Realistic Trade-Up Possibilities for the Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has traded up in almost every draft he has been a part of. The only one that he didn’t trade up in was the 2012 draft where it made more sense for Atlanta to trade down than up.
However, it’d be almost guaranteed that the Falcons will trade up in the 2014 draft. It’s just what the comrade does. He believes in the philosophy that if your guy is still there, you go up and get him as long as the cost is reasonable.
Trade Up in the Late Rounds for Someone GM Thomas Dimitroff Really Loves
This trade is pretty much 100 percent guaranteed to happen every year. In 2008, the Falcons traded away returner Allen Rossum for the selection that became tight end Keith Zinger. In 2009, the Falcons traded up in the fifth and sixth rounds, giving up just wide receiver Laurent Robinson to the Rams.
In 2010, the Falcons traded up in the fifth round to take cornerback Dominique Franks. In 2011, the Falcons traded up in the fifth round to get running back Jacquizz Rodgers. 2012 was rare in that the Falcons didn’t trade up in the late rounds for anyone.
And finally, in 2013, the Falcons traded up for Stansly Maponga in the fifth round. It’s amazing how many times Dimitroff trades up in the fifth round to get someone. And honestly, it’s never a bad move as everyone he has traded up for has turned into a solid contributor.
But this has happened five out of six times for Dimitroff and the Falcons. So this is likely going to happen yet again in 2014. If the pattern holds true, Atlanta will see someone slipping in the middle of Round 5 whom it loves, and it will trade up with its early sixth-round pick to get him.
Trade Up into the Mid-Second Round to Take a Falling Pass-Rusher or Safety
So, let’s say the Falcons are sitting there and in the first two rounds have gone with offensive tackle Jake Matthews at No. 6 overall and tight end Jace Amaro at No. 37 overall. The need at safety and the need at pass-rusher still haven’t been filled.
However, with guys like Deone Bucannon or Jeremiah Attaochu possibly available in the middle of the round, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Dimitroff look to pull the trigger on either of them. Both would be great fits for the defense.
The opportunity to move up here would likely cost the Falcons a fifth-round pick. However, since a fifth-round pick is normally nothing but depth, it would be tough to see Atlanta passing up the opportunity to pick up yet another starter in the middle of the second round.
Atlanta coming away from the first two days with three instant starters would be great for the Falcons. It would help their depth tremendously, as it would allow the Falcons to move guys down the depth chart who would currently be listed as starters.
Trade Up with New England for S Calvin Pryor
Bleacher Report’s Dan Pompei is reporting that NFL insiders are expecting a ton of trade activity at the bottom of Round 1 because of the quarterback availability. However, what would happen if the Falcons see Calvin Pryor sitting there at 29?
If Bill Belichick will take the call from his buddy in Atlanta, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Falcons trade up using their second- and fourth-round picks this season to nab the Louisville safety. Pryor would be an excellent fit in Atlanta and an instant starter.
Atlanta trading with New England seems like it’s the best move for both teams as well. New England gets to trade down and pick up a pick while still having the opportunity to bring in some talent along the front of its defense or even in its wide receiver corps.
Atlanta gets to bring in the guy who would be the perfect complement to William Moore in the defense. According to Jay Adams of the official Atlanta Falcons website, Sean Weatherspoon and Moore have both expressed interest in bringing Pryor to the Falcons.
Trade Up with St. Louis or Jacksonville for DE/OLB Khalil Mack
Let’s say the cost to trade up for Jadeveon Clowney is just too much for the Falcons to pay. However, Jacksonville or St. Louis is willing to trade down with the Falcons for just a third this season and a third next year in order for the Falcons to get Khalil Mack for their defense.
Mack would be an ideal fit if the Falcons decide to move to the 3-4 as their base full time. He could instantly start at strong-side outside linebacker and be a tight end coverage specialist, premier pass-rusher and edge-setting run-stuffer.
Mack would also bring that nastiness the Falcons have needed on defense for a long time. He’s a leader for Buffalo and was a team captain there in 2013. The question is whether the Falcons would find him worthy of trading up for.
Dimitroff does have prior relationships with Jacksonville GM Dave Caldwell and St. Louis GM Les Snead. That could really help the negotiations if the Falcons feel that moving up for Clowney would just be way too much to manage.
Trade Up with Houston for DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney
It's no secret that there's the possibility of the Falcons and Texans doing a deal involving Atlanta trading up to No. 1 for Jadeveon Clowney. The Falcons just need to make sure that they don't break the bank for the South Carolina stud pass-rusher.
According to former Colts general manager and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian, via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, it's never a bad thing to trade up for a difference-maker. The question is just what the compensation will be. Houston may be looking for something close to what the Rams wound up getting for Robert Griffin III—three firsts and a second.
The Falcons may be looking to offer something similar to what the Rams gave up to get Orlando Pace back in the 1997 NFL draft—picks in the first, third, fourth and seventh rounds. The teams would likely have to meet in the middle to get anything done.
The question here isn't whether the Falcons should explore the trade or whether Dimitroff should pull the trigger. The question is what compensation will wind up being considered fair for both sides, because Houston could always tell Atlanta to buzz off and take Clowney itself.
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 of 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.