The Atlanta Falcons reportedly badly want to move up from No. 16 in Round 1 of the NFL Draft on Thursday with their eyes on one of two cornerbacks.
Needless to say, most NFL Draft rumors going around right now are fake and many are simply smokescreens coming from teams or even agents of draft-eligible players. Take them all with a grain of salt. However, draft/NFL experts from all over the place are reporting that the Atlanta Falcons are aggressively trying to trade up from No. 16 overall in Round 1 of the draft on Thursday.
Atlanta’s targets are supposedly to get one of the draft’s top two cornerback prospects: Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah or Florida’s CJ Henderson. There’s no doubt the Falcons have a need in the secondary as they lost top cornerback Desmond Trufant in free agency to Detroit. Plus, last year the team ranked near the bottom of the league against the pass.
In losing Trufant, the team doesn’t have a true No. 1 cornerback. Coach Dan Quinn has said he believes Kendall Sheffield can be a No. 1 cornerback, but the 2019 fourth-round pick ranked as Pro Football Focus’ No. 121 corner out of 132 qualified players last year. He was thrust into the starting lineup at cornerback after Trufant suffered a toe injury.
Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff has been very aggressive in the draft previously – see his massive trade up in 2011 to take Alabama receiver Julio Jones, which worked out fabulously – but he’d had to give up a ton to get in position for Okudah. He’s given an Over-Under draft position of 4.5 at William Hill sportsbook, and the Detroit Lions at No. 3 overall are -150 favorites to take him. The Falcons are part of the field at +800.
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Henderson, meanwhile, has a draft position of 12.5, with the Over a -130 favorite. So in theory, the Falcons might not have to move up much to get the former Gator. On the CBS Big Board, Henderson is ranked as the No. 18 overall player on the board.
If Atlanta can’t move up or decides not to and Okudah and Henderson are gone at No. 16, the Falcons are likely to target LSU edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson or South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw. Chaisson has an Over-Under draft spot of 17.5 and Kinlaw 13.5.