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Question of the Week: As the Falcons GM, would you trade up, down or remain at No. 8 in the draft?

The 2024 NFL Draft is two weeks away. The Falcons currently hold the No. 8 overall pick. Should they keep it?

DISCLAIMER: The statements and opinions regarding players and/or potential future players in the article below are those of the editorial staff and are not of the Atlanta Falcons' football personnel unless noted in a direct quote.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The 2024 NFL Draft is two weeks away. Teams are solidifying their boards. But trades can happen at any point. Nothing is truly set in stone, as the April 25-27 deadline looms in Detroit.

As it stands, the Atlanta Falcons have one first-round pick with No. 8 overall.

That brings up the latest Question of the Week: If you are the Falcons general manager, what would you do: trade up, trade down or stay put? The Falcons editorial staff of Tori McElhaney, Terrin Waack and Amna Subhan answer.


McELHANEY: The closer we get to the draft, the more I think the Falcons should trade down for two reasons.

1. Between the edge rushers of Dallas Turner, Jared Verse, Laiatu Latu and Chop Robinson and the cornerbacks of Terrion Arnold, Quinyon Mitchell and Cooper DeJean, the Falcons have really solid opportunity to find premium defensive selections wherever they're selecting.

2. By trading down they're very likely to receive a future first-round pick, which would go a long way in finding a successor to Kirk Cousins. This is an important thought not because you necessarily need said successor on the roster in 2024. You don't have to worry too much about the prospect this offseason, seeing as you just acquired Cousins and brought back Taylor Heinicke for his final season of a two-year deal. However, it is important -- vitally so -- to be thinking two to four years down the road at the quarterback position. If you have a second-, first-round pick in 2025? There's no doubt you could package a duo of picks to move up high enough to draft one of the best -- if not the best -- quarterback in 2025, while also reserving the right to sit him behind Cousins for a year or even two. (See Patrick Mahomes and Jordan Love examples).

Is this playing the 2024 NFL Draft safe? Probably. But as time goes on, the more it makes sense... in my head at least.

WAACK: Remain at No. 8.

Had the Falcons not acquired their QB1 through free agency with Kirk Cousins, then I would have been pushing for the trade-up option to guarantee one of the top quarterback prospects. But alas, the Falcons signed Cousins to a four-year deal, meaning he is the immediate plug-and-play name under center for the near future. For that reason, I don't see any reason to force the matter.

I also personally adopt the mentality that a team should never trade down, going off the notion the best players are at the top of the draft board. Why fall back and lower standards? The risk of missing out on better talent is not worth it.

So, that leaves me no choice but to stay at No. 8. There will still be good options here, regardless of whether the Falcons' actual general manager – Terry Fontenot – chooses to go offense or defense. Just about every need can still be met here. Including a backup quarterback.

Besides, the No. 8 spot has led the Falcons to success in recent years with wide receiver Drake London and running back Bijan Robinson. Third time doesn't even have to be the charm when the previous two outcomes worked out just fine.

SUBHAN: If I'm Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot, I'd be far more cultured in coffee and also be heavily considering trading down in the upcoming NFL Draft.

The Falcons are in a comfortable spot after securing offensive needs at quarterback and wide receiver in free agency. The likely pathway for Atlanta is to draft a defensive player at No. 8 overall. If you're well-versed in national mock drafts -- my weekly roundups are a great start -- you'll notice the top five is very quarterback-focused. If you zoom out a little more, most mocks don't have a defensive player taken until the Falcons' No. 8 selection.

That projection provides the Falcons with a little breathing room. They could make a trade with a team looking to move up like the Las Vegas Raiders or a team with multiple first-round picks like the Minnesota Vikings.

The two names paired with the Falcons' first-round pick most often heading into the draft are Dallas Turner from Alabama and Jared Verse out of Florida State. It's possible either of those two names would still be available at Nos. 11 or 13. If not, Laiatu Latu of UCLA is a formidable option as the third rusher on several draft boards. Then, the Falcons could also potentially get another first-round pickup or an additional second-rounder to provide extra depth for a team on the hunt to win now.

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