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2016 NFL Draft: If the Falcons are going to trade down, this is the year to do it

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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this offseason, I opined that the Falcons were unlikely to trade down in the draft, simply because they haven't made a habit of doing so during Thomas Dimitroff and Scott Pioli's Falcons tenure. Besides, my thinking went, the team needs impact defenders, and there's likely to be someone available at #17 that will intrigue them.

In a piece over the weekend, though, D. Orlando Ledbetter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution argues that the "creative approach" that Thomas Dimitroff has discussed could very well involve a trade down.

Because the draft is so deep in defensive talent, the Falcons may be in a position to trade out of the 17th spot and scoop up additional draft picks.

Also, the Falcons are one of the teams very interested in the results of the medical re-check of Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith, who was considered a top-five player before suffering a knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1.

If Atlanta really is considering trading down, they would be making a tacit admission that either A) the guys they want aren't there at #17 or B) they value the players late in the first round/early in the second about as much as they would their player at #17. Considering they have multiple holes and are down to just five picks, the reasoning matters less than the execution, because I'd fully support trading down if the Falcons actually nab some quality players.

The best reason to stay at #17 would be if someone like Myles Jack fell there, or if a player the Falcons truly love (Darron Lee? Reggie Ragland?) was still kicking around. "Getting creative" could mean any number of things besides a trade down, but given the composition of the draft class and the Falcons' needs, maybe this will be the year they finally surprise us and actually do it.

Thoughts about the team trading down?