We made it. Somehow in a sea of shut down sports and grim pandemic news, the NFL has cobbled together a virtual NFL Draft, one that promises to be entertaining and lively even if it’s a total catastrophe. Our Falcons, of course, figure to be right in the thick of it, given the number of trade rumors they’ve been linked to.
This is by no means an exhaustive list—there are rumors from unreliable reporters and simply outlandish garbage we didn’t bother to surface for you guys—but it’s a pretty good roundup of the trade rumors we’ve seen and heard to this point. Surely we’ll hear more today, but this will help you get caught up if you’ve been a little busy navigating an uncertain world of late.
You thought Atlanta would get through this whole thing without at least trying to nab the best pass rusher in the draft? Are you daft?
Taylor is a tremendous athlete with some questions about instincts and readiness, putting him in roughly the same boat as De’Vondre Campbell years ago. If the Falcons actually have a 2nd and/or 3rd round pick, Taylor and Wyoming’s Logan Wilson figure to be on their radar.
There’s little question the Falcons do have a level of interest in trading up, because Thomas Dimitroff always has interest in trading up. If the effect of all these overlapping, insane rumors is that it makes a team that had been thinking about staying pat go into overdrive, though, that probably mostly helps this team get better players to fall their way. Sneaky.
Henderson is almost too good of a fit for the Falcons, and we all know they passed up on similar good fit and Florida product Taven Bryan a little while ago. I’m skeptical they’d give up a lot to go up and get the draft’s consensus 2nd or 3rd best cornerback, but the need there is legitimate and Henderson’s such a Dan Quinn player you can’t rule it out.
Similarly, the rumors that they’d go even higher for Jeff Okudah make sense because of the team’s massive need and because Okudah has the potential to be so very good. Are the Falcons really going to give up a ton of draft capital to go get a corner after cutting ties with Desmond Trufant, making that a hugely costly acquisition? I’m still a little dubious.
Kinlaw is a player who isn’t getting quite as much buzz in the final days before the draft, but he’s probably my favorite prospect not named Jeff Okudah or Chase Young. Kinlaw’s sky-high potential as an interior pass rusher makes him an awesome potential pairing with Grady Jarrett, and while his name hasn’t come up as often as other players, you have to think Atlanta would at least consider a short hop up to get him if he’s hanging around in teh teens.
It might be Okudah, Clemson hybrid defender Isaiah Simmons, or Young, but the Falcons trading into the top 5 this year is a persistent rumor. Atlanta may not love next year’s draft class, the team’s brass may be desperate to keep their jobs by landing an elite defender, or they may simply think the pandemic increases the chances that everything is going to go sideways and everything beyond this draft class is on real shaky ground. Any way you slice it, it might behoove the team to get a great player now rather than wait, if you’re inclined to think that way.
We’ve heard Atlanta buzz about trade up before and then stay where they are. If that’s the case again this year, either because they were never that serious about a deal or because they couldn’t get one done, Peter King’s guess that they’d take Chaisson at 16 probably has legs. He’s an interesting prospect as a potentially terrific pass rusher, and as Dan Quinn is fond of saying, you can never have enough of those.
Never put anything past the Falcons, but Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley are here and the team has interesting young wideouts to step up in roles behind them. I could definitely see a receiver, but a 1st or 2nd round option with other holes in a particularly deep class sounds very unlikely to me.
This certainly seems like the most ludicrous possibility on this list. Matt Ryan is going to be 35, but we’ve seen a number of quality quarterback play at a high level well beyond that age of late, and you can’t realistically move on from him until 2022 because of his cap hits. Drafting a guy to sit merrily on the bench for at least two seasons in a do-or-die year feels like an insane decision.
Not impossible, though. I still fear it.
Also, the Falcons are being rumored in multiple places to be looking at a tackle in the top 10. That sounds so outlandish a year after they drafted Kaleb McGary and with Jake Matthews on a huge deal that I’m not even going to seriously consider it, if only for my own mental health.
Weigh in on these rumors and let us know what you think are the most likely outcomes!