Posted: 6:17 am Friday, April 25th, 2014

Falcons digging deeper on Clowney or a smoke screen? 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

The Falcons are heading over to Columbia, S.C. today, to dig a little deeper on defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who was in Flowery Branch for a visit on Wednesday.

But the nature of the visit is unclear.

Super agent Bus Cook, who represents Clowney confirmed in a text to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Clowney was not working out of the Falcons and said he had no idea about a “biomechanical test” that ProFootball Talk.com said Clowney was taking for the Falcons.

“Heck, I’ve never heard of such,” quipped the affable Cook.

It’s likely the functional movement screen that the Falcons like to do on prospects. 

But there is enough there to keep the speculation going that the Falcons are interested in trading up in the draft, which is set for May 8-10, to land the athletically-gifted Clowney.

However, this could be one of those draft smoke screens with the Falcons trying to strengthen their position. They could sit tight with the sixth pick or they are trying to drive up the price for Detroit or one of the teams that want to trade up.

Basically, they have too many holes to mortgage the future — again — for Clowney. The Julio Jones trade helped them reach the NFC Championship game in 2012, but when the injuries hit in 2013, everyone looked up and couldn’t find any depth. Folks pointed to the five picks the Falcons moved in the Jones trade.

Here’s what it would cost to move up to get Clowney.

“You flip-flop your one,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said. “You give up your two (this year), one next year. So, it’s multiple picks. Flop, flip in the one, maybe a four and a first-round pick next year. It costs a lot to go up from six to one because you’re going to get the best player and best defensive end in the last 20 years in Clowney.”

But the football world knows – and the local Twitter GMs have been vocal about this for weeks — the Falcons can’t afford to give up that many picks with a shaky offensive line, no pass rush, no tight end nor a starting free safety. Also, the news that Sean Weatherspoon is not healthy is very troubling. They may need a linebacker! (BLOG ASIDE: A lingering four-month old knee injury??? That only makes sense if he had a surgery that hasn’t been reported.)

“That’s what they need (a pass rush), but they also have to improve that offensive line, Atlanta does,” Kiper said. “I don’t care if they get Clowney, but they better fix that offensive line which was terrible in terms of protecting Matt Ryan last year.

“Matt Ryan is not going to survive if that offensive line doesn’t get a lot better up front and they need multiple players up front. Not just one. They need to draft two offensive line minimum to step in and become starters. They can’t afford to have that same group come back.”

The Falcons have added right guard Jon Asamoah and Gabe Carimi over the offseason, but apparently Kiper doesn’t believe that’s enough. Asamoah lost his starting job last season and Carimi has been cut twice already.

Last season, the Falcons allowed pressure on 37.6 percent of their dropbacks, according to profootballfocus.com. The offensive line was given responsibility for allowing 32 of 44 sacks. The quarterback was hit 42 additional times and hurried 190 times.

Also, part of this Columbia mission is about re-checking wide receiver Bruce Ellington, who’s been climbing up the draft boards. The fleet 5-9, 197 pounder, is a potential play-maker.

“He has the basketball background and we know how quick he is,” Kiper said. “He’s a threat. He’s a fear-factor player. He’s going to be a second-round draft choice. He has climbed and I think he’s a solid second-round draft choice.”

With the extra time to get ready for the draft this season, we’re getting into smoke screen territory.

The Falcons aren’t above a running the draft smoke-screen play.

Back in 2010, they were zeroed in on linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, but went over to the flats to double-check Georgia Tech wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. The Falcons selected Weatherspoon with the 19th pick. Thomas went to Denver three picks later.

You can call it a smoke screen. I think the Falcons call it “due diligence.”

FALCONS’ DRAFT BOARD

–A look at Louisville LB Preston Brown

–A look at Iowa TE C.J. Fiedorowicz

–A look at Texas OLB/DE Jackson Jeffcoat

–A look at West Virginia RB Charles Sims

–A look at Auburn DE Dee Ford

–A look at Brigham Young OLB Kyle Van Noy

–A look at Arizona State OLB/DE Carl Bradford

--A look at Missouri DE Kony Ealy

–A look at Texas Tech TE Jace Amaro

–A look at Alabama S Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix

–A look at Minnesota DT Ra’Shede Hageman

–A look at Boston College QB Chase Rettig

–A look at Oregon RB De’Anthony Thomas

–BLOG: A list of the confirmed players at LOCALS DAY on Tuesday

–BLOG: FSU linebacker Telvin Smith visited the Falcons on Monday

–Falcons check out Towson State RB Terrance West, CB Jordan Love (UGA transfer)

–MyAJC ($): Eye-test vs. Tape-measure test: Falcons must trust their eyes during draft prep. 

