For the record, I’m someone that has argued on the forums that cornerback is the Falcons biggest need this off-season. I think defensive end is a very high need, but if it came down to addressing one and not the other, I would choose cornerback over pass rush.
But I certainly won’t say that the people that disagree with me and think the pass rush should be first priority are way off base.
So I pose the above question to those folks that think that is the case. I indicated in my defensive end fit analysis, that I do not believe that USC’s Everson Griffen and Florida’s Carlos Dunlap are good fits here in Atlanta. Mainly because of character issues. And I’m not sure the Falcons would necessarily target Jason Pierre-Paul of South Florida because he has a questionable football I.Q.
So I think if defensive end is such a priority, and that means the Falcons are going to have to hope that one of the other top-rated pass rushers: Derrick Morgan or Brandon Graham.
In my most recent mock draft, I have Morgan going 10th to the Jaguars and Graham 12th to the Dolphins. It’s still very early in the draft process, so things are far from etched in stone in terms of where players will go and who may become available.
But at this current date, it’s very hard to imagine a player like Morgan or Graham slipping to the Falcons. It’s hard to see Morgan slipping past the Titans at No. 16. And with quite a few 3-4 teams picking before the Falcons, it’s hard to see Graham being available as well.
So I wonder if the Falcons are so keen on one of these pass rushers, should they trade up a few spots in the draft to get one?
Using the standard trade value chart, if the Falcons were to package their 1st (19th) and 3rd (83rd) round picks together, they would be the exact equivalent of the 15th pick, swapping with the Giants to jump ahead of the Titans.
So again I pose the question is it worth it? Is the pass rush that important? And is one of those players I identified worth investing so much in? Or should the Falcons “settle” for a riskier prospect at defensive end, or go in another direction such as linebacker or cornerback in the first round.