Feb 24, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks Jadeveon Clowney puts shoes on during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Falcons could go many directions in the NFL Draft

The NFL Draft is approaching, and for the Atlanta Falcons it means they are less than a week away from deciding what to do with one of the league’s most valuable set of picks.

According to Bill Barnwell of Grantland, Thomas Dimitroff and the Falcons are sitting with the fifth most valuable hand in the league, but questions whether trading up to No. 1 for Jadeveon Clowney is actually worth it:

And, at that price, are the Falcons better off waiting for the sixth pick, when they might be able to come away with a franchise left tackle to move the disappointing Sam Baker off Matt Ryan’s blind side? The decision could come to define this franchise over the next few years.

Regardless of your opinions on what the right move is for the Falcons, one thing is pretty clear: this draft is about to be crazy. Jay Adams talks about how the Falcons are one of eight teams with double-digit picks this year and that Dimitroff has made a trade in each of the past six drafts. With a bigger bag of toys this year than most, it’s only natural that Dimitroff will want to make a bigger mess than usual, right? Adams mentions that Dimitroff isn’t planning on sitting back and relaxing throughout the draft, and has talked about trading up and down:

The Falcons have pulled off at least one trade in each of Dimitroff’s prior six drafts and the general manager said last week that he and his staff will not quietly watch the draft unfold.

While many point to Dimitroff’s bold move to jump to the top of the draft to select Julio Jones in 2011, he hasn’t dismissed the possibility to move back instead of up and mentioned it again during last week’s press conference. A move back would give the Falcons even more picks and could set up a move forward in other rounds later in the draft.

Right now there are three main routes Dimitroff could take:

  1. Trade up and try to get the No. 1 pick and Jadeveon Clowney
  2. Trade down because the ideal player couldn’t come at No. 6 and acquire even more picks
  3. Stay at No. 6 because the Falcons have multiple needs that can be filled here

I’d say No. 2 is the most unlikely scenario because the Falcons already have a good amount of picks and someone who can be a difference maker should be available at No. 6. So, in my mind the question becomes, “How much are we willing to give up to try and get Jadeveon Clowney?”

If Barnwell is right, it’s going to cost a pretty penny:

It’ll unquestionably take at least one more future first-round pick, but given that general managers often (perhaps incorrectly) devalue future draft picks in trades, the Falcons are probably looking at more than their 2015 first to sweeten the pot. My guess is that it would take Atlanta’s 2014 and 2015 first-round picks, a third-rounder in 2014, and a second-rounder in 2016.

Is it worth giving up that much when there’s a huge need for offensive line help (which can be had at No. 6) as well? I’d argue that the cost above is way too high, but I’m also not an NFL executive.

The only thing I actually do know is that the Atlanta Falcons and Thomas Dimitroff have many different options available to them, and a whole lot of potential with this draft. Watching it all unfold this Thursday should be extremely interesting.

What do you guys think the Falcons will/should do?

Tags: Atlanta Falcons NFL Draft

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