FALCONS REWIND

–Blog: Falcons are not switching to a 3-4 defense front, they’ve been using it for past 2 seasons

–Blog: New jersey numbers picked; Devin Hester to wear No. 17

–Blog: Falcons awarded three compensatory picks

–Blog: Lamar Holmes was a performance-pay leader in 2014

–Blog: Umenyiora will return in 2014, no restructured deal

–Blog: Falcons release FB Bradie Ewing

–Blog: Falcons WR Roddy White owes Mercer fan some prime tickets

–Blog: Falcons owner Arthur Blank engaged to be married.  

–Blog: Former Falcons WR Kevin Cone to work out for Carolina

–Blog: Falcons re-sign defensive tackle Peria Jerry

–Blog: NFL to move forward on cleaning up ‘on-field’ language

MEET THE FREE AGENT SIGNEES

–MyAJC ($): Falcons spend $80 million in free agency to buy toughness

–Las Vegas doesn’t like Falcons’ free agency moves

–Falcons Free Agency Tracker — Falcons have committed $107.36 million to salaries 

–Q&A with PR/KR/WR Devin Hester

–Q&A with Falcons right guard Jon Asamoah

–Q&A with Falcons defensive end Tyson Jackson

–Q&A with Falcons defensive tackle Paul Soliai

2014 NFL DRAFT CENTRAL

–Mock Draft 1.0: Falcons trade out of sixth spot to land Pryor and Ebron

–12 teams who could draft UGA star Aaron Murray

–Louisville LB Preston Brown to work out for the Falcons

–Louisville DE Marcus Smith to work out for the Falcons

–MyAJC ($): OT Greg Robinson, DE Dee Ford shine at Auburn’s Pro Day

–VIDEO: Tackle Greg Robinson on Auburn’s Pro Day

–VIDEO: Running back Tra Mason on Auburn’s Pro Day

–Blog & VIDEO: Clemson QB Tajh Boyd has stellar Pro Day showing

–VIDEO: Clemson WR Sammy Watkins on his Pro Day

113 comments
ctfalconsfan
ctfalconsfan

Good poll DOL. Mr. Blank, whos' about to start charging a lot of $$ for PSL's, needed to hear that the fans don't want to trade up for Clowney..

If we can't get the OT we want with the 6th pick then I would trade down several spots if we could still get a solid OL and DT later n the first round.

TG88
TG88

If TD trades up. TD is going to be FIRED by the end of the season. "Who in their right mind would trade up for someone who does not give you a 100% most of the time? Two months before the draft and making millions he driving a car A 100MPH ...

WolfWithanE
WolfWithanE

Trade back and get Barr. Then get OT in 2nd Round. 

OriginalATLien
OriginalATLien

I was initially against posturing for Clowney. NOW, I'm like a man hold 4 Aces.....All In!! This kid is getting a bad wrap. If I had seen Marcus Lattimore destroy his 1st round draft status up close and personal like Clowney, I would have concerns about realizing a dream of playing in the NFL too! This kid will be unleashed during his rookie season and he'll steadily become one of the most feared defensive players in the league! This kid was physically ready for the NFL coming out of high school and there are 31 other teams that would draft him first right now given he opportunity, why shouldn't the Falcons. Rise Up Falcons and get your new bird!

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

You pay 20 million for Ryan and you're afraid to pay 5 million for Clowney. C'Mon Man.

DforDawgs
DforDawgs

I was really against moving up but now I am for it. WHY? Because if you look at history very few even make the team after the second round. They end up being utility guys at best so we really aren't giving up that much. I think he will be a difference BUT I watched UGA figure him out last year...they just didn't run the ball to his side...the plays went to the other side and he just stood there the whole game he even said after the game they wouldn't play to his side. Don't know if that strategy will work in the NFL but ya never know! It would be great seeing him in a Falcons uniform it would almost be like a hometown kid. I think he will live up to the hype. Let's go get  him!!!

Archangel
Archangel

The falcons have already made significant moves and will continue to do so if they move up to draft Clowney. They won't have to give up the house like with Julio, moving up 5 spots to a team that wants to trade down(Houston).

