Arthur Blank wanted the Atlanta Falcons to get more aggressive. They made the first move towards that goal by drafting Jake Matthews to help anchor down an offensive line that struggled mighty last year. Now the team will focus towards the defense in the second and third rounds of the draft, in need of a pass rusher and secondary star. Could a trade still be in the works for one of the needs?
Reports surfaced on Thursday that the Atlanta Falcons were considering making a trade for safety Eric Berry. The Kansas City Chiefs secondary star was rumored to be available as the Chiefs were aiming to acquire more draft picks. They had a second-round pick attached to his name and the Falcons sounded like a likely destination. They released both Asante Samuel and Thomas Decoud in the offseason, leaving a huge hole at the spot.
According to ESPN NFL writer Vaughn McClure, the Falcons are not going to be making a trade for Berry and will instead fill the need in the draft. General manager Thomas Dimitroff told 92.9 that there was no truth to the Berry trade rumors and the deal will not be happening. So instead, the Falcons will likely draft a safety in one of the next few rounds. Terrence Brooks and Dion Bailey are the best available heading into the second and third rounds on Friday.
The Falcons also need a pass rusher after they failed to make deals for Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack. Dimitroff noted that the team actually did try and trade back into the first round in order to draft a player like Dee Ford, but was unable to find a buyer. According to NFL Draft Insider Ian Rapoport, the Falcons tried to move to No. 22 or 23 to get Ford but neither the Eagles nor the Chiefs would deal.
The Falcons clearly want a talent like Ford and will need to draft someone early to get it. Players like Kony Early from Missouri, Demarcus Lawrence from Boise State or Trent Murphy from Stanford are being listed as the best available. The Falcons will have to decide between drafting a defensive end, safety and running back on Friday. The team is also looking to get the future replacement of Steven Jackson. Carlos Hyde and Jeremy Hill are the best available and could be gone by the end of the second round.