The NFL Draft is quickly approaching – just nine days away for those keeping count. Players are back in team facilities, with OTA's beginning across the league. The busiest NFL offseason in recent memory has slowed down as the superstar-trade frenzy has run its course.
So far, the top ten picks have stood pat after the Seahawks acquired the ninth pick from the Broncos in the Russell Wilson trade. That may change on draft night, and in the days leading up to it, as teams look to supplant others, to select a potential superstar or contributor.
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The Falcons have five picks in the top 82 and needs at almost every position. Still, with that amount of capital, a draft-day trade is likely.
Here are moves the Falcons could make on draft day:
Trade down from eight with Green Bay Packers
Falcons trade No. 8 for Packers No. 22 and No. 53
The Packers gained the No. 22 pick in addition to other compensation when they traded All-Pro receiver Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders. The Packers' window to win a Super Bowl is not getting any bigger as Aaron Rodgers grows older and arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL just walked out of the door. The Packers make a splash and trade up to No. 8, where they can snag one of the top tackles in the draft, an edge rusher, or the top receiver. Rodgers is ecstatic.
Trade up with Houston Texans
Falcons trade No. 8, No. 82 (Indianapolis), 2023 Third round pick for Texans No. 3
The Falcons personnel department was in full force at Cincinnati's Pro Day. Many believed that that was for the Falcons to see quarterback Desmond Ridder, which definitely could have played a part, but the Falcons may have also wanted another chance to talk with cornerback Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner.
Gardner did not work out at Cincinnati's pro day because he performed phenomenally at the NFL Combine. The pro day allows scouts to answer any lingering questions by having conversations with the player, teammates, coaches, and families at their pro day. The Falcons could have been doing that with Gardner in Cincinnati.
The Falcons move up ahead of the Jets to select Gardner and put together what will be one of the best cornerback duos in the NFL in Gardner and A.J. Terrell, or pounce on one of the top edge rushers to help their pass rush, which was second to last in the NFL in sacks last season.
Trade for A.J. Brown
Falcons trade: No. 43, No. 190, 2023 fourth round pick (Tennessee)
It has been well documented that Arthur Smith likes to have big physical wide receivers who earn yards after the catch and can serve as stout blockers in the run game. That style of play sounds a lot like A.J. Brown, who Smith coached in Tennessee. Brown has become one of the most promising receivers in the NFL. He is entering the final year of his contract and is reportedly looking for an extension before returning the field this season. He didn't report for Titans OTAs, removed "Tennessee" from his social media bio and released a flurry of cryptic tweets seemingly directed towards the Titans front office.
The Falcons and Titans make a blockbuster receiver in back-to-back off-seasons, and this time Smith is doing backflips, as he gets to reunite with Brown. The Falcons will need to likely release players or restructure deals to sign him to a multi-year extension.
Trade for DK Metcalf
Falcons trade: No. 43, 2023 fourth round pick (Tennessee)
Since Russell Wilson was traded to the Denver Broncos, Metcalf and Tyler Lockett have been the topic of many trade rumors in the NFL. It is believed that Metcalf could be moved at the right price, and, at 6-foot-3 228 pounds, with 4.3 speed, Metcalf is precisely the kind of receiver that Smith would love to have in his offense.
If this trade happened, the Falcons would need to confirm that Metcalf, who is in the final year of his rookie contract, would sign an extension and create space for him. Regardless, this move secures the wide receiver one the Falcons desperately need while holding on to their first-round draft pick.