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NFL Draft: Why The Falcons Need A Top 4 Pick

The Atlanta Falcons have certainly made headlines since free agency opened up. Atlanta snagged Dante Fowler Jr., on a fairly cheap deal for a premium edge rusher, which bolsters one of their biggest needs. This gives Atlanta a fairly scary front four with Grady Jarett, Takk McKinley and Tyeler Davison. The Falcons also made a move on another Rams player, with Todd Gurley. When the Rams released him, he wasted no time getting in touch with Falcons star Julio Jones and was eventually signed to the Falcons. Of course, with Austin Hooper leaving, the Falcons found his replacement when they traded for Hayden Hurst. At the cost of securing some top names.

Atlanta cut several notable names, such as:

CB Desmond Trufant

RB Devonta Freeman

TE Luke Stocker

OT Ty Sambrailo

While this gave them the money to sign the previously mentioned big names, it left them with quite a few holes that need to be patched immediately. So, where could they find said replacements?

The Falcons Must Trade Up For Isaiah Simmons or Jeff Okudah

The Falcons have two huge notable holes on the roster. The aforementioned Trufant has been the Falcons number one Cornerback for the better part of 6 years. While youngsters Isaiah Oliver and Kendall Sheffield proved they can handle their part, the lack of elite level talent is missing. However, Atlanta has also had massive holes at their Outside Linebacker spots. DeVondre Campbell left in free agency and Atlanta has just never really had a Left Outside Linebacker.

Let’s breakdown the drafts best prospects at both positions.

CB Jeffery Okudah, Ohio State

As previously mentioned, the Falcons need that elite, shutdown corner to team up with Oliver and Sheffield. Okudah would probably be the number one pick in this draft if generational talents Joe Burrow and Chase Young weren’t around. Okudah is very much being slept on as the best product that could be coming out of this draft. He will be a day one starter and quickly develop into the Falcons number one corner and have the best receivers in the game on lockdown.

Plus, Dan Quinn LOVES his long armed Defensive backs, and Okudah’s 78 5/8″ wingspan absolutely stands out from the rest. His 41″ vertical and 135″ broad jump are top of the board. Complimented by a 6’1″, 205 lb frame, Okudah is not only an athletic freak but a physical monster. Adding him to the young foundation this secondary has, they will all not only grow faster, but stronger.

(All stats are taken from the 2020 NFL Combine)

LB Isaiah Simmons

Now, you want to talk about a combine warrior, Simmons is a prime example. Fast Linebackers aren’t unheard of, but Simmons’ blazing 4.39 40-yard dash is terrifying at the next level. Especially considering the fact that he hits harder than a semi-truck. Simmons, while mostly staying at the Middle Linebacker spot in college, stated that he can, and will play multiple positions at the NFL level. Given that Dan Quinn loves players that can be flexible at multiple positions, he’s gotta be in love with Simmons. Simmons is also an exceptional captain, and bring an energy that is only seen in true leaders and elite players. The Falcons defense could really use that energy, especially seeing how well they played once they finally got a second wind in the latter half of the season. Pairing up Simmons and Deion Jones is scary to think of, they’re both fast, they can cover tons of ground, and they can bull rush an offensive line.

However, the Falcons sit very far away from both these players, at the 16th overall pick. So, what’s the price to get into the top 4?

How Much Will It Cost?

Image Credit: Giants’ Wire

Earlier in the off-season, the New York Giants were rumored to have been shopping the 4th overall pick for “veteran defensive talent.” So we will start there.

Jumping from 16th to 4th is going to be costly. Obviously Atlanta will need to give the 16th overall pick in return. However, in terms of veteran defensive talent, one name quickly comes to mind. Ricardo Allen. The safety out of Purdue has been the Falcons’ defensive captain for a couple of years now, backed up by excellent play. He is flexible as either a free or strong safety, as he proved last year. But, why would Atlanta give up such a valuable player? Well, Damonte Kazee proved he can excel in the NFL if he is given the room to grow. He handled the Free Safety spot tremendously the last two years once Keanu Neal went down. Speaking of, Neal will be coming back for the Falcons and they’ll hope he can remain healthy. As such, there isn’t truly enough room for Allen in the secondary. The Giant’s are starved of safeties after they ditched Landon Collins. Allen can fill in at either safety spot for them, and is still young enough to continue to grow into a better player.

I still don’t believe this is enough for a trade to happen. Some more picks will be involved. The Falcons acquired the Ravens’ fourth round pick during the Hayden Hurst trade. I believe they will throw that pick in here too. Atlanta seems like they will need to hold on to their 2nd and 3rd round picks this year, so instead, Atlanta pitches in their 2021 2nd round and 3rd round picks.

The trade as it stands looks like this now

Atlanta Receives: 4th overall draft choice (2020)

New York receives: 16th overall draft choice (2020), S Ricardo Allen, 143rd overall draft choice (2020), 2nd round pick (2021), 3rd round pick (2021)

New York can drop back and still get a great prospect that they need, as well as an extra 4th rounder to help build around Daniel Jones. Plus, either get two extra high-level prospects next year, or bundle those picks for something more. As well as add a young leader who is proven to be excellent in Ricardo Allen.

Then, Atlanta can secure their prospect top prospect for the future.

Atlanta can then use their 2nd and 3rd round picks to add to whichever position they pass on at the top of the draft, and still go forward with drafting a high end running back.

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NFL Draft: Why The Falcons Need A Top 4 Pick

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