This off season is an important one for the Falcons. It's make or break year for Dmitrioff/Smith. If we fail then we flounder horribly and great ready for the next phase of the Falcons be that with Pioli/Tice or with someone else. Think of it this way, if you knew your job was in jeopardy wouldn't you want to take risks that put you above other prospects? You'd probably stay later at work with no OT pay, constantly bug your superiors about other projects you could be working on. You'd look to be in expendable (which mind you in any work place it's not possible). The same goes for the NFL. You are only as good as you were last year. Which brings me to the point of this article. Why trading up may be the right thing to do.
We have to assess what our main problems is with our team. Is it a lack of talent? Did we have too many injuries? Did we bring in the wrong personnel? I can honestly say yes to all of those. Julio and Roddy were injured, Baker, Johnson out of the season, Biermann out for the season, Weatherspoon constantly injured. A lack of coaching and experience for our rookies which was a mistake by the regime. Stephen Nicolas, Thomas Decoud, Asante Samuel, Garrett Reynolds all had problems. We lost a lot of close games and when all hope was lost were blown out in a lot of big games. Because of this we assess that our team had bad coaching, inexperienced players, and too many injuries. So we have to address these problems.
And I believe we have. We trimmed fat definitely releasing the four who had problems and brought in new talent with new coaching. Brian Cox, Mike Tice, Scott Pioli, all have talent creating a strong line of people that just didn't fit with the right regimes. We brought in Carimi, Soliai, Asamoah, Tyson Jackson, Javier Arenas, and Devin Hester to shore up our O Line problems, D Line run prevention, as well as depth for our cornerbacks and O Line, and the best kick returner in the game. Then we were given 3 extra compensatory picks on top of what we needed.
We have a 53 man roster and we shored up a lot of depth by resigning Babs, Peters, Jerry, Johnson and Hawley. That's a lot of work done to our team and it does shore up a lot of holes. Which brings us to the next situation. What to do in the draft?
In an ideal world we'll hit on every single one of our picks and they all become Hall of Famers. Not likely to happen. So we have to think about what our holes now are followed by who on our roster makes the grade. Right now we have 60 people on roster plus 10 picks. Folks, 10 picks are not making the final roster. There's no point in bringing in talent just to cut them later on this year. Just look at Chris Harper. A 4th round pick who was cut by the Superbowl champions. We wanted him to replace Roddy eventually. Last year was rough but, if there is a silver lining our depth has gotten better because our rookies played. Trufant, Bartu, Alford, Toilolo, Worrilow all contributed in some way. Everyone is talking about trading down but, I don't see the point, every pick has a risk/bust factor on them and bringing in more people who may or may not fit our scheme just makes more issues than we want.
Besides reports have it that everyone wants to trade down. In such a "deep" draft why does everyone want to trade down then? That must mean that everyone is basically willing to take an offer that may not be what they were looking for. So it could also mean that because of the ideology that we can score the prospect we want for less.
Our holes are simple rushing linebacker, tackle, free safety, tight end. We have ten picks you don't think that can be addressed and find a starter/depth in there with all those picks? With that in mind here is my latest mock draft
Falcons trade up to 2 by trading their 6, 68, and next years 2nd for Jadeveon Clowney. Beat the drum on Khalil Mack. He's a very talented individual, he's still not Clowney. I don't care what the draft guys say. The GM's of the world know how good he is. You don't get 12 tackles for loss in your rookie year if you're not special. Also basing this off of Dolphins last year trade from 12 to 3 where they gave up their 1 & 2. Let's assume that the 2 is just for those who believe it was a fluke.
1st pick- Jadeveon Clowney: the best defensive prospect in years.
2nd round pick- LaMarcus Joyner : the 3rd best safety in the draft
4th round pick: C.J. Fiedorowicz: At the very worst he's a solid blocking tight end that can get space
4th round pick: Lache Seastrunk: the most underrated running back in the draft
5th round pick: Cyril Richardson: With some development he's a replacement for Justin Blalock
6th round pick: Preston Brown: Depth at LB
7th round pick: Zach Kerr Depth at NT
7th round pick: Chandler Katanzaro in case Matt Bryant is too expensive
7th round pick: Ryan Hewitt: H Back and possible starter at FB
Now take a look at that draft list and realize that basically anyone from Fiedorowicz and down is able to be cut this year. There is maybe 9 spots overall that is up for grabs. You really think 10 picks is going to grab 9 spots along with our Free Agents? Trade up, it's possibly the smartest thing we can do.