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Espn Pre Draft Trade (Baker)

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Buffalo Bills trade linebacker Manny Lawson to the Atlanta Falcons for offensive tackle Sam Baker

Why it works for Buffalo: Under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, the Bills will look to utilize their outside linebackers in space. GM Doug Whaley has anointed Lawson as a "hybrid player" this offseason, but that also means he may not have a natural position in this scheme. With Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes as edge players, Buffalo has some wiggle room to deal Lawson. Baker, meanwhile, would give Buffalo an option to play opposite Cordy Glenn at either tackle spot. Head coach Doug Marrone is a talented offensive line tutor who could revitalize Baker's play after a down 2013. While Baker signed a lucrative contract last year, the bulk of the guaranteed money has been paid out, softening the financial blow for Buffalo. A retooled deal could also be brought to the table. Obviously, Baker's health is a consideration coming off a knee issue, but if the Bills could shore up the offensive tackle spot, the board would be wide open for them at pick No. 9 in the first round. As things stand now, they may feel some pressure to draft a tackle.

Why it works for Atlanta: The Falcons have an obvious need for pass-rushers, and while head coach Mike Smith recently declared that the team will not run a 3-4 defense, much of their personnel approach this offseason suggests that it will be. Lawson would give them a veteran rusher with good length who can set the edge, and the Falcons wouldn't have to reach at No. 6 overall if Khalil Mack is off the board (presuming that Jadeveon Clowney is long gone by then). The Falcons could then target one of the top offensive tackle prospects available in the draft, with Texas A&M's Jake Matthews as a possible option. He'd be an immediate and long-term starter at left tackle.


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