The Falcons have bulked up at defensive tackle to the extent that they arguably have no immediate need at the position. Grady Jarrett is one of the best young DTs in the NFL and the team has run-stopping and pass rushing options between the likes of Tyeler Davison, Jack Crawford, Deadrin Senat and Ra’Shede Hageman, and their rotation is already better on paper than it was a year ago. That said, they’d blow up some of that depth in a heartbeat to add Ed Oliver, and it appears we can’t dismiss that possibility just yet.
Tony Pauline at Draft Analyst has the same kind of spotty track record everyone does making predictions this time of year, but he’s nailed a handful of Falcons predictions over the years, including the move up for Takk McKinley in 2017. Last Thursday, he specifically linked Atlanta to a move up for Ed Oliver, a draft rumor that has never entirely gone away.
Assuming the interest is genuine--and Pauline himself suggests it's far from a lock to happen--the question is what it would take to get there. The Jets have been linked to Oliver in recent days, but the Jets also seem desperate to move down and may be trying to gin up interest. The Raiders at #4, Buccaneers at #5, Jaguars at #7, and Bills at #8 are all threats to take Oliver, too, and the Falcons would have to probably at least get to #8 to get him. They might have to go as high as #3, which would be a costly sort of move to make, and I still think they'd be hesitant to do anything that will cost them picks next year.
I wouldn’t argue against Oliver being worth the cost, because if he lives up to his billing as Aaron Donald Lite this team will have one of the most lethal defensive tackle duos in the NFL in a league where great interior offensive linemen are increasingly hard to come by. The Falcons have taken pains to take care of short-term needs in case they do make a move up, but it’ll ultimately depend on the cost to get this thing done if Oliver is the guy that Thomas Dimitroff declared he knew the team wanted last week.
Stay tuned, and we’ll see if this is more than just the smoke we’re accustomed to seeing this time of year.