Recipe for a trade-up?
Perhaps even more than an offensive tackle, the team’s presumed area of focus for the 2014 draft, the Atlanta Falcons need a pass rusher. And the Falcons, who have not drafted and developed an outside rusher since choosing Patrick Kerney in 1999, are said to be enamored of South Carolina end Jadeveon Clowney.
Almost as if on cue (or maybe sending a not-so-subtle signal), the man regarded by many as the top prospect in the draft acknowledged a couple days ago that he would “love” to be selected by Atlanta, since it would allow him to stay close to home. The only problem is, the Falcons are currently sixth in the first-round order and Clowney will be long off the board by the time their pick comes.
General manager Thomas Dimitroff has never been bashful about moving on draft day, up or down. And while he isn’t likely to make the kind of monster deal he did to swoop dramatically up the board for wide receiver Julio Jones in ‘11, Dimitroff could be duly tempted by a shot at Clowney to seek a trade partner, provided that Houston does not snatch the star defensive end with the first overall selection.
Dimitroff could find some convenient potential trade partners in the No. 2 and No. 3 slots in the first round.
The second spot, of course, is held by St. Louis, by virtue of the 2012 trade in which the Rams shipped Washington the rights to quarterback Robert Griffin III. And the No. 2 choice – or, more accurately, trading it – would allow the Rams a final chance to further fatten the bounty they received from the Redskins in the 2012 deal. And it’s notable that the Rams’ general manager is Les Snead, who worked for Dimitroff for four years, first as a pro scout and then as personnel director.
Amazingly, Snead’s successor as director of player personnel in Atlanta was David Caldwell. And Caldwell (pictured) is now the general manager in Jacksonville, where the Jags hold the No. 3 overall choice for May 8. Would the Jaguars, whose owner already has advertised the team will choose at least one quarterback in the draft, consider a move back to the sixth spot? It might depend on how the first couple picks go, and what quarterbacks might be chosen early. But there are certainly scenarios in which one of the top quarterbacks would still be available at No. 6.
Not too much should be read into comments made three months before the draft. But Caldwell did tell the Florida Times-Union earlier this week that he would “not discourage” the potential for a trade of the Jaguars’ No. 3 slot and that such a deal was “a possibility.”
Sometimes, as the old adage suggests, familiarity breeds contempt. Other times, it could help hatch a trade. The bet here is that Dimitroff has the cell phone numbers of Snead and Caldwell on speed-dial. And that he’ll check in at some point to gauge the cost of possibly moving up into one of their spots.