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Polian's Take On Falcons Trading Up


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Polian's take on Falcons trading up

April, 28, 2014

APR 28

1:50

PM ET

By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com

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There has been plenty of discussion over the past few days about the possibility of the Atlanta Falcons trading up to the No. 1 overall pick in order to select top prospect Jadeveon Clowney from South Carolina.

Well-respected writer Peter King probably nailed it best in The MMQB when he said there's about a 40 percent chance the Falcons will make the move to secure the coveted pass-rushers. I only see it happening if the Houston Texans, owners of the first selection, are willing to give the Falcons one steal of a deal. From the Falcons' perspective, it would be insane to give up a bunch of picks when the Texans already get a top-six pick in return. It's not like they're moving up from the bottom of the first round.

Whatever the case, we asked longtime NFL executive and ESPN analyst Bill Polian what he would surrender for the No. 1 pick, if he happened to be in the Falcons' situation.

``Well, it would take obviously a swap of first-round picks, and then it's probably going take two other picks,'' Polian said. ``Those two other picks are negotiable, depending upon ... you're moving five spots. You're moving for a premium player. There's probably another No. 1 involved. And then after that, the sweetener remains to be seen. Or, they could throw in a number of extra picks, which would [offset] the No. 1. It just depends on how the club that is trading views what it is they're getting.''

It's interesting how talk of the Falcons trading up has gathered more attention considering how Monday is the three-year anniversary of the team's last blockbuster deal. On this day in 2011, general manager Thomas Dimitroff surrendered five draft picks -- two first-rounders, a second-rounder and two fourth-round picks -- to the Cleveland Browns in order to move up from No. 27 to No. 6 in the first round and select game-changing receiver Julio Jones.

Those five picks ended up being the following players, though not all by the Browns: receiver Jonathan Baldwin (drafted by Chiefs following trade with Browns), receiver Greg Little (still with Browns), fullback Owen Marecic (free agent), QB Brandon Weeden (released by Browns, picked up by Cowboys); and receiver Jarius Wright (drafted by Vikings following trade with Browns). Baldwin and Weeden were the first-round picks, Little the second, and Marecic and Wright the fourths.

Some folks still second-guess the Falcons' decision to surrender those five picks, considering how lack of depth was an obvious issue during last season's 4-12 implosion. It didn't help matters when Jones went down with a season-ending foot injury just five games into the year.

Polian doesn't agree with anyone who questions the trade for Jones.

``Difference-makers win championships. You have to have difference-makers,'' Polian said. ``What would you rather have, a difference-maker or three backups? People who criticize it want you to get difference-makers and also have depth and also stay within the salary cap and also pay the quarterback. That's Fantasyland.''

In terms of Clowney being a difference-maker worth trading up for, Polian said there's little disputing the defensive end's talent.

``There's absolutely no question about that, talent-wise,'' Polian said. ``But you never know how a player is going to play when he comes into the National Football League. There are no sure things. But as far as a difference-maker, you know, talent-wise, yeah absolutely. No question about it.''

The Falcons seem destined to target one of five players if they keep the sixth pick or trade up: Clowney, outside linebacker Khalil Mack, and offensive tackles Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, and Taylor Lewan.

``I have always quoted Tony Dungy, with whom I agree completely, that if you're in the top 10, you probably would like to get a guy that scores touchdowns, throws touchdowns, catches touchdowns, sacks the quarterback or turns the ball over,'' Polian said. ``That's ideal. Other than that, if one of those people aren't there in the opinion of the drafting club, then you take the best player, whoever that may be.''

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``Difference-makers win championships. You have to have difference-makers,'' Polian said. ``What would you rather have, a difference-maker or three backups? People who criticize it want you to get difference-makers and also have depth and also stay within the salary cap and also pay the quarterback. That's Fantasyland.''

This can't be, this isn't what TATF taught me.

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I think people look at talent with awe and don't realize that whats between a persons ears trumps talent often times.

Talent is a potentiality....will is a driving force

True, but this team doesn't lack players with good character or smarts. Our late round philosophy seems to be go after every Eagle Scout and team captain we can get our hands on, when we should be going after talent.

