The Atlanta Falcons could get aggressive ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft in an attempt to upgrade their defense. They released their best defensive back in Desmond Trufant this offseason, and ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported Monday that Atlanta might look to secure as high as a top five pick to combat the elite quarterback play of Tom Brady and Drew Brees.
Three defensive players have emerged as potential top five picks in most mock drafts. Those players are Ohio State’s Chase Young, Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah, and Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons. All of these players could help Atlanta improve. Are they worth the cost of moving up though?
The Falcons ranked 29th in team sacks (28) in 2019, so Young’s presence could be used on the defensive line. He might be the most NFL ready prospect in the draft and is projected to go second overall. But Atlanta recently acquired Dante Fowler Jr. to help its pass rush. Okudah has distinguished himself from all other corners in this class and has consistently been mocked to the Detroit Lions at No. 3. Do the Falcons have enough bargaining chips to move high enough for either of these players? It seems like they’d have to give up an awful lot in order to.
Simmons is the most accessible of the trio and might be the best fit. He should be able to start at linebacker from Week 1 forward and be useful in pass coverage because of his experience as a defensive back. He’s been projected to go as high as fourth overall and has the kind of versatility the Falcons need.
If Atlanta does elect to move up, it won’t be the first time. The Falcons traded five picks to climb from No. 27 to No. 6 and grab Julio Jones in 2011. That turned out to be one of the best moves they could’ve possible made. Could a risk like that pan out again? Only time will tell.