Posted: 7:52 am Monday, January 13th, 2014
By D. Orlando Ledbetter
The Falcons are picking sixth in the NFL draft.
Now, that they have their new offensive line and defensive line coaches, they’ll have a little break before heading to coach at the Senior Bowl.
The front office can turn its attention to studying the free agent class and getting ready for the draft, which will be held May 8-10.
The Falcons are elated that a record number of underclassmen have entered the draft because that may push a player of need to them in the first round and certainly will push a good player to them in the second round.
In the first round, they’ll have a good player to pick if they stay with the sixth pick.
They’ll have to figure out how to get the most bang for the pick. That question could be simply stated: Do you take South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney or Texas A&M left tackle Jake Matthews? They might have to trade up to get either one of them, but St. Louis and old pal Les Snead are sitting at No. 2. The Rams will at least listen to a respectable offer for their pick.
Here’s a look at Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff’s trading record:
Dimitroff made a trade in the draft to select Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant in the first round of the NFL draft. The Falcons traded with the St. Louis Rams to move up seven picks in the first-round. They gave up a third and sixth round pick.
The Falcons made a trade with Baltimore to move down seven spots in the third round to take tackle Lamar Holmes. They picked up a fifth round pick and selected defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi with the 164th overall pick. The Ravens picked up running back Bernard Pierce with the 84th pick the Falcons sent them. The Falcons gave up a seventh rounder (229 overall) to the Eagles in the Asante Samuel trade. The Eagles used that pick to select running back Bryce Brown.
There was the 5-for-1 mega-deal with Cleveland to move up 21 spots in order to land wide receiver Julio Jones. Later, in the fifth round after the spotlight was off the Falcons, he sent two picks to St. Louis in order to move up 10 spots to scoop up running back Jacquizz Rodgers.
Oklahoma cornerback Dominique Franks, who left school a year early, was slipping in the draft. Dimitroff sent two picks to St. Louis to move up 14 spots to acquire Franks. He’s played some nickel back and was the punt returner for most of last season.
Dimitroff felt he could get his guy by going back 13 spots in the fifth round. The Falcons made a deal to send their fifth-round pick to Dallas. They moved back 13 spots and picked up a seventh-round pick for their troubles. They drafted offensive lineman Garrett Reynolds in the fifth and Vance Walker in the seventh. Reynolds has opened the last two seasons as a starter at right guard. Walker was a contributor before signing with Oakland in free agency.
There was a run on left tackles. With the Falcons needing protection for Matt Ryan, Dimitroff sent two second-round picks and a fourth-round pick to Washington in order to move back into the first round and pick Sam Baker with the 21st overall pick. They also received third- and fifth-round picks. The Falcons used those picks to select wide receiver Harry Douglas (84th overall) and defensive end Kroy Biermann (154th).