To do so, he sent the Cleveland Browns not only the 27th pick, but also the 59th (second round) and 124th (fourth round) picks of the 2011 draft, as well as what would turn out to be the 22nd (first round) and 118th (fourth round) picks of the 2012 draft (players could not be traded at that time due to labor unrest).
Article continues below ...
He did this because after a 13-3 regular season in 2010, he believed the Falcons were just a player away from getting over the hump. He wanted a player with “explosiveness,” and specifically had targeted either A. J. Green, Patrick Peterson or Jones.
Could a similar scenario happen in the 2017 draft?
A couple of things would have to happen for this scenario to be even remotely likely. First, they would have to feel like the Falcons are once again in a place where they only need one player to take them over the top.
They’d have to win at least 11 games, I would think, win the NFC South and at least one playoff game. They would then have to have a successful free agency period. They’d have to bring back all the pending free agents on their own roster that they want to retain.
They’d also have to bring in two or three free agents from other teams, in my opinion, to feel like they can go quality over quantity in the draft.
Finally, and most obviously, one of these three players would have to fall out of the top five picks, because otherwise I believe the cost would just be too high. Right now, though, the likelihood of that happening appears slim.
Garrett, Allen and Peppers are considered by many to be the three best players available and more than a few mock drafts have them going in some order as the top three selections.
The top quarterback prospects — Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky — don’t seem to be regarded as highly as Jared Goff and Carson Wentz were last year or Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota the year before that.
LSU running back Leonard Fournette might crack the top five, as he’s being favorably compared to Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott. No other position group, however, appears to have at least one super-blue-chip prospect available.