If you were to scan across the various mock drafts coming out these days, you'd notice a theme resonating through many of them: the Falcons are likely to trade up. In most of these cases, they're trading up to either the 1 or 2 spot in order to get Clowney or Mack. In either of those scenarios, it is highly likely that the Falcons would have to part ways with this years 2nd round pick, and possibly more. But what if Dimitroff bucks the trend and does something few are expecting and tries to trade back? For many - including myself - the idea of stockpiling picks in this draft class sounds great, and depending on how the draft plays out, it may be the preferred option.
Looking at the first 5 picks, one would think that a QB or 2 will go ahead of us, leaving us with one of Matthews/Robinson/Mack/Clowney to pick up. But what if those four guys are gone by the time we pick at 6? It's a realistic possibility, and for me, one that makes the trade back option far more attractive. But in order to do that, we need to consider who might trade with us and for what reason? If we do trade back, what kind of compensation could we expect in return? And if we trade back, who might we target with that 1st round pick?
Potential Trade #1: Trade back with Titans to 11
Trade value: ATL gets Titans 1st and 2nd, TEN gets Falcons 1st and 4th
Potential Target for Titans: Blake Bortles (QB)
Potential Target for Falcons: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (FS)
On paper, this may not be the first team that jumps to mind, but depending on what the Titans think about Jake Locker, this could be a very real possibility. The Titans may be strongly considering whether or not Locker is their QB of the future based on nothing more than whether or not he can stay healthy. While they could sit and wait for a QB to fall to them or even look for one in the second round, both scenarios present significant risk. If the first four or five teams opt to not draft a QB, there's a strong possibility that either Tampa Bay or Minnesota will be interested in taking a QB ahead of the Titans - including one that the Titans may have their eyes on. If they opt to wait until their second round pick, the same risk is there with no less than 6 QB needy teams drafting ahead of them. Of course, all of this hinges on how high/low the Titans are on Locker.
For the Falcons, getting out of the top 10 makes a pick like Clinton Dix more palatable. He's arguably the best safety in this draft class and while our top needs appear to be an edge rusher and an offensive tackle, there are guys in the early second we can take to fill those needs.
Potential Trade #2: Trade back with Rams to 13
Trade value: ATL gets Rams 1st (13) and 2nd, STL gets Falcons 1st
Potential Target for Rams: Sammy Watkins (WR)
Potential Target for Falcons: Zack Martin (OT)
Talk about a turning of the tides: the Rams are known for trading back and the Falcons trading up. But in this scenario, the Rams finally cash in on some of the draft stock they've built up to add a top-notch weapon to their offense. In this scenario, I can see the Rams taking Greg Robinson with their #2 pick. With Jake Long coming off of an ACL injury, they need someone who can start at LT until Long is healthy. With a need at RT as well, Robinson can slide over when Long returns. But getting a player like Watkins to pair with Tavon Austin would give the Rams two good weapons for Sam Bradford, while Robinson will help shore up their protection. Another top-tier weapon could be what puts them in contention for the NFC West.
For the Falcons, getting a player like Martin at 13 makes more sense than drafting him at 6. He can be a day 1 starter at RT, and has the quickness and experience to play at LT. The Falcons loved him at the Senior Bowl, so he could be a sleeper pick if the Falcons can trade out of the top 10.
Potential Trade #3: Trade back with Bills at 9
Trade value: ATL gets Bills 1st, 3rd and 5th, BUF gets Falcons 1st
Potential Target for Bills: Sammy Watkins (WR)
Potential Target for Falcons: Anthony Barr (OLB)
The Bills need a #1 receiver, and Watkins is clearly the best of this draft class. But why would the Bills make this trade when they're only 3 spots back? Because the Bucs are picking ahead of them. If Watkins makes it out of the top-5, there is almost no chance that TB would pass on this player - especially since they have gotten rid of Mike Williams. While Mike Evans looks to be a great receiver as well, the Bills may decide that they want the best in this class if the cost is reasonable.
For the Falcons, they can still fill a position of need with Barr - who is a player with big potential, but may be a more reasonable pick at 9. Alternately, the Falcons could look towards Taylor Lewan or even Clinton-Dix with this pick.
There are other scenarios where the Falcons could trade back even further - maybe outside of the top 20 - but those seem far less likely and prohibitively expensive for the trading teams. But depending on how the first five picks play out, I can easily see the Falcons being in a prime position to entertain offers from any of the aforementioned teams. And in a draft class this deep, picking up an extra 2nd or 3rd - or even more - could be hugely helpful for a team that has several positions of need.
What do you think? Can the Falcons find a trade partner at 6, and should they?