The NFL Draft is here, and the Falcons are primed to add another blue chip caliber prospect in the new regime’s third offseason with a top 10 pick.
Depending on who you ask, Atlanta could be targeting a dozen different prospects. The consensus among betting markets is Bijan Robinson will be the pick at #8, but the biggest names in draft coverage are split:
- Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated: Lukas Van Ness
- Peter King of NBC Sports: Bijan Robinson
- Peter Schrager of NFL Network: Christian Gonzalez
- Todd McShay of ESPN: Devon Witherspoon
- Mel Kiper of ESPN: Tyree Wilson
What about a scenario nobody is talking about? A draft day trade for Montez Sweat or Chase Young could perhaps be in the cards.
The Commanders declined to pick up Young’s fifth-year option in 2023, which would leave Washington with two possible free agent defensive ends next offseason. Dan Graziano of ESPN suggests trading one of them could be the answer.
Young, a first-round pick by the Commanders in 2020, had quite the productive rookie campaign, notching 7.5 sacks and forcing four fumbles en route to a Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
However, the 24-year-old’s last two seasons have been marred by injury, as he has played in just 11 games due to an ACL tear. Given the injury and lack of production, I imagine Washington won’t be eager to re-sign him to a long-term deal.
Sweat would be my preference, but he might not even be available. He’s by far the more productive player out of the two and would solidify the Falcons defensive front. It would give Atlanta arguably the deepest rotation of linemen in the league. He’s a perfect schematic fit for what Ryan Nielsen did in New Orleans, using big defensive ends.
Sweat would require a lucrative contract extension, which the Falcons could swing, but the club has invested heavily in the defensive front, signing David Onyemata to a three-year deal and extending Grady Jarrett the offseason prior. That’s exactly why the Commanders aren’t keen on re-signing either; they’re already invested in that position group with Jonathan Allen.
Not only would Montez Sweat be expensive to acquire in terms of draft capital, but he would also be a strain on the team’s salary cap at a position that is already commanding significant resources.
Chase Young, on the other hand, likely could be had for less draft capital and money, but I would be hesitant to give him the contract extension he’s searching for. He hasn’t lived up to his lofty draft status, and there’s no reason to believe he’ll be anything more.
That isn’t to say I would be closed off to any potential deal for either player, but I imagine the Commanders’ asking price is ridiculously high.
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