NFL draft pundit hears Falcons are interested in trading down from 8th pick

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Mock drafts, mock drafts, and more mock drafts as we approach Thursday’s first round.

The Falcons hold the 8th pick, and there are no shortage of options for Terry Fontenot. Stand pat and take the top defender like Laiatu Latu or Quinyon Mitchell? Trade back to accumulate more draft capital? Or maybe shock the NFL world and take Rome Odunze or Malik Nabers?

How about a combination? In the latest ESPN mock draft from Jordan Reid, the pundit has the Falcons trading back with the Vikings, picking up a couple of fourth-round picks.

What’s especially interesting is Reid notes in the trade that “Atlanta is interested in moving back from No. 8.”

Vikings get: No. 8
Falcons get: Nos. 11, 108 and 129

Minnesota doesn’t have to move into the top five for a QB here, based on how the board is falling, but it might not want to risk waiting any longer. I’ve heard Atlanta is interested in moving back from No. 8, so this fits from both sides.

I don’t know if the value is there to stand pat at the 8th pick and draft the top defender. Like I said earlier, the Falcons very well could see Rome Odunze or Malik Nabers as better overall prospects.

However, if an opportunity arises where a quarterback-needy team wants to trade up, the Falcons could get the best of both worlds by moving back and still taking their top defender, which is what Reid has them doing.

11. Atlanta Falcons (via mock trade with MIN)

Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA

A strong argument could be made that Latu is the best pure pass-rusher in the class. The Falcons haven’t had a defensive end reach double-digit sacks since Vic Beasley (15.5 in 2016), so they could certainly use someone with upside off the edge. Latu is a perfect fit in new defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake’s system; they were actually together at Washington for two years before Latu transferred to UCLA, where he posted 23.5 sacks over two seasons.

Laiatu Latu is the current favorite to go 8th overall, so you have to consider him to be the favorite wherever the Falcons are picking if they don’t move down too far. Any pass rusher here would be a welcomed sight, but Reid doesn’t stop there. He goes defense with the next two picks and a burner of a receiver with the team’s second third-rounder.

43. Atlanta Falcons

Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB, Missouri

74. Atlanta Falcons

Brandon Dorlus, DT, Oregon

79. Atlanta Falcons (via JAX)

Devontez Walker, WR, North Carolina

Over the final picks, the Falcons pick up a mammoth of a man to occupy the interior defensive line as well as a flier on a quarterback.

108. Atlanta Falcons (via mock trade with MIN): T’Vondre Sweat, DT, Texas
109. Atlanta Falcons: Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, S, Texas Tech
143. Atlanta Falcons: Michael Pratt, QB, Tulane
187. Atlanta Falcons: Tommy Eichenberg, LB, Ohio State
197. Atlanta Falcons (via CLE): Deantre Prince, CB, Ole Miss

I think the Falcons are open to moving back, but we won’t know anything concrete until they’re on the clock because teams will be waiting to see who falls to the 8th pick. If Malik Nabers or Rome Odunze fall, it’ll be receiver-needy teams. If it’s J.J. McCarthy, it’ll be quarterback-needy teams. Either way, the Falcons are trade down candidates.

Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire

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