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Report: DT Da’Ron Payne is Atlanta’s top draft target

It’s reported the team is willing to trade up and get him.

CFP National Championship presented by AT&T - Alabama v Georgia Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

We might just have an idea of where Atlanta’s head is at heading into this draft cycle.

D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on his podcast, The Bow Tie Chronicles, that the Falcons are eyeing Alabama DT Da’Ron Payne as their top target heading into Thursday, and are willing to move up to get him.

D-Led says the team is hoping a run of quarterbacks early pushes some talent down the board, most notably the defensive tackle from Bama.

They can’t get Vita Vea down; he’s not going [at pick 26], but Da’Ron Payne is the one they want to get. If he can get within striking distance, we know that the Falcons will go up and get him...

If you see Payne get past the Chargers at 17, the Falcons will be on the phone at that point, and that’s who they’ll get in the draft in the first round.

It’s been reported the Seattle Seahawks, who sit at pick 18, are interested in moving down the board, and Atlanta just negotiated a trade with them last year to move up a couple of spots to get DE Takkarist McKinley. The two organizations also had talks this past March about a trade for DE Michael Bennett, though nothing came to fruition there.

It’s feasible that the team could negotiate another trade with the Seahawks in this year’s cycle, and the move would make a ton of sense for what Atlanta needs. They hosted Payne on a visit earlier this month.

You can check out Kevin Knight’s scouting report on Payne here, and follow along with The Falcoholic through draft weekend for up-to-the-minute coverage on the team’s draft decisions.

We’ll see if the smoke here turns to Falcon-y fire, and Payne is indeed the pick.