Guessing what the Falcons are up to around draft time has always been a fool's errand. With just over 24 hours to go until the 2015 NFL Draft, the Falcons are giving off more smoke than a Dodge Dart with a squirrel in the engine block.
Pick your source and you've heard a report that the Falcons are interested in Todd Gurley, won't be taking him, are most interested in Dante Fowler, are really more interested in Vic Beasley, have bumped Shane Ray off their draft board or will select him at #8, have bumped Randy Gregory off their draft board or will select him at #8, or that they're trading up for USC defensive tackle Leonard Williams. They may trade up to #3, #4, #5...who knows. The most interesting rumor of the day has to be Ray still going to the Falcons at #8, and please disregard the typo in this tweet.
Heard that Falcons told Missouri DE S. Ray that they will draft him 7th overall, The Packers are targeting LB D. Perryman with the (2 of 3)— Russell Lande (@RUSSLANDE) April 29, 2015
The latest from Ian Rapoport actually has the Falcons potentially moving down. I would be beyond baffled if the Falcons were angling to get lower in pursuit of an offensive lineman, but when the picture's so muddled, ruling anything out seems like a bad idea.
Its interesting. Rumors swirl that #Falcons may trade up for a pass-rusher. Most teams I talk to think they trade back & take an O-lineman— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 29, 2015
A word on trading down: I'm not opposed to it, this year, depending on how the draft shakes out in front of Atlanta. This team could use more picks, as we'd all agree, and while I legitimately like Bud Dupree, the team may well see better value in nabbing their left guard of the future and picking up an edge option in the second round. If push comes to shove and that's what happens, it won't be upsetting.
One of the myriad threads out there will lead you to the truth, but it's impossible to know which one, and the draft fatigue has set in to the point where I no longer even care to guess which one it is. We can reasonably infer that Gregory and Ray are probably not in play at #8—especially Gregory—which lends some credence to the idea that the Falcons may move off of the pick if they're not overly fond of Dupree and/or Todd Gurley. Beyond that, though, we're all only guessing.
Of course, that means the Falcons have done their jobs exceedingly well leading up to the draft, since teams hate to telegraph their intentions to potential trade partners. With reporters, bloggers and rumormongers sending out signals about a dozen different possibilities—and several teams believing the Falcons are just going to trade down—they have a lot of latitude to move in any direction they like without worrying what other teams are going to do to try to jump in front of them. I just hope they do equally well actually making the selection.