It’s been rumor season for a couple of weeks now, and the Falcons have been at the epicenter, with most reports suggesting they are the most aggressive team looking to move up in the draft. That shouldn’t come as much of a shock, considering both Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff are sitting on possibly the hottest seats in professional football. Mortgaging the future isn’t going to matter much to them if it means acquiring a piece that will put them over the top. However, who they are looking to move up for has been nothing but a guess for “experts,” so I’m going to do my best in a game of smoke or fire to examine what reports seem authentic and which ones smell a little fishy.
The Falcons are the most aggressive team looking to move up in the draft
We will start with the consensus among experts: Atlanta is vigorously looking to trade up well into the Top 10. There’s no doubt in my mind Thomas Dimitroff is exploring all of his options — that includes moving up into the Top 3. Will that be possible without giving up too much? I’m not sure. But ever since TD has taken over, the Falcons have been one of the most aggressive teams when it comes to draft day trades. If they find a guy they love, they usually pull out the necessary stops to snag him.
The Falcons are eyeing Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson in a trade-up
This one makes sense. Dan Quinn has a boatload of ties to the Florida program since he coached there not too long ago. And over his tenure as the Falcons head man, he’s brought in a ton of former Gators. C.J. Henderson is also thought to be the second-best corner in this class behind Jeff Okudah, who is well out of the Falcons range unless they give up a bevy of high-quality picks, and Atlanta desperately needs a corner. So I understand the thinking with this rumor; however, these rumblings sounds more like people throwing stuff at the wall and seeing if it sticks. Many draft experts are split on who the second-best corner is, and almost all of them view Henderson as a late first-round prospect. If he falls to the Falcons at 16, and they take him, it makes sense. But trading up for him, especially into the Top 10 smells like smoke.
The Falcons are looking to move up for defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw
Kinlaw is my dream target for the Falcons at 16. However, I highly doubt he makes it that far. So if Atlanta wants him, they are going to have to trade up a few spots. The Falcons’ most significant need may be at cornerback, but Kinlaw is a far better prospect than any of the corners available after Okudah is off the board. Plus, adding Kinlaw to a defensive line of Dante Fowler, Takk McKinley, and Grady Jarrett would make things so much easier for the secondary. I also believe the Falcons can find a starting-caliber corner with their second-round selection.
The Falcons are looking to trade up for cornerback Jeff Okudah
As far as sure things go at the cornerback position, Okudah is the only one. Adding him to the Atlanta secondary would immediately give the unit some formidability, along with depth. However, I don’t see Okudah falling outside the Top 5, which is probably why we have heard rumors that the Falcons have been talking to teams way up the draft board. It’s going to be a gutsy call to pull the trigger on a trade like this, but I do believe Dimitroff and Co. are considering it.
The Falcons are looking to trade up for an offensive tackle
Now, this is the most outlandish rumor I’ve heard thus far. The Falcons have been talking to offensive tackles that are expected to be gone well before Pick 16. That part, I believe; however, everything about this screams SMOKE. Atlanta drafted two offensive linemen in the first round last year. And even though the line was far from spectacular, it would be foolish to give up on them after just one season. Plus, the Falcons have so many holes to patch up defensively. Trading up into the Top 10 to select another offensive lineman would make no sense unless they are planning to reshape their roster completely.
The Falcons love Chase Young and have talked to Washington about swapping picks
Atlanta has reportedly even reached out to the Washington Redskins about trading the second overall pick. The Falcons have interest in several players that will be gone before them (as you can tell), but they LOVE Young, according to Matt Miller.
4. Are the Falcons really trying to trade up?
A: YES! The Falcons want to move up and have for some time. If they can get it done is another question. I've heard CJ Henderson for them but they L-O-V-E Chase Young.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 23, 2020
Here’s the simple answer to this question — yes, the Falcons probably have reached out to Washington, and they feel Young is a generational prospect. News flash: That’s been the consensus for months. Atlanta is interested; there’s fire here. But will they be able to pull it off? I highly doubt it.
Verdict: An easily extinguished fire
Falcons are looking to trade up for a QB
I’ve heard this several places, and all I have to say is STOP IT. This is a make or break season for Quinn and Dimitroff, and Matt Ryan is the least of their problems. They are not taking a quarterback in the first round.
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