Will Atlanta trade up for Clowney?

2014 NFL Draft Jadaveon Clowney Atlanta Falcons Houston Texans

ATLANTA, GA (The Spread) - Will the Falcons trade up in next month's NFL draft to nab the best prospect in this year's class?

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According to CBS' Jason La Canfora, the Falcons "remain very focused" on Jadeveon Clowney and represent the Texans' best option to trade back in the first round. Atlanta currently holds the No. 6 pick in the draft, so moving up to No. 1 would likely require the No. 6 pick, plus the Falcons' first-round pick next year, plus an additional middle round pick in order to execute the trade.

Clowney is controversially viewed as the No. 1 prospect in this year's draft. He has the size, athleticism and strength to be a dominant defensive end at the next level but his work ethic has also been questioned since his days at South Carolina. The Falcons have a massive need for a pass rusher and Clowney could instantly improve Atlanta's defense if he were to pan out.

That said, the Falcons have multiple needs after winning just four games in 2013. Sam Baker is a brutal left tackle, so upgrading the offensive tackle spots are a priority, as is finding a replacement for Tony Gonzalez at tight end and adding a free safety to play alongside William Moore. If the Falcons were to trade up for Clowney, they would essentially forgo any opportunity to address other positions in this year's draft, unless they work out a deal that doesn't involve giving up multiple picks this year. That scenario is highly unlikely, however.

Of course, Thomas Dimitroff is one of the most aggressive general managers in the NFL. Just three years ago he orchestrated a trade that sent the Falcons from No. 26 all the way up to No. 6 in order to snag receiver Julio Jones. If Dimitroff believes that Atlanta is only one player away, then trading up for Clowney would make sense. That said, the Falcons aren't only one player away from reaching the next level so it'll be interesting to see how Dimitroff plays things next month.

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