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

Clowney or bust? I say BUST. TD, please start acting like a normal intelligent GM instead of an impulsive 'watch me now' kid.

This is why I always refer to TD as the Boy Genius (in his own mind).

Chuck_UGA
Chuck_UGA

Beginning to wonder if Blank is getting involved with G.M. Duties. Hopefully not. The sudden lack of depth and multiple holes last season that are carrying over to this season should upset the fan base. Tampa has blown by Atlanta and Carolina both and by mis-season will be competing for the NFC South crown. If you don't agree, you ain't paying attention. They went crazy in free agency. The Falcons did not. Carolina did not.

doktrt
doktrt

Anybody that watched the Atlanta OL get tossed around like ragdolls and thinks they don't need a top 4 tackle in this draft just doesn't know football. Too many red flags with Clowney anyway. Many games the guy didn't even show up. We need a big ugly on the OL in round 1. If anything trade down.

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

The Falcons need to pursue the BEST PLAYER IN THE LAST 20 YEARS,

Jadeveon Clowney.

bwhitley
bwhitley

I agree with 68% of the other fans who responded that it was not in the best interest of the team to trade up for Clowney.When you have to give up that many draft choices for 1 player who is only able to play roughly half the time (when the defense is on the field) you could have used those other draft choices you traded away for a combination of either or offense or defense.Football is about a numbers and athletes game and last years stats hold true as there are always going to be guys hurt and who will have bad years therefore depth and competetion is always needed.

caneowar
caneowar

Andre Bruce was a rare athlete at the time the Falcons drafted him. However, if you watched the Auburn Tigers that year, you would have seen that he was a huge gamble. Even though he had great athletic ability, I don't think he had more than 3 games for Auburn where he was outstanding. The rest of the season, he was totally lost on the field.

caneowar
caneowar

Matty Ice was not Matty Ice last season. He would get shaky feet as soon as he went back to pass. Sometimes it was warranted, but not every time. You will never convince me otherwise, that Matt Ryan, all to often, held onto the ball far too long. I could have sacked him a few times myself for Christ sakes. A poor receiving corps and a poor O-line, with absolutely no running game, not to mention a scared QB, will equal a lot of sacks.

caneowar
caneowar

I have no problem with the Falcons trading up. I do however have a big problem with them giving a first round draft choice doing so. If they could swap 1st round draft picks this season and maybe a 3rd rounder this season and a 3rd rounder next season, I say pull the trigger. No way do you give up this seasons 1st round and next seasons first rounder, not to mention giving up other draft picks. Maybe if there was no one that could help you at the 6th pick, you might just do it. Way to many guys at the 6th pick that could immediately help the Falcons.

Really666
Really666

Yes you go get Clowney. This team doesnt have holes except Safety and Def End.  Youve picked up a guard, DT and DE in free agency this year.  We have 10 picks are you going to pick 5 DE and 5 safetys?  Get Clowney and a Safety in the 3rd, Grab a RB and TE in the 4th. Next year guess what there is another Draft and another Free agency.  Why cant you pick a Tackle then.  You have a chance to grab Clowney you do.

FalconJames
FalconJames

I think the Falcons should be looking at Ra'Shede Hageman or Caraun Reid for the DL. Both are big nasty players that could clog up the line. Eric Pike or Karim Barton would be great fits on the OL and would be serious upgrades over Konz. If we trade back, we could probably pick up all four of these players and have room to draft Joe Don Duncan or Nic Jacobs to fill the hole left by Gonzalez. For Safety I believe we should look seriously at Pierre Desir.

KeepinItSimple
KeepinItSimple

He might turn out to be a stud, but even then I am not sure he is worth the amount the Falcons would give up to move up.  On the downside he could be Peerless Price junior.


With Clowney as a dominant force, the Falcons defense is still average at best and needs a couple more high picks.  If they go Left Tackle they immediately become one of the best offenses in football instead of the Matt Ryan fearing for his life version of 2013.  My vote is definitely keep the picks and take a swing at Matthews or Robinson.  


