What could the Atlanta Falcons possibly do in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft? Here are three legitimate options.
The anticipation is boiling over at this point, no doubt about it. As the days draw us closer to the draft, the speculation continues to grow as to what the Falcons may do in the first round. Currently picking at 14th overall, the Falcons may have a flexible draft strategy based on how their offseason has developed thanks to acquisitions on interior offensive line, defensive end, and tight end.
Today, I will present three reasonable options that the Falcons may utilize in the first round as a result of what has transpired and what I am hearing.
Option #1: Trade up into the top ten for a premier defensive lineman
This rumor has been developing for quite some time and it really picked up steam over the past few weeks. Trade partners such as the Detroit Lions at 8th overall, the Jacksonville Jaguars at 7th overall and even the New York Giants at 6th overall have been mentioned alongside the Falcons as teams that could be landing spots.
Thanks to the draft history/tactics of GM Thomas Dimitroff during his Falcons regime, a trade up to target a defensive lineman is definitely not out of the question. The defensive line class is a deep one and a scenario may play out for the Falcons where the ultra-athletic Ed Oliver may still be around after the first few picks or even an electric pass rusher in Florida State’s Brian Burns. It may not take much for the Falcons to slide up into the top-10 and jump ahead of teams such as the Bills, Packers, and Bengals that may also be looking for elite talent on the defensive line. Last year, the Cardinals moved up five spots from 15th to 10th overall with the Raiders to select quarterback Josh Rosen and only parted with a third and a fifth rounder. A similar trade for the Falcons may allow them to make a very critical move. The Falcons need to add some oomph to a defensive front that was more bad than good and this is definitely one way they could do so.
Option #2: Stay put at 14th overall and take the best lineman available
A safe bet could be placed on this option for the Falcons. Even with the offensive line signings this offseason and the extension of right tackle Ty Sambrailo, many feel that the offensive line will garner attention early on in the draft, quite possibly at 14th. Names such as Oklahoma’s Cody Ford, Alabama’s Jonah Williams, and Florida’s Jawaan Taylor have been prospects placed here. All three can very well be top-10 selections and we can also see a scenario where all three are still on the board for the Falcons at 14th.
While I highly doubt that top names on the defensive line will be available here, the Falcons will more likely have a selection of strong second-tier options to choose from to add to their defensive front. Keep eyes on Michigan’s Rashan Gary, Clemson’s Christian Wilkins and Clelin Ferrell, or Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat in this area. If the Falcons were to prioritize keeping picks and practice this option, they can have a variety of names to choose from.
Option #3: Draft at 14th overall and trade back into the latter part of the first round
I will say, the odds of this occurring is the lowest of these three options. To see this occur however would be very, very interesting. Coming into the draft, the Falcons have nine draft picks in their possession and their current salary cap state may prevent them from having the ability to sign all nine draft picks as well as give the well-deserved extensions to veterans Julio Jones and Grady Jarrett. Not to mention, the Falcons have only drafted six prospects in each of the past three drafts and have not selected nine collegiate players since 2014, during the Mike Smith era (shudders).
For a team that has veteran faces at critical positions such as quarterback, wide receiver, left tackle, center, guard and cornerback, the championship window won’t stay open forever. Normally, teams that are at that stage usually make roll-of-the-dice trades to add talent in key spots with somewhat of a blind eye towards the future.