The Falcons are easily one of the most interesting teams in this year’s NFL Draft, solely because seemingly every option is possible. In a lot of ways, this debate has made for a very lively and fun draft season in Atlanta, and that’s no different here at The Falcoholic.
Some favor Justin Fields. Others are passionately pro Kyle Pitts. But there is one option that has drawn a lot of attention from fans looking for this team to address many needs at once: Trading back.
With less than a month until the draft begins, it’s time to dive deeper into this particular option on the table. I’ve asked the great football minds at the Falcoholic to put together the trade haul each would be asking for if he or she were shopping the #4 overall pick.
Let the negotiations begin!
4th overall to DEN for 2021 1st round (9th), 2021 2nd (40th), 2021 3rd (71st), 2022 1st
This largely came from me tinkering with this particular trade scenario numerous times in draft simulators. A trade package such as this will allow the Falcons to have two selections in the second and third rounds while also having a chance to gain a first-rounder next year that will likely be around the middle of that round. In total, the Falcons will have five selections in the top 71 overall picks. In my opinion, the flexibility to go BPA with these particular selections will be too good to pass up. Or ,if they choose to draft for need, running back, offensive line, edge rusher, and safety can all be addressed with a likely year-one starter. Not to mention, if they are still able to somehow grab their QB of the future with that ninth overall pick, they will still have plenty of wiggle room to address the rest of the roster. - Eric Robinson
4th overall to Denver for 2021 1st, 2021 3rd, 2022 1st, 2022 2nd
If you’re going to move down, you’re going to have to accept that you’re probably not getting your preferred quarterback, because Denver and Carolina are going to snap them up. If Terry Fontenot and company make their peace with that and are more interested in stocking up additional selections, this move keeps them in the top 10 while picking up a balanced haul. The question is whether it’ll prove to be enough to move Terry away from his best player available.
Atlanta picks up an additional selection on the draft’s second day, bringing their pick total in 2021 to 10 and giving them a shot at another immediate starter. Atlanta focuses on bringing in two selections in 2022 beyond that, giving them early picks if Denver once again stinks (I’d guess they will, personally) and setting them up to have a ton of selections again next year when they will hopefully have a little more financial freedom to bolster the roster and sign a jumbo-sized draft class. Having back-to-back classes with potentially close to 10 picks each allows you to retool your roster significantly, and Atlanta is still probably looking at a top defender or offensive lineman with pick #9. If you have to move down, I’d hope for at least this much in return, or if you’re a bigger fan of stocking the cabinets in 2021, Eric’s breakdown above. - Dave Choate
4th overall to New England for 2021 1st (15th), 2022 1st, 2022 3rd, 2023 1st
Honestly, I also think trading with Denver would be an ideal move, but since Eric and Dave already eloquently laid out everything that entails (including the benefits and why it’s so logical), I’ll go in a different direction with my submission. If this specific package of picks looks familiar that’s because it is — it’s exactly the package the San Francisco 49ers gave Miami to move from pick 12 to pick 3 (presumably for a quarterback).
The Patriots are also very much in the market for their own quarterback, after struggling at the position in the first year of the post-Tom Brady era last season. This package by all means is weighed very heavily in Atlanta’s favor on the draft value chart, but consider that as part of the unspoken “quarterback tax” which entails New England jumping to take the guy whom they hope will lead their franchise for the next decade.
The 49ers set the precedent for what it takes to move into the top of the draft in what is presumably a very good QB class this year. At 4, New England will have the chance to select one of Trey Lance or Justin Fields (or have their pick of either if San Fran takes Mac Jones), but they will need to match San Francisco’s offer for that opportunity. For their troubles, Atlanta would still be able to take an impact defensive player at 15 while stacking their draft chest with premium picks over the next two years. - Adnan Ikic
4th overall to Minnesota for 2021 1st (14th), 2021 4th, 2022 1st, 2023 1st
A sneaky team that I think could be interested in moving up for a possible franchise quarterback is the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings have already invested a lot in their offense, practically being set for several years at wide receiver with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, running back with Dalvin Cook and tight end with Irv Smith Jr. That leaves the quarterback position where they currently have Kirk Cousins who, although not awful, isn’t going to get Minnesota to where they want to be. Imagine having Justin Fields or Trey Lance inserted into that lineup — that’s a fun offense, and I’m sure the Vikings are well aware of what could be.
A move up with the Falcons would secure one of the top quarterbacks in the draft for the Vikings, and also provide the Falcons with draft capital for the future and still net them a solid selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. Although the Vikings lack a second-round pick in this year’s draft, they do have two third-round picks and four fourth-round picks which makes them a little more flexible if Falcons’ brass wants more immediate picks in a trade scenario. - Evan Birchfield
4th overall to Pittsburgh for 2021 1st (24th), 2021 2nd (55th), 2021 4th (128th), 2021 4th (140th), 2022 1st, 2022 3rd, 2022 5th
If the Falcons are going to trade down, might as well go for it all, right? Barring a massive bidding war kicking up as the draft nears, which remains possible, I think Atlanta’s biggest haul comes from a team further down the draft who people aren’t really talking about yet. To me, Pittsburgh fits that bill. Ben Roethlisberger is back for another year, but - like the Saints in recent years - it seems like there is a ceiling at the quarterback position for a team that believes it has a Super Bowl roster. The Steelers have really invested on defense, and have one of the best units in the league on that side of the ball, which I think would free them up to give away this much draft capital to take the best option possible to build around for the future. Not sure they'd trip over their feet to agree to this deal, but I don’t think it’s off the table.
For Atlanta, the biggest loss here is the missed opportunity to land one of the true elite players in this draft. But I think we tend to overrate that a little bit in the pre-draft process. Elite players have been drafted all over the place throughout the league’s history, and this haul gives the Falcons the best chance to really reset the roster in about two draft cycles. They would have a little bit of a “hot corner” affect in this way too by owning a high pick and a low pick in concurrent rounds. It’s absolutely debatable that the Falcons’ top choice is trading back, but draft history does supports a scattered-shot style approach. This would give Atlanta a lot of draft ammo. - William McFadden
4th overall and 2021 5th (183) to Washington for 2021 1st (19), 2021 2nd (51), 2021 3rd (74), 2021 4th (124) and 2022 1st
Spoiler alert: this is the trade package I’m putting together for my next mock draft, which will be coming out later this week. The other folks in this roundtable have done a great job covering just about all the logical trade options for the Falcons—outside of perhaps Chicago—so I wanted to cover something a little bit different. I do think the most likely trade partner is Denver at 9, but we shouldn’t discount any of these other suitors either.
Washington is in a unique situation to make this deal because they possess an additional third-round pick in 2021—they can give up the bounty of picks in this offer and still have a Day 2 pick remaining, along with four Day 3 selections. It’s obviously a huge price to pay, but jumping up 15 spots into the top 5 for a QB will demand that sort of price. The Falcons will miss out on the top-10 talent in the class in exchange for a bounty of Day 2 selections—where the depth of this class resides—an extra fourth-rounder, and a 2022 1st. This deal is skewed towards Atlanta, but it’ll have to be to convince the team to drop so far in the draft order. - Kevin Knight