The problem here is that even though they are the more 'stable' pick, it's not glamorous.  Then again, the Patriots, Steelers, and more recently the Seahawks have proven that solid picks DOMINATE risky highlight reel gambles.

kerryb
kerryb

Move up.  I was kind of undecided on it but the Falcons have what?  11 picks in this draft which is the deepest in a long time?  To move up 5 places the Falcons may only have to give up their 2nd round draft pick this year and next year.  Houston wants a QB but I think they do not want to take one with the first pick and pay that kind of money for them.  If you have a chance how can you pass on the best pure pass rushing DE in the last 20 years when Falcons fans for years have been complaining about the lack of a pass rush?  I don't think a LT is even in the Falcons thinking when they gave Sam Baker a big extension last year.  They bulked up the middle of the D-line to stop the run in free agency.  They have 2 good young corners.  If they add a DE like Clowney this could be a special defense. Imagine Clowney coming off the corner after Drew Brees,  Clowney chasing down Cam Newton.  Lamar Holmes played a lot better at tackle with experience at the end of the season. Holmes and Asamoah will be a good right side.  Kontz is bulking up in the weight room all off season so he should be ready at center.  Blalock is back at LG and Sam Baker is a good LT (when healthy).  They also signed some free agents like Carimi who was a top draft pick a few years ago.  I think the line will be back to form.  What also contributed to all the sacks was 2nd and 3rd string receivers who couldn't get open.  Clowney will be a difference maker on D.

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady


Let's look at some NFL stats for Quarterback sacks allowed last season:

Joe Flacco - 48 sacks

Russell Wilson - 44 sacks (Super Bowl Champions) *

Matt Ryan - 44 sacks

Cam Newton - 43 sacks (NFC South Champions)

Geno Smith - 43 sacks

Big Ben - 42 sacks

Carson Palmer - 41 sacks (NFC Wild Card)

Tom Brady - 40 sacks (AFC East Champions)

Colin Kapernick - 39 sacks (NFC Wild Card)

Alex Smith - 39 sacks (AFC Wild Card)

Eli Manning - 39 sacks

RG III  - 38 sacks

Drew Brees - 37 sacks (NFC Wild Card)


Atlanta is not the only team having problems protecting the Quarterback.

So the best course of action, if possible, is to move up for the best player and best defensive end

 In the last 20 years. 

...............................  JADEVEON CLOWNEY


Come On Man!

Really?!
Really?!

I REALLY wish I could say there is no possible way the Falcons would trade up to select Clowney but TD has been known to make some moronic decisions in the first round.  It's sad that it was reported by The Sporting News that Atlanta was willing to give up their 1st,2nd and 4th pick this year and next years 1st as well as a  unnamed defensive player for the 1st pick and the majority of football fans assumed it was true.


Moving up at all would be bad enough but moving up to roll the dice on clowney is so mind numbingly stupid it would make it tough to continue being a Falcons fan.


I was so frustrated by all the Falcons moving up stories that I finally caved in and signed up on the ajc to complain with a crowd that probably shares my pain. I was a regular poster up until the ajc changed to this format.  Would users say it has improved after the changes?

JacketMan
JacketMan

Clowney was arrested TWICE for speeding (over 100 MPH) after the season, within 2 weeks, which says he has no common sense and no respect for authority. Aundrey Bruce was supposed to be a savior, too, and we all know how that turned out.

We know Matt Ryan was nearly killed last season every time he dropped back for a pass. Draft an offensive lineman in the first round, then go for the defensive end/outside linebacker with the second choice.

The Falcons already mortgaged the farm a couple of years ago to get Julio Jones, giving up a ton of draft picks to get him and thinning out their options at reasonably valued rookies rather than having to sign washed up free agents. Doing it twice in such a short amount of time to get a defensive lineman when you need an offensive lineman to protect your franchise QB makes no fiscal sense.

HonestInformed
HonestInformed

I sincerely hope it is just a smoke screen.....drafting Clowney would be a huge mistake. He will make some plays & he might even turn out to be a great player; the problem is he is not worth the risk AND we need a no-brainer starting caliber OT. End of story period.........please let's all move on. 

JeanLE
JeanLE

If they give up ANY picks for that   clown show, they are crazy!!!!! 

Dman
Dman

Didn't Arthur bring TD and Pioli in to mimick what the Patriots do? I don't believe the Pats have traded up but ussually down to pick up extra picks. I wouldn't be surprised if we traded down with the Rams this time and picked up extra picks.

BehindEnemyLines
BehindEnemyLines

It's the Falcons ... there's every chance they could actually be stupid enough to do this on a no-heart bust-in-the-making guy like Clowney.

turftoe
turftoe

Falcons better make the most of there picks,the Saints  roster is a lot stronger after the FA signing.The Falcons have to get it right this time or it could be a lone time before we get back in the playoff hunt.Don't put all your eggs in one basket, the Facons have to many holes to fill,spread it around!

devounknown1000
devounknown1000

D-LED What up with the most retarted conversation in Falcons history about trading Julio, a player who have the chance to become one of most prolific WR in Falcons history and you talking about trading him, LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


This would be the dumbest move ever if they did trade Julio.


