The Atlanta Falcons were just one game away from the Super Bowl last season and after getting their first playoff win of the Matt Ryan era, the team is looking to improve and based on reports that may mean trading up in the NFL draft next week.
According to SI.com and ESPN.com, the team could try to trade up to the number three pick with the Oakland Raiders to put themselves in position to select cornerback Dee Milliner from Alabama. The Chiefs have made it clear they are not selecting Milliner, while the Jaguars likely will go after Sharrif Floyd, leaving the Raiders next.
The team initially was in the running for Milliner, but after signing Mike Jenkins and Tracy Porter, the team may not go after Milliner. The Raiders desperately would like more picks after losing some in the Matt Flynn trade and other deals and since they have just a few early picks, they could try to stockpile more for this year. Atlanta is not afraid to move up for a player they like, as they proved when they traded up to get Julio Jones a couple years ago.
One ting n the Falcons favor though is that the draft is fairly deep at cornerback, with Milliner, Xavier Rhodes and Desmond Trufant the top rated prospects/ The Falcons have the 30th pick in the draft and while they could try to wait and see, they may just jump and strike like they did with Jones, as they feel a shutdown corner could be the key to a Super Bowl run. The team was weak at corner last year and lost Brent Grimes to an injury and now he has signed with the Miami Dolphins.
Dunta Robinson also left in free agency and the team has Asante Samuel and Robert McClain, but that is not enough to last through an entire season. General manager Thomas Dimitroff is an outside the box thinker and if he feels that Milliner is an option that can help the team, he will not hesitate in trading up for him. There is a chance that Rhodes and Trufant will be available later on in the round or even in the second, but the Falcons may not let that chance go.
The Raiders have indicated that they wouldn't mind trading down, but since there are other teams that want to as well, they could have a hard time making a move. Milliner could be a transformational player for the Falcons and if they see him as valuable as Jones, they will go get him.