Should the Atlanta Falcons trade up in the NFL Draft?

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CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28: A detailed view of the pick is in for the #17 overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons during the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University on April 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)

Some fans have made it known that they want the Atlanta Falcons to move up in the draft, here are my reasons why that is not a good idea.

Atlanta Falcons fans have grown tired of not having a more flashy team. They want more stars and especially those of the “generational talent” variety. Chase Young fits the bill for this entirely. Unfortunately, the Falcons are out of reach for such a player.

Many Falcons fans have made it very clear that they want Atlanta to trade up for the dynamic defensive end from Ohio State, but is this the best course of action for the Falcons? Let’s take a look.

Atlanta Falcons trade for Julio Jones.

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Dec 22, 2019; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) warms-up before their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Back in 2011, Atlanta traded five picks to the Cleveland Browns for the opportunity to draft Julio Jones, a wide receiver from Alabama. There is no doubt that he is a generational talent. He is one of the best wide receivers to ever play in the NFL. However, did that trade pan out the way the Falcons expected?

Let’s take a look at just what the Falcons gave up:

  • First-round, No. 27 pick in 2011
  • Second-round, No. 59 pick in 2011
  • Fourth-round, No. 124 pick in 2011
  • First-round, No. 22 in 2012
  • Fourth-round, No. 118 in 2012

The Falcons believed that Jones was the last player that their roster was lacking to get over the hump and win the Super Bowl. They wouldn’t even make it to the Super Bowl for another five years.

Atlanta gave up a lot of draft capital, and in the end, even though they got their guy, it set the team back for years. The lesson learned here is, a complete team is better than one generational talent every time.

Can the Atlanta Falcons afford to trade up?

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According to Heavy.com, if the Falcons were to trade up to No. 2 to take Chase Young, they would be looking at offering him a contract worth about $33,434,347. That is an annual salary of $8,358,586.75 over the first four years. By comparison, the total salary for the No. 16 pick is $13,498,945, an annual salary of $3,374,736.25‬. 

Atlanta only has about $7,810,597 to sign their entire draft class, according to Overthecap.com.

The first year of these deals will not total those huge annual averages though, of course. The more realistic number would be closer to that of the contracts signed by Nick Bosa, taken at No. 2 last year and Brian Burns, taken at No. 16.

Bosa’s Deal:

  • Total $33,551,866
  • Average per year $8,387,967
  • First year’s cap number $6,100,339

Burns’ Deal:

  • Total $13,540,182
  • Average per year $3,385,046
  • First year’s cap number $2,461,851

As you can see, there is more to trading up than just giving up draft capital. There is a vast difference in how much those players are paid. The Falcons don’t have the cap space to move up to No. 2.

Conclusion.

The Falcons really do not have the luxury of trading up for one dynamic player. Coming off back to back 7-9 seasons, they need all the help they can get, in all areas, but especially in the trenches. Their offensive and defensive lines are some of the worst in the league.

Atlanta can’t afford to be flashy in the draft. They must solidify the middle of both their offensive and defensive lines. Grady Jarrett desperately needs a legit partner at defensive tackle, and the left guard spot could use an upgrade. As attractive as trading up to Chase Young is, it is just merely not an option for the Falcons.

When it comes to trading in this draft, Atlanta should say no, unless it is trading back. They could easily improve their offensive line at the back end of the first round and pick up extra picks if they go this route.


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