Should the Falcons trade up for A.J. Green?

Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that the Falcons should do everything in their power to move up to select Georgia receiver A.J. Green in next month’s draft. He also appears to be confused on the CBA rules.

It would take a lot for the Falcons to move up from 27th in the draft to get Green: at least this year’s and next year’s first-rounder pick. He’s worth it. There were 48 NFL scouts at Georgia’s Pro Day Tuesday. The only time they looked disappointed was when a bizarre league rule forced them to leave the field when Green ran pass routes.

Next year’s “first-rounder pick”? Something that Schultz either fails to mention or fails to realize is that without a CBA, there is no draft next season – let alone draft picks to trade. As it stands today, teams can’t trade their 2012 draft picks because they don’t exist without a CBA. So the Falcons couldn’t include a package with their first rounder next year even if they wanted to. (This rule is also lost upon Schultz’s AJC co-worker D. Orlando Ledbetter, who seems to think that the Falcons might be able to move up by trading away their first two picks this year and their second rounder in 2012. Again, without a CBA in place, the Falcons couldn’t trade their 2012 second round pick.)

Now, maybe Schultz and Ledbetter do know the rule and they’re basing their assumption that there will be a CBA in place by the draft next month. But if that’s the case, then why didn’t they just say they were working under this assumption? Furthermore, what’s transpired over the last month to make either of them believe that the owners and players are getting closer to agreeing to a new deal?

Did these two not do their homework or am I missing something here? One would think that writers at a major newspaper such as the AJC would understand the situation before discussing what it would take for a team selecting at No. 27 to move all the way into the top 10 (where Green will undoubtedly be selected) when the league is in the midst of a labor dispute.

Trading up for Green would seem highly unlikely unless the Falcons were willing to part with their entire draft this year. And considering their needs along the offensive line (three of their five starters are free agents), at defensive end and at nickel back, the Falcons can’t mortgage their draft for one player – even if it is someone as talented as A.J. Green.

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