When Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan opted to go for the win instead of forcing the game into overtime against the Atlanta Falcons, he allowed rookie cornerback Desmond Trufant an opportunity to not only knock down the pass and preserve a 27-26 victory, but he also allowed Trufant to swat away any chances for the Falcons to draft Jadeveon Clowney.
With the Redskins falling to a 3-11 record and the win moving the Falcons to a 4-10 record, the Redskins now have the second pick overall in the 2014 NFL Draft with the Falcons falling to the fifth pick overall.
In a season where general manager Thomas Dimitroff and owner Arthur Blank have seen their defense completely collapse in almost every single game this year, there is no question that they had their eyes on the stalwart defensive end Clowney, who is considered by many to be one those rare players who could be a game-changer for a long time.
The Falcons’ defense in 2013 has struggled in all categories. From their lack of pressure to their inability to create turnovers to their lack of coverage, the Falcons needed a player that could make an impact and turn their defense completely around. That guy was supposed to be Clowney, but instead of owning the No. 2 pick, the Falcons will have slim to zero chances of nabbing Clowney at No. 5.
One thing that is clearly in the favor for the Falcons are their two remaining games, which are both against playoff bound teams in the San Francisco 49ers and their division rivals the Carolina Panthers. It is clear that the Falcons will most likely play many of their young players, as they prepare for next season. With this in mind, they will be considered heavy underdogs, which is exactly what Falcons fans all around should hope for.
If the Falcons remain at No. 5, many have assumed that they would take offensive tackle Jake Matthews, which is also a huge need for an offensive line that has been just miserable this year.
The Falcons’ latest victory may have cost them a chance to draft Clowney, a player that has the potential to be one of the greatest players at his position, respectively. Although Clowney is having a so-so year and there is a huge risk drafting him due to his lack of “motivation” at times, the Falcons are at a point where they need to draft correctly, as their past defensive players drafted have not turned out so great.
In the end, the Falcons’ victory was a blow to their chances of drafting Clowney, and may be the reason the Falcons’ defense doesn’t turn around in 2014.