The Atlanta Falcons Should Trade Back in the First Round

Atlanta Falcons, Dexter Lawrence (Photo by Todd Bennett/Getty Images)
Atlanta Falcons, Dexter Lawrence (Photo by Todd Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Falcons hold the fourteenth pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Armed with nine total selections, the Atlanta Falcons have the ammunition to move up into the top ten, should they choose. Yet moving down in this year’s draft l, is the best course of action to fill all of the team’s needs.

When Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff makes a move in the NFL Draft, he typically trades up. Most notably Dimitroff made the 2011 deal in which the Atlanta Falcons sent five picks to the Cleveland Browns, for the right to draft All Pro Wide receiver Julio Jones. Atlanta has also traded up to land players such as Desmond Trufant and Takk McKinley in round one. In fact Ian Rappaport of is reporting that the Atlanta Falcons have indeed done their research to see what it would take to move into the top ten.

Should the Atlanta Falcons trade up in the NFL draft, Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver is widely reported to be a potential target for the Dirty Birds. Dave Choate of the Falcoholic is reporting that Atlanta is still considering a trade up for Oliver in this article. Oliver is an undersized, gap shooting defensive tackle, who has drawn comparisons to Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams. Comparisons to Donald will be tough to live up to though, as Donald is in the conversation for best player in the entire NFL. The Atl All Day scouting report on Ed Oliver can be found here. Edge rusher Montez Sweat of Mississippi State could be another potential target, should the Atlanta Falcons trade up into the top ten. Sweat who ran a record 4.41 time for his position in the 40 yard dash, has a rare combination of speed and length for an edge rusher. The breakdown of the SEC sack leader can be found by clicking here.

If the Atlanta Falcons decide that trading up is the best course of action to take in this year’s draft, make no mistake about it, the pick must become a star. Atlanta can ill afford to give up additional assets for a player who does not prove to be a difference maker. Atlanta has four main needs in this draft. These in no particular order are offensive tackle, defensive tackle, edge rusher and cornerback. Having just three picks in the first two days of the draft, Atlanta will have to rely on a day three pick to fill one of those needs, should they choose to stand pat. If the Atlanta Falcons do move up into the top ten of round one, they likely lose their second round pick this season. At worse it would probably cost Atlanta a third round pick this season and an additional second day pick next season. This means the Falcons would only be able to fill two of their four main needs in the first two days of the draft. The first three rounds are where the most NFL ready prospects are typically found.

Instead the Atlanta Falcons would be wise to move down into the lower portion in round one of this draft, if given the opportunity. That would likely net the Atlanta Falcons an additional second or third round selection. Landing that extra pick would be priceless and give Atlanta the ability to shore up all four needs in the first three rounds. Atlanta could take the best available player at those four positions as the rounds progress. Dexter Lawrence of Clemson would be the Ideal selection in that scenario. The 342 pound defensive tackle is a massive man, that is extremely quick for his size. He would give Atlanta an interior lineman that can truly play the one or zero technique. Lawrence would command a double team and free Atlanta stars Grady Jarrett and Deion Jones up to make more plays. The breakdown of Lawrence can be read by clicking here.

If the Atlanta Falcons indeed trade down and draft Lawrence, they could then move on to draft talent at the cornerback, offensive tackle and defensive end positions in rounds two and three. This would allow the Atlanta Falcons to focus one other needs in the middle rounds. A center to be groomed under Alex Mack would be chief among those needs. The Dirty Birds also need a dynamic kick returner. Adding more talented coverage linebackers and running back depth, would also be no trouble to fill with the additional picks. Having ten or 11 total picks after moving down, Atlanta would be able to move back up in specific rounds, to lock down highly rated prospects left on their board.

Related Story. Complete Atlanta Falcons Seven Round Mock Draft. light

The potential is there for it to be a huge run on defensive linemen before the Atlanta Falcons pick at 14. This would be even more incentive for the club to trade down. In fact it is the best course of action for the Falcons regardless. Having more picks would increase the likelihood that Atlanta drafts a player from the University of Georgia for only the fifth time in the last 19 years. Players such as cornerback Deandre Baker, edge rusher D’Andre Walker, defensive end Johnathan Ledbetter, running back Elijah Holyfield and wide receivers Mecole Hardman and Terry Godwin, should all be on the Atlanta radar. Click the link to read the Deandre Baker draft breakdown. As much as I hate to mention it, being that Atlanta’s 2017 Super Bowl loss is a sore spot for many fans including myself, but there is one coach that consistently trades down in the NFL draft and accumulates more picks. That man is five-time Super Bowl Champion Bill Belichick. Atlanta would be smart to follow his example for the 2019 NFL Draft.