Multiple reports emerged yesterday afternoon that indicated the Atlanta Falcons were the team “most likely” to trade up with the Houston Texans for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Coupled with the news that the Falcons would be traveling to South Carolina today to conduct a workout with defensive end Jadeveon Clowney following his visit to team facilities on Wednesday made for easy dot-connecting that the Falcons were on the verge of pulling off another blockbuster draft-day trade.
Clowney’s agent, Bus Cook, made headlines earlier this month by declaring that the prospect would no longer be working out for prospective NFL teams due to an injury suffered by Clemson offensive lineman Brandon Thomas during such a workout. Cook indicated that Clowney may do a five-minute private workout for one team that wouldn’t risk injury. That created even more dot-connecting that the Falcons were the one team and today’s visit was the one workout that Clowney was planning.
However, other details given the initial buzz fell through the cracks. Per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, the Falcons would also be conducting a private workout of South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington. Later reports also emerged that confirmed that Cook’s earlier statements were in reference to biomechanical and aptitude tests that the Falcons were planning to conduct. Those tests would only last five minutes, which is unlikely to be worth the three-plus hour drive that it would take Falcons brass to get from Atlanta to Columbia, SC for the visit.
While in the area, the Falcons could also seek to look at South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw, who worked out earlier this week at nearby Newberry College for the New England Patriots. Per the National Football Post, Shaw will be spending today in Cleveland meeting with the Browns, but will work out for the Browns in Columbia on Saturday. Per the same report, Shaw has already met with the Falcons over the past week.
It has not been a secret for some time that the Falcons interest in and appreciation of Clowney is high. And the team has also not tried to hide the fact that they are very open when it comes to discussing trades.
That likely has led non-Falcons executives, the source of yesterday’s reports, to also connect the dots that the Falcons would be the most likely team to swap picks with the Texans.
The Falcons could certainly ultimately make the move to go up and get Clowney. But it could prove costly in terms of compensation. ESPN’s Ed Werder indicated that the Falcons would likely have to give up their first and second-round picks, along with another pick in this year’s draft alongside next year’s first-round pick to move up to get Clowney.
Earlier this week, NFL.com’s Gil Brandt suggested that there was a “good chance” the Texans would move down in a trade similar to what occurred between the New York Giants and San Diego Chargers a decade ago involving quarterback Eli Manning. The Chargers held the No. 1 pick in 2004 and selected Manning, who had previously indicated that he would not play for them. Later in the day, they would trade his rights to the Giants in exchange for the fourth overall pick (which wound up quarterback Philip Rivers) and a third-round pick in 2004, along with first and fifth-round picks in 2005.
When the Falcons traded up for wide receiver Julio Jones in 2011, they gave up a pair of first and fourth-round picks along with a second-rounder to move up 21 spots in the draft.