Atlanta Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot at NFL Combine - Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Falcons NFL Draft

Falcons Projected to Land Top Edge Rusher After Trade Back

In a new mock draft from CBS Sports’ Eric Galko, the Atlanta Falcons gained draft capital by trading back from No. 8 to 12 in the first round. But despite making their selection four picks later, Galko still predicted the Falcons to land Alabama’s Dallas Turner.

The ESPN consensus draft rankings have Turner rated the top edge rusher in the upcoming draft class.

“The Falcons move down from the eighth pick and still end up with Dallas Turner, one the two best defensive prospects in the draft,” wrote Galko.

The CBS mock draft expert didn’t include trade details of Atlanta’s move back from No. 8 to 12. But Falcons fans can look at last year’s draft to get an idea of what the team would gain with a move back four spots.

In the 2023 draft, the Detroit Lions dropped back from No. 6 to 12 through a trade with the Arizona Cardinals. The Lions also gave up a 2023 third-round pick in the deal. Detroit received the No. 34 selection in the second round and a fifth rounder in return.

That second-round pick for Detroit became second-team All-Pro tight end Sam LaPorta.

There would be a significant draft capital advantage for the Falcons to trade back a few spots. Landing Turner after a move down the draft board would then be the ultimate coup. A lot of mock draft experts have predicted the Falcons to target Turner since the team signed quarterback Kirk Cousins.

In addition to ESPN, Pro Football Focus has Turner rated as the best edge rusher in the 2024 draft class. Bleacher Report’s latest consensus draft rankings have Turner at No. 2 among all edge rushing prospects.

During the 2023 season, Turner posted 10 sacks, 14.5 tackles for loss and 2 forced fumbles in 14 games. He finished his career at Alabama with 22.5 sacks and 32.5 tackles for loss.

The Falcons were 21st in the NFL with 42 sacks last season. They haven’t finished in the top half of the league in sacks since 2017.