After making the NFC Championship game, the Atlanta Falcons aren't supposed to pick until there are only three selections left in Thursday night's first round of the NFL Draft, but the team reportedly covets LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo and Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert, and is willing to move up to get them. Appearing on NFL Network's Draft Kickoff show, Ian Rapoport reported the Falcons are interested in LSU DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo and Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert if they can trade up.
When breaking down the Falcons' draft needs, one thing is clearly apparent: the team needs defensive players, especially a pass-rusher to replace John Abraham. That's where Mingo fits in: he's an unbelievably talented 6'4, 241-pound explosion waiting to happen from the defensive end or outside linebacker spots. The problem? He's an unbelievably talented 6'4, 241-pound explosion waiting to happen from the defensive end or outside linebacker spots, and that's going to pull him off the board way, way before the Falcons are on the clock.
Eifert is more interesting, as Tony Gonzalez said this year is his last hurrah, and the team doesn't have an immediate need at the spot. But at the same time, they know that they'll have a need at the position in 2014, and pass-catching tight ends are at a premium in today's NFL. If they're looking for one, Eifert is perfect: 6'6 with hops and great hands, not much of a blocker, but the Falcons wouldn't be looking for one. If the Falcons believe there isn't a suitable tight end in next year's class and think it's a position essential to keeping Matt Ryan's offense running, Eifert might be worth the trade. Peter King mentioned last week that the Falcons might be interested in moving up for Eifert.
The question is what the Falcons would have to give up to get either. Mingo will be more difficult to attain, but both will come with a cost. There will be other pass rush options -- there had been talk of Atlanta going with Mingo's teammate, Sam Montgomery -- but Mingo's elite. Dan Kadar's final mock draft featured the Falcons taking cornerback Darius Slay, with Mingo going No. 6 to the Browns and Eifert going No. 17 to the Steelers.