If the Atlanta Falcons were sellers at the trade deadline on October 31st, who could they trade to get at least a first-round draft pick?
That was the question Bill Barnwell asked of every NFL team in his recent, massive column on ESPN+.
He took into account age, health, position and contract when deciding which players would fetch a first round pick in a vacuum. He came up with just 102 names, but the Falcons were well represented with three players and a surprise omission.
Barnwell chose A.J. Terrell as the Falcons’ most valuable trade piece. He thinks Terrell would get a first-round pick and change if he were available.
“A.J. Terrell struggled a bit last season and is playing on the fourth year of his rookie deal, so he’s not quite as valuable as Sauce Gardner or Pat Surtain, who are younger and further from free agency,” wrote Barnwell on ESPN+. “Terrell was one of the league’s best cornerbacks in 2021, though, and has spent most of his career playing on bad defenses with no pass rush. He would be a revelation playing for a team like the Eagles.”
A bad pass rush is an understatement. The Falcons have 78 sacks in the three-plus seasons of Terrell’s career. The Eagles had 70 sacks…. last season.
Barnwell thinks the Falcons’ two-most recent first-round picks would still bring a first-rounder in return. He’s not concerned with positional value for Bijan Robinson.
“Bijan Robinson has been as advertised so far, as he ranks among the league leaders in rush yards over expectation,” wrote Barnwell. “There are a number of teams that simply wouldn’t be willing to use a first-round pick on a running back because of the opportunity cost in making that sort of deal, but Robinson is still going to deliver surplus value over the next four seasons if he plays this way.”
“Drake London’s week-to-week role in the offense can be frustrating, but we’re still talking about a 2022 top-10 pick who grades out as efficient on a route-by-route basis. He has averaged 2.1 yards per route run since entering the league, which is just below Ja’Marr Chase and Mike Williams. The problem is that Chase has run nearly 41 routes per game since the start of 2022, while London is averaging just over 25. It might take an A.J. Brown-style trade to a team that is going to throw the ball and put London on the field more often to unlock the sort of numbers people are hoping to see from the second-year pro, but the talent’s there.”
On his category of missing out, Barnwell included tight end Kyle Pitts.
“I’ve wavered about TE Kyle Pitts, who had one of the most impressive rookie seasons we’ve ever seen from a tight end, but who also doesn’t look 100% after returning from knee surgery,” wrote Barnwell. “There are teams that want their tight end to be a difference-maker in the red zone, too, and Pitts only has four scores across 33 games. He likely would be back alongside London if he looks healthy over the second half of the campaign.”
We had this discussion last week on the Falcons Podcast about Pitts. His rookie contract is winding down, but there’s still more than enough potential there for a first-round pick.
He turned 23-years old two-weeks ago and is still one of the most physically imposing tight ends in the NFL. He’s fetching more than a second-round pick.
Age, position, and or contracts factor in heavily when thinking of trade value for the remaining Falcons. Jessie Bates is playing at a first-round level, but he’s expensive at a non-premium position. Same goes for guard Chris Lindstrom.
Age factors in for a players like Grady Jarrett and Jake Matthews. They are both plus players at premium spots, but they are 30 and 31 respectively.
Overall, the Falcons are well represented on Barnwell’s list. Three of their four most recent first-round picks are still worth their draft spots. The fourth has a pretty good argument.