According to Ian Rapoport, the Falcons are much more likely to trade up to Cleveland's #4 spot to take Buffalo LB Khalil Mack than they are to trade to #1 and take South Carolina LB/DE Jadeveon Clowney.
After all, why wouldn't they be? Let's break this down:
For Atlanta to jump to #1, they'd certainly have to offer their 2014 1st-round pick (#6). They'd also certainly have to throw in their 2014 2nd-round pick (#37) and, for good measure, a middle round pick (let's say their 4th-round pick, #103).
But that's not all.
According to the NFL Draft Trade Value Chart (and we know that this is what all NFL GM's use to value trades because football science), the Falcons would still have to make up about 782 magical draft points in order for this to be a fair trade. Of course they could offer a player, but since there isn't a player-to-draft trade point conversion chart, let's assume they don't. The Falcons would then have to throw in another pick, probably a 2015 1st-round pick (which I have determined by way of complex mathematical formulas to be exactly 800 points).
For these keeping score, the Falcons would be giving up:
2014 1st Round (#6)
2014 2nd Round (#37)
2014 4th Round (#103)
2015 1st Round (#something)
and would be receiving :
2014 1st Round (#1)
Completely disregarding this Si.com article that claims the Texans want 3 first-rounders and a second (because that's ridiculous) and instead making my own scenario up, it's safe to say that Atlanta would still have to give up too much for one player who isn't a quarterback.
All of that was a long-winded way of saying "That's not worth it for the Falcons". What could happen instead, is this:
#1- Houston Texans- Jadeveon Clowney, DE/OLB- South Carolina
Cleveland could swap first round picks with the Falcons, give up one of their two 4th Round picks (#106) and acquire the Falcons 2014 2nd Round pick (#37).
That would give Cleveland six picks in the first three rounds, or:
2014 1st Round (#6)
2014 1st Round (#26)
2014 2nd Round (#35)
2014 2nd Round (#37)
2014 3rd Round (#71)
2014 3rd Round (#83)
The draft could then go as follows:
#4- Atlanta Falcons- Khalil Mack, LB- Buffalo
#5- Oakland Raiders- Trade with Tampa Bay Buccaneers
According to ESPN, the Buccaneers have Johnny Manziel on their short list of prospects. Unfortunately, so does Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam. This puts Tampa in a predicament, as they would find themselves needing to jump Cleveland at #6 to get their hands on the polarizing pint-sized player from Tyler, Texas. The Oakland Raiders, having only 4 picks in the top 200, are more than willing trade partners and likely won't be asking for a fortune to move back. Tampa will take the deal, jump the Browns and take:
#5- Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Johnny Manziel, QB- Texas A&M
This leaves Cleveland at #6, with Mack, Watkins, and Manziel off the board, all of the guys they've been linked to with their top pick over the past 4 months. Without finding another trade partner, Cleveland will be stuck at #6 with all of their favorite guys off the board and the clock ticking. This is where they make the panic pick, just as regimes in the past have done. Unfortunately, the Browns won't make the smart decision and take UCF QB Blake Bortles. They will do one of two things:
They will panic and take Fresno State QB Derek Carr.
They will take BPA on their draft board, who would most likely be Texas A&M WR Mike Evans.
Honestly, in either scenario, the Browns are getting a player at a position of need who will likely be an opening day starter. However, when you're picking at #6, you would hope to get more than just a "probably opening day starter". Carr has his share of problems but he still possesses the best arm talent of all of the quarterbacks in this draft and seems to be, from all accounts, a fantastic individual off the field with his priorities in line which will go a long way in helping him face the daily pressures that come with being an NFL starting quarterback. Unfortunately, when Carr faces pressure on-the-field, he collapses like a flan in a cupboard- something Browns fans are all too familiar with seeing.
Evans provides the Browns with a much needed red zone threat and a viable receiving option to split out across from Josh Gordon. Some, including myself, believe him to be the true reason behind Manziel's college success. However, taking a second receiver with the #6 pick when you already have a talented #1 seems like somewhat of a wasted pick. If only there was an example of that happening in recent years...
It's not all bad news for the boys in brown, however. They still have 5 more picks in the next three rounds to bolster their offensive line, find a #2 corner to pair with Joe Haden and, oh yeah, get an inside linebacker.