Falcons willing to trade back in the first round to add more picks

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Atlanta Falcons have done their share of wheeling and dealing under general manager Thomas Dimitroff, including a blockbuster trade in 2011 that landed Julio Jones in exchange for five draft picks.

But with only five selections this year after losing their fifth-rounder for a crowd noise violation and their sixth-rounder in a trade with Tennessee for left guard Andy Levitre, the Falcons find themselves in position to maybe trade back to gain more picks and add more depth.

Dimitroff has made it known to others around the league that the Falcons, currently holders of the 17th overall pick, are willing to explore such a trade.

"We've looked at all the different scenarios, of course, and having few picks this year gives us an opportunity," Dimitroff said . "We think the draft has some really good strength from No. 15 on -- obviously, as well as at the front of the draft. But we think there's some good opportunities all the way through into the third round. So, it does present options to potentially move back.

"We have been aggressive here since 2008, but not against moving back at all."

Have the Falcons already discussed trade-back options with other teams?

"Not specifically," Dimitroff said. "I mean, I've done my part in inquiring, and this is the time of year I do that, obviously, in calling out to make sure people know that we are open to something like that. That's always important. It's always important to do it now where we make sure we get the word out now so it's not the day before the draft.

"A lot of people start working their deals and thinking about who they want to deal with a lot earlier than right on the clock. So, I think it's important to cultivate those relationships and those thoughts prior to [the draft]."

In last year's draft, the San Francisco 49ers traded the 15th overall selection to San Diego in exchange for the 17th overall pick, a fourth-round pick, and a fifth-round pick in this year's draft. The Chargers made the move in order to move up to select running back Melvin Gordon.

In 2006, the Falcons traded the 15th overall pick to Denver in exchange for the Broncos' 28th overall pick, a third-round pick, and a 2007 seventh-round pick. The Falcons ended up trading the 28th overall pick to the New York Jets in exchange for defensive end John Abraham.

Of course, trading back doesn't have to be just about swapping a first-round pick.

"I think now that the draft also is split into a couple of days, it happens a little bit more, then it's the second day and someone's wanting to get back up into the second round and into that spot," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. "So I think it's not just the first [day], it's the second day as well."

We'll see if the Falcons indeed pull the trigger on a trade or just keep the 17th overall selection and proceed from there. They have obvious needs at linebacker, pass-rusher, and strong safety, with tight end, offensive guard, and cornerback being other areas that could be addressed.

Dimitroff was asked if the list of players the Falcons would consider at No. 17 has been narrowed.

"We have a number of players at No. 17 that we feel really good about," Dimitroff said. "I think that's the interesting thing about this year's draft. In the middle of the round, normally I feel like it gets a little bit sketchy where you start wondering, 'Wow, will that player that we're truly targeted on be there?' And it feels good to know that we have a handful of guys that we seriously think can affect this team and be legit contributors in Dan's scheme."

How many?

"A handful or two," Dimitroff said.

Said Quinn with a laugh, "Five."