What's the Falcons plan, man?

Mike Bell
April 21, 2020 - 3:55 pm
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WHAT'S THE FALCONS PLAN, MAN? 

People get on me for all the mock drafts I've done over the years. But these days with everyone on lockdown and nothing else to do a lot of you guys are playing armchair GM too! And although the mock draft websites aren't perfect, (some valuations are all over the place) I'd like to think that going into this year's NFL cyber draft, Falcons fans know a lot more about the draft class than ever before!

So what's the Falcons draft plan this week? Let’s look at the strategies and the dudes we need and if they'll be available.

TRADE UP!

Thomas Dimitroff likes to move up. We did so in 2011 moving up 20 spots for Julio Jones.  Since then we have played in 2 NFC Championships and almost won a title with him. He's a Hall of Famer and one of the top players in the league every year. We also had 3 years (2013-2015) of bad football since the draft cupboards were bare and we missed on the linemen we selected in those drafts.  We are also very super top heavy with the cap over Julio’s twice bumped contract. But in that entire 2011 draft class there were only 2 other guys not named Julio or AJ Green that ever made a Pro Bowl at wide out. If we earmark one guy as that generational talent, then we have to pull the trigger.

We moved up 8 spots for Desmond Trufant in 2013. He was solid if not spectacular, (not on the field for the run to SB 51 with an injury). He's now a Lion. The Falcons moved up last year twice in the 4th round for Kendall Sheffield and John Cominsky and so far in a small sample size those moves look like a good idea.

Because of the Falcons past draft history, some of the media types (mostly outside ATL) are pumping out stories about the Falcons looking to move up... Forget Chase Young. There's no way the Skins are giving him up. If the Falcons are seriously looking to jump into the Top 5 then you can kiss all the rest of their 2020 draft picks goodbye.  What if they instead just move up from 16 to inside the Top 10?   Well you still gotta give to get. I'll mortgage a piece of 2021 if I'm Falcons head coach Dan Quinn and General Manager Thomas Dimitroff.  If you’re them you gotta make the playoffs this year as next year is not promised to either one of them right now.

But is one player the difference maker that gets the Falcons back to the Playoffs?

Clemson's LB Isaiah Simmons can play all over the field and would be the plug in playmaker on defense we've sorely lacked in recent years outside of Deion Jones (Debo) and a healthy Keanu Neal.

Ohio State's defensive back Jeff Okuda would be the best corner on the team, although some reports say many GM's around the league say Florida’s CJ Henderson is a better cover man and just needs to work on his tackling.

Dan Quinn told Carl Dukes and I on a recent Dukes and Bell Show that this is a super rich defensive tackle draft class. You could move up for Auburn's Derrick Brown and you may have to move up for South Caronlina’s Javon Kinlaw. 

Are Henderson or Kinlaw the difference maker the Falcons need this year?  That question is probably predicated on the other guys already here. Can Keanu Neal play a full season?  Will Tak McKinley be healthy and be the pass rusher he was supposed to be?  Can Foye Oluokun have an impact at weakside LB?   If the answers to all these questions are “Yes” then we should  giddy up, trade up, and RISE UP!

 

STAY PUT! FIND 3 STARTERS!

This is where I lean. Lets hope 3 QBs and 3 WRs and at least 2 OTs go in the first 15 picks. Then we might not have to do anything to snag Kinlaw. However I still think we can only get CJ Henderson by trading up. Does Dan Quinn really like LSU linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson? Peter King of NBC Sports thinks that's what the Falcons will do. With Chaisson the buzzwords are upside and raw.  The downside?  He missed a season at LSU with an ACL injury.   

I really like Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray. In this year's draft he’s thought of as a poor man's Isaiah Simmons. LSU middle linebacker Patrick Queen will also most likely there for the Falcons at 16 if they really want a serious upgrade at linebacker.

 

TRADE DOWN: NOT SEXY….COULD WE REPEAT THE 2016 KILLER DRAFT?

Moving down is not really in our draft DNA but humor me for a second. We could move down into the last 4 or 5 spots in the first round. We can still get a quality cornerback like Alabama's Trevon Diggs or a defensive tackle like Ross Blacklock from TCU.  Or wait for it..... a CENTER!!! I'm pretty sure this would never happen but imagine drafting Michigan's Cesar Ruiz, throw him at guard this year and you have your heir apparent at center for Alex Mack. I get the impression from Quinn he thinks somebody in the building can win the left guard job and not stink. But with a trade down and an extra 2nd or 3rd round pick you can cover all your bases. NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah told us it's a top heavy draft (as in the first 100 players). So we could snag an Outside Linebacker, Cornerback, and a Safety who are all listed as top 100 players for this year’s draft by trading back.  Not sexy, but could ultimately be long term win for the Falcons. 

 

SO WHAT'S IT GONNA BE?

I think we try and find a way to bag CJ Henderson or Javon Kinlaw. Me? I'd stay at 16 and (in Arthur Blank's voice) FIND 3 STARTERS!