Falcons would be back to square one and the talk of the league if did so.


ARTHUR WOULD NEVER CO SIGN FOR THIS.


GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BigHittas
BigHittas

lol, this blog is entertaining if nothing else.

I think the Birds should stay put. You still get a great player at 6. Seems to me the wildcard in all the Clowney speculation is what Houston does with the first pick. Shouldn't be any trouble for the ATL to swap with STL.
Either Mack, Robinson, or Matthews seem sound. Mack seems more solid effort-wise than the Clown.
And I'd add that even tough I like Smitty and TD, their judgment re: OL has been pretty bad. Sure Johnson went down last year, but why did it take all that time to rid the team of Reynolds? He was terrible, and so were some of the rookies they leaned on. If the past is an indication of the future, then 2 needs to learn to scramble more.

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

@TG88

If TD misses on getting Clowney, he might get fired by the beginning of the season.

JerryMcCrary
JerryMcCrary

@Archangel  didn't the redskins give up 2 first round picks and a second round to move up from 6 to 2???

GA_Murf_
GA_Murf_

@Chuck_UGA  how is Tampa better than Atlanta and Carolina when nobody has played a game yet?

eye_opener
eye_opener

@bwhitley Are there some players that play the whole game? Your statement seems silly considering a typical game will be split defense/offense.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@caneowar No, Matty had to use a lot of ice last year. I have to admire anyone who takes a beating like he did and keep on keeping on.Like Rodney, No respect i am telling ya!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Really666  

No holes "except Safety and Def End"???!!!

Some comments are so ignorant they don't merit a response, but I couldn't help myself.

OFFENSIVE LINE!

Where've you been the past 2 years?

JSSN
JSSN

@FalconJames  

If the Falcons had a better track record at "developing" talent with the number of compensatory picks they have, sure you could go that way. Excluding Nic Jacobs (he should have stayed in school), those are all solid prospects. Reid is really weak, he's gonna need a real solid strength and conditioning regime to get where he needs to be, damn smart (a plus in Nolan Land). Desir can't play press coverage and has been a corner, transitioning to safety is gonna be hard for him for awhile. If you're going to play a lot of off coverages where he doesn't have to run thru traffic like say the 49ers, he's someone you can work with. I like Duncan (physically strongest natural TE prospect in years) , I think he's gonna be gone when the Falcons come around to be able get at him in a value. Reid and Barton may get drafted, but if they make it to UDFA status, by all means bring them in and see if Tice can actually coach them up! Saw Karim in HS in LA, the move across the country benefitted him!

Rory_Bellows
Rory_Bellows

@kerryb  They would have to give up this year's first pick, second pick and at least next years first pick. Not sure how you figured out such a bargain. This is not fantasy football.

slydawg
slydawg

Gee I thought same thing ever since the beginning of the season. Through 10 games last year, Ryan, Breed, Rodgers, and Flacco were tied for most sacked QB. However, you see the year end results show the Falcons oline got worse as the year wore on, especially those who the line "improved."

Archangel
Archangel

@Really?!  No team gives up that much to move up 5 spots. Anyone that believes that is just lowering their expectations so they can feel good when it doesn't happen.

JSSN
JSSN

@Really?!  

The articles are proofed on MyAJC. You don't get real traffic if you want to comment; but the articles tend to have some gravitas.

JSSN
JSSN

@JacketMan  

He was cited, not "arrested!" His 2nd ticket was for doing 85 mph, that's not in excess of 100 mph!  If common sense is a prerequisite for playing in Atlanta, why did they extend William Moore, Roddy White, and Jonathan Babineaux? Shoot, I could add Kroy Biermann for marrying that Wig wearer!

Dman
Dman

Saints lost a lot more than they gained in the off season. They are paying for Bree's and preparing to pay for Graham next year.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@devounknown1000  

He's been injured/out of the game for half his career. Had similar problems in college. Can't be "prolific WR" when he's not on the field. 

Trackbacks

  1. […] Vaughn McClure of ESPN indicates that the Falcons won’t make the trade up. D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC is also suggesting that a trade up isn’t smart on the Falcons behalf as it may be a smokescreen. […]