Yes, we are definitely nearing draft day, because rumors of teams trading up, down and making pinky swears with each other are rampant throughout the internet and news reports. The latest, involving the Atlanta Falcons, came today from Sports Illustrated‘s Peter King, who tweeted that he’s hearing the Falcons are looking to trade up.
Hearing the Falcons are trying to trade up from number 30 in the first round, and not, obviously, for a quarterback.
— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) April 17, 2013
Since Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff has shown in the past he’s not afraid of making draft day deals, or giving up a bounty of draft picks to get the guy he wants (see: Julio Jones), the question isn’t whether or not this rumor bears any truth, but more to where the Falcons are looking to move and what they’d be willing to give up.
Atlanta’s primary needs are at cornerback, defensive line (specifically end), and speed at the linebacker position–throw in a tight end just to make it interesting.
The chances are that the Falcons could get a cornerback well worth having with the No. 30 pick, which is where they stand now, so the conjecture that they could be looking to move up to grab either CBs Xavier Rhodes (Florida State) or Desmond Trufant (Washington) really wouldn’t make sense unless the Falcons were only giving up a few lower round picks.
The number of pass rushers in this draft is deep, very deep. It’s possible that Atlanta could be looking to grab Sheldon Richardson (Missouri) or Star Lotuelei (Utah), both of whom are very athletic defensive tackles projected to go near the middle of the first round. But again, the drop-off to the DTs going near the end of the first round isn’t that much. It might not be worth it for Atlanta.
My feeling (and mind you, this is purely gut feeling, I have no inside information on this), is that the Falcons are looking to move up for one of two targets.
They either want to trade up to the middle first round to get tight end Tyler Eifert (Notre Dame), who is by far the best TE in the draft, and has nobody near his talent level coming in even the second round, or Atlanta is thinking of going big as they did two years ago with the Julio Jones deal, and want to move up to the front of the pack to nab CB Dee Milliner (Alabama).
As I said, the Falcons could wait until the 30th pick and get a very good cornerback, but Milliner is a special talent, and Julio Jones could have Dimitroff’s ear about how just how good Milliner can be.
The possibility of Atlanta making any type of move in the first round on draft day is pretty high, being has they have several compensatory picks as well as an extra fourth round pick this year.