The Atlanta Falcons are picking 17th overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, and they figure to be in an interesting spot. The team will be picking smack in the middle of the first round, and they might have a chance to land a falling prospect if all goes well. However, there is a chance that the team will not have any of their top prospects still on the board when they go to pick, so trading down should be an option for the team.
The Falcons are reportedly looking to take Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee with their pick in the first round, but the athletic linebacker may not make it to their pick. A few teams ahead of them need a linebacker including the Miami Dolphins and the Oakland Raiders, and the latter may elect to take him given their front office’s penchant for particularly athletic players. If that happens and Shaq Lawson is off the board as well, the Falcons will be in a spot where they will have to reach for a player or trade down.
The good news for the team is that there should be plenty of demand for their pick, especially if Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch is still on the board. Reportedly, the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets are interested in the signal caller, so some team may decide to move ahead of them to try and steal Lynch from the clubs. Notably, the Denver Broncos need a quarterback, and if they have enough interest, moving up from 31 could intrigue them.
As for the Falcons, they would likely move down and take another one of their favorite prospects. The team likes Florida safety Keanu Neal and also Clemson defensive end Kevin Dodd, and it is quite possible that one of them will be available in the late first round. The only team that might seriously consider Neal is the Pittsburgh Steelers, while Dodd may fall if some of the other major defensive line prospects fall.
It is certainly possible for the Falcons to pick up some extra assets and still get one of their top targets in the draft. The team should certainly consider doing this. I would not be surprised at all if they move down on draft day as Scott Pioli used to work for the New England Patriots, and their strategy is to almost always trade down.