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2017 NFL Draft: Falcons make a trade down in intriguing mock scenario from ESPN

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The Falcons trade down. Wayyyy down.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

We’re nearing the actual 2017 NFL Draft, which means the mocks are going to be coming in hot and heavy over the next week-plus. That includes my annual mock, which was surprisingly on-point last year and probably will not be this year.

We are going to see some inventive spins on a tired formula, though, and Bill Barnwell at ESPN delivered the freshest one I’ve seen yet. In Barnwell’s mock, every pick is traded somewhere else, including the #31 overall for the Atlanta Falcons.

So what’s the trade?

Dolphins get: 1-31

Falcons get: 2-54, 2018 first-round pick

This is essentially the Falcons punting on getting players like Forrest Lamp (if he’s even there), Derek Rivers, and perhaps even Tanoh Kpassagnon and settling for whatever happens to be left in the back half of the second round. If that seems like a big deal, it’s because it is. This would essentially be the Falcons saying they don’t need a first round pick this year in favor of getting one in a class that might be a little deeper and suited to particular needs than this one.

Barnwell identifies guard as the need the Falcons would be passing on here in favor of chasing that particular dragon in 2018, but as I’ve mentioned before, I think pass rusher is the more likely focal point for Atlanta in the first round. Given that this is a much deeper class for those players than guards, perhaps Atlanta would still be tempted to move down in the belief that they could still get a player they love at #54.

Ultimately, I’m still of the belief that the Falcons won’t trade out of the first round, and if they do it’ll only be a few spots, not something this drastic. It’s an interesting thought, however, and perhaps there is some unlikely scenario in which the Falcons would like this trade more than the options they’ll have at #31.