The Atlanta Falcons have reportedly expressed interest to move up within the top five in order to select the Florida edge rusher.
Nonetheless, the team has reportedly shown interest in moving up in order to take one of the draft’s top prospects.
From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
"… it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Falcons will consider trading up to try and land Florida defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., who was recruited by head coach Dan Quinn and played two seasons for him in Gainesville, Fla.[Falcons general manager Thomas] Dimitroff said the franchise is considering all of their options.“There is a lot of discussions already about moving both ways with a lot of our peers in the league,” Dimitroff said. “A lot of it has to do with what goes down with the top three picks. That’s going to set the tone for how much movement there is into the top 10 and even in the top five.”"
First of all, it should be noted that there is a likely chance that this is a smokescreen by Dimitroff and the Falcons. An expressed interest in Fowler or in any other edge rusher could inspire a team to trade ahead of the Falcons in order to take a player like Fowler, which may play into the Falcons’ hand depending on their draft board. Dimitroff was purposely vague when discussing the possibility of taking the Florida prospect, and he left all options open.
With that being said, it would be unwise for the Falcons to trade up for Fowler when the difference between Fowler and the other edge rushing prospects is negligible, at least compared to how much Dimitroff would have to give up for him.
It is likely that at least two of either Missouri’s Shane Ray, Nebraska’s Randy Gregory or Clemson’s Vic Beasley will be ripe for the plucking for the Falcons at eight, and with a steep drop off in prospect talent coming in at around nine, the Falcons could convince a team to trade up and get Kentucky’s Bud Dupree later in the draft while also netting a possible second high round pick either this year or next.
The Falcons would be in the opposite position with trading up for Fowler, likely being forced to give a team like Jacksonville or Oakland significantly more value than what the third or fourth pick can provide.
It is the wrong move for the Falcons to trade up, but it is the right move to say that they are interested. Anything to cloud the perception of their draft board is the right thing to do for the Falcons to take advantage of less intelligent front offices.
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