If there is one thing that’s certain when it comes to the NFL Draft, its that it comes chock-full of surprises. While nobody, even the decision makers, knows what’s going to happen there is a lot of guessing done by some in the industry who have insight. Recently it was brought up in a discussion about a potential Atlanta Falcons trade up.
But what would that look like? Who would the target (or targets) be? How much would it cost to move up and how far? These are all questions I asked myself when thinking about a trade up situation.
Ed Oliver, Interior Defensive Lineman, Houston
Ed Oliver has been mocked to the Falcons for months now, so why trade up for him? When it comes down to it Oliver is a top five player in this year’s class and while he could slip is it worth the risk to wait and find out? In this situation the Falcons don’t think so; so, they make a move to secure their guy.
Oliver is an athletic freak who is quick enough off the snap to disrupt any play, pass or run. He has the power to bull rush the passer while also being able to bend the corner and use his speed. His hand usage could use some improvement but often he slides past the defenders so fast it isn’t a problem. Being an undersized interior defensive player will cause issues for many teams. His size should cause him to slip a little bit in the draft, but other than that, he is a great player who should succeed in the NFL, regardless of scheme.
As mentioned, size is a factor that will drive away some teams, but not the Falcons. This front office doesn’t care about size or standard for the position, they want athletic playmakers. They have shown this by drafting smaller athletic linebackers and look to continue the trend up in the tranches.
Jonah Williams, Offensive Lineman, Alabama
The Falcons have spent a good bit of money on perfecting the offensive line in free agency, but they might not be done yet. The offensive line is still definitely in the plans, it’s just a matter of when it is addressed. Linemen go quick and if you aren’t proactive you could miss it. For Williams, the team may need to get in front of Miami, who picks 13th one spot ahead of them.
Jonah Williams can play all three positions on the offensive line and be a good player at all. The two locks on the roster are Jake Mathews at left tackle and Alex Mack at center. Outside of that Williams could challenge at any of the positions.
There have been many talks about what Williams’ best position is at the next level. For me, I believe he can make a great offensive tackle because of how technically defined he is. Arm length will always be a concern as Williams will struggle to consistently reach defenders and get his hands on them. He struggles to fully extend his arms and it can be crucial if the defenders establish contact first. But with his great body control and foot quickness, Williams can truly dominate at the next level.
Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
I’m going to ride this train till I die; Brian Burns is an elite pass rusher and the Falcons need to keep him high on their draft board.
Let’s face it: Vic Beasley is nothing more than a rotational player at this point. What the team needs is someone to step in and be a high-level impact player from day one. You get that in Burns.
His size may scare some teams off as not many pass rushers have excelled at his current measurables. However, with his elite body control, bend, an arsenal of pass rush moves I don’t see his weight being a problem at the next level. As a run defender, he could struggle to hold ground and control the edge, but he makes up for it with his ability to get after the quarterback. Burns is a special specimen with all the traits wanted to excel at the next level. He added weight for the combine and still tested phenomenally. Adding him to this defensive line group would do wonders for our pass rush and could help put the team over the top.
A trade may ultimately not be in the card for the Falcons, but it had to be discussed going through draft scenarios. The likelihood of a talent like Oliver falling to them at 14 is unheard of and if they like someone enough pulling the trigger on a trade up is definitely the option. Who knows what the actual price would cost the team but any of the above names would be worth the asking price. Look for teams such as the Detroit Lions and the Denver Broncos to be trade candidates if the board doesn’t fall how they would like.
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