instant. Pryor shares Moore’s hard-hitting attitude when it comes to playing in the final line of the defense.
Trading for S Eric Berry of the Chiefs
The Trade: Atlanta sends its second round pick (No. 37 overall) and a 2015 conditional selection to Kansas City for S Eric Berry
Here’s the situation. Calvin Pryor, Jimmie Ward and Ha Ha Clinton Dix are all off the board and we’re 25 picks into the first round. Atlanta panics and says, "We need to address safety, now!" So it calls up Scott Pioli’s old franchise to inquire about what it would take to get Eric Berry off of the Chiefs hands.
William Moore needs someone who can cover deep and play free safety next to him effectively. He has the kind of talent would be more than welcome in the Falcons’ back end of the defense.
The biggest issue with Berry comes with his current contract. The Falcons have the money on hand to absorb the salaries listed on his current deal in 2014 and 2015, $8.4 million and $5.2 million roughly. They would be likely to ask him to restructure or extend his deal if they traded for him.
That’s also the biggest reason why the Chiefs would trade a 25-year old safety who is a known commodity in the scheme and is a great off-field influence. They could save quite a bit of money by unloading him and getting a draft pick or two for him.
I’m not completely alone in thinking the Chiefs could trade Berry either. Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star also brought up the idea of it. Giving up a pick that’s right on the fringe of the first round for an All-Pro safety would be a good move for both teams.
Trading to No. 1 for the Rights of DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney
The Trade: Atlanta sends its 2014 first-round pick (No. 6 overall) and third-round pick (No. 68 overall) and a 2015 second-round pick (that could become a first-round pick) to the Texans for 2014 first-round pick (No. 1 overall)
The Falcons absolutely need a pass rush. The Texans absolutely want to trade down, according to multiple reports from ESPN’s Adam Schefter (h/t Matthew Shovlin of Allvoices.com), Bleacher Report’s Dan Pompei (h/t CBS’s Ryan Wilson), and NFL.com’s Gil Brandt (h/t NFL.com's Chase Goodbread).
The Falcons trading up for Jadeveon Clowney has been a rumor that just won’t go away this offseason and for good reason. The Gamecock defender fits the Falcons defense in a role that saw him dominate the SEC in 2012 where he moved around and played linebacker, end and even some defensive tackle.
Atlanta could combine him with Jonathan Massaquoi, Osi Umenyiora and Kroy Biermann in a rotation at edge player that could see multiple guys get eight or more sacks. This would give Atlanta a pass rush for the first time since it had Rod Coleman and Patrick Kerney in 2005.
By adding someone who can be so disruptive that he completely changes protection schemes in Clowney, the Falcons would be able to give their secondary more ability to make plays by forcing hurried throws. Coordinator Mike Nolan must be salivating at the thought of Clowney in his defense.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus' Premium Stats (subscription required), ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All combine and pro day info is courtesy NFL Draft Scout. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac and Rotoworld.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, College Football, NFL and the NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.
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