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Jags, Falcons nearly flip-flopped first-round picks

Posted by Mike Florio on May 12, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

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As the 2014 draft approached, it seemed that the Falcons hoped to trade up from pick No. 6 — and the Rams at No. 2 and the Jaguars at No. 3 seemed to be the best possibilities for making a deal.

Both teams have General Managers who previously served as the right-hand man to Falcons G.M. Thomas Dimitroff. Through 2011 it was Rams G.M. Les Snead, working at the director of player personnel. Jaguars G.M. Dave Caldwell succeeded Snead in 2013.

As it turns out, the Jags and Falcons were indeed discussing a trade that would have placed the Jaguars at No. 6 and the Falcons at No. 3. According to Peter King of TheMMQB.com, Atlanta would have taken tackle Jake Matthews at No. 3 (not linebacker Khalil Mack), and the Jags would have targeted quarterback Blake Bortles at No. 6.

Jacksonville also would have gotten a third-round pick for sliding down three spots.

“The reason I didn’t take the trade is there were so many teams that wanted quarterbacks — at one, four, five, seven and eight, and they were all within striking distance of us,’’ Caldwell told King. “I just kept thinking, ‘One of those teams has to see what we were seeing in Bortles.’ So let’s say we move back and make a deal. What are we going to take in the third? A guard? You can find guards. You can’t find the quarterback you think fits your team best. So in the end it wasn’t a hard decision for us.”

Despite plenty of draft experts and media members arguing after the fact that the Jags could have traded down far lower than No. 6 and still gotten Bortles, Caldwell wasn’t so sure. What if another team had managed, as he had, to conceal his interest in Bortles?

“[T]here was just too much at stake to risk anyone finding out and possible jumping us,” Caldwell said. “I’m quiet by nature, so it wasn’t hard for me. I wasn’t saying a word. I love Thomas. I’d say 99 percent of the time when we talk, I tell him everything and bounce things off him. But not this time.”

Regardless of whether Bortles pans out at the next level, the Jaguars made the right move. When a team finds the guy it wants at such a critical position, the team shouldn’t play games. They should just take him and not look back.

For the Jags, it’s now all about looking forward to perhaps the brightest future the franchise has had, in a while.

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thank God we did not trade up for Jake Matthews - not sure if I believe this. Falcons had to know there was a great chance that Jake Matthews would be available at #6.

David Caldwell/GM Jaguars - saved the Falcons.

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thank God we did not trade up for Jake Matthews - not sure if I believe this. Falcons had to know there was a great chance that Jake Matthews would be available at #6.

I don't believe Peter King on who we were targeting on this one.

I think it's pretty clear that we were targeting Mack and for a 3rd rounder too.

That would have been perfect.

I made a thread about missing out Khalil Mack and everybody was like it would have taken away Hageman and next year's 1st. Wrong!

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Seems a little fishy considering we were waiting on the phone to ring for a trade back. We move up to 3, and it would almost have to be for Khalil Mack.

I was on the pass rusher train, but I've had time to digest this and Matthews was the pick we needed.

Exactly! We were looking to trade back with Matthews right there. We weren't trading up for him. It was clearly for Mack.

Thanks Gdawg but this article just pissed me off. Lol!

We would have had Mack and kept our 2nd rounder and all of our next year's picks!

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I don't know any team that comes out and says we did not get our guy. Kind of a slap in the face of the pick you got. That would not be a good move for building good relations with your players.

Which is probably why King was told we would trade up or Matthews or we paid him to lie about it. Lol

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I don't know any team that comes out and says we did not get our guy. Kind of a slap in the face of the pick you got. That would not be a good move for building good relations with your players.

The info can still come out.

For example

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The Dallas Morning News reports that the Cowboys wanted to improve their defense in the first round, and they were hoping that pass rusher Anthony Barr, defensive tackle Aaron Donald or linebacker Ryan Shazier would be available. Barr went No. 9 to Minnesota and Donald went No. 13 to St. Louis. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Shazier’s agent was on the phone with the Cowboys and Shazier’s dad was preparing to tell people that he was going to Dallas, right up until the point that the Steelers took Shazier one spot before the Cowboys could grab him.

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The Steelers, on the other hand, had planned to select cornerback Justin Gilbert (No. 8, Browns) or LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham (No. 12, Giants). Once those players were gone, general manager Kevin Colbert said it was "an easy evaluation" to switch gears and grab the best player on their board.

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Would you be happier with Mack and Hageman than with Matthews, Hageman and Southward?

I wouldn't have. I am not big on Southward. I'm hopeful, but not big on him. But we loaded up on defense AND got a HUGE upgrade on the OL. I think this was best case scenario.

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If this is true, thank you Caldwell. I like Matthews but nobody was going to grab him before us. I don't think TD would tell Caldwell who we was taking. TD probably wanted Robinson and thought Houston would take Clowney and STL/trade partner would take Watkins. Leaving Robinson @ 3

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Ladies and gentlemen: Scott Pioli. TD had his hand on the phone and Pioli smacked him on the knuckles with a ruler. And we got our guy at 6.

Yea he smacked his hand with a ruler because he wants TD to lose his job. He more than likely will if this defense has another mid 20s ranking and the team finishes under .500.

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