The move ups for Trufant and Julio were partially motivated by the mix of both. But this team doesn't go after bad apples. That's one criticism, maybe save Ray Edwards, that you can't really go after this regime on.

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Those five picks ended up being the following players, though not all by the Browns: receiver Jonathan Baldwin (drafted by Chiefs following trade with Browns), receiver Greg Little (still with Browns), fullback Owen Marecic (free agent), QB Brandon Weeden (released by Browns, picked up by Cowboys); and receiver Jarius Wright (drafted by Vikings following trade with Browns). Baldwin and Weeden were the first-round picks, Little the second, and Marecic and Wright the fourths.

Browns having the extra picks did not help them at all.

Our GM has missed on a bunch of picks, so take the talent and not the later picks.

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I think people look at talent with awe and don't realize that whats between a persons ears trumps talent often times.

Talent is a potentiality....will is a driving force

that may be true but we have drafted a ton of players with will and desire. It hasn't worked out to well I think its about time we gambled on players with Talent.
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``I have always quoted Tony Dungy, with whom I agree completely, that if you're in the top 10, you probably would like to get a guy that scores touchdowns, throws touchdowns, catches touchdowns, sacks the quarterback or turns the ball over,'' Polian said. ``That's ideal. Other than that, if one of those people aren't there in the opinion of the drafting club, then you take the best player, whoever that may be.''

Way to shoot down the notion of picking an OT!!

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Look at the complete chit the Browns wound up with, fk if they had it to do all over again they would of just took Julio LMFAO .....

That's what kind of scares me about assuming we can just wait until the second and find the answer to the pass-rush woes. You may end up with a Greg Little at passrush, all the upside, but never able to put it together.

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Jimmy Johnson did great with 2nd and 3rd rounders.....after Herschel trade.

Too many here want to be on the wrong side of a Herschel type trade.....they want to play the Minnesota Vikings role

That's an extreme situation. They gave up something like 7 picks for one guy. We wouldn't be doing that no matter where we move.

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That's what kind of scares me about assuming we can just wait until the second and find the answer to the pass-rush woes. You may end up with a Greg Little at passrush, all the upside, but never able to put it together.

Bro, I am warming up to the Clown move up....god help me, I want him BAD ...if you had told me at the start of last year we might have a shot at him I would have laughed in your face ...who dafk is laughing NOW ? ....

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Make the trade. We've put so much into the defensive line this offseason, let's take a huge step into hopefully solidifying it.

Clowvey will make Mass a much better pass rusher, and Clowvey and Mass will both have guys to eat up blocks for them to make plays.

We have a great rotation to mix and match with Bartu, Spoon, Wor, and Kroy. I would say spoon and Bartu can play inside and out in certain looks.

Lots of flexibility, two very good young corners, tons of depth along the line and db's. I'm not exactly sure where the "holes" are on the defense. We've got competition and depth everywhere.

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Make the trade. We've put so much into the defensive line this offseason, let's take a huge step into hopefully solidifying it.

Clowvey will make Mass a much better pass rusher, and Clowvey and Mass will both have guys to eat up blocks for them to make plays.

We have a great rotation to mix and match with Bartu, Spoon, Wor, and Kroy. I would say spoon and Bartu can play inside and out in certain looks.

Lots of flexibility, two very good young corners, tons of depth along the line and db's. I'm not exactly sure where the "holes" are on the defense. We've got competition and depth everywhere.

We would be one FS short of a legit D at that point.........
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This is what I've been saying this entire time. Everyone keeps talking bout depth, depth, depth but impact starters win ballgames. Say if we do end up trading up and trade Our 1st and 2nd this season and next year's 1st and 4th we'd only be giving up ONE pick this season and we'd still have 8 other picks after that to add "depth"

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I think people look at talent with awe and don't realize that whats between a persons ears trumps talent often times.

Talent is a potentiality....will is a driving force

You are very right about that but measuring someone's will and intangibles is not an easy task. A player with a great work ethic and marginal talent can often outperform someone with big-time talent and a substandard work ethic.

When it comes to Clowney's blowing teams off when it comes to working out, can you really blame him? If you were more or less guaranteed to be a top pick and command millions of dollars, you have nothing to gain and very much to lose in working out. I don't hold that against him because he is making a rational financial decision.

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