As the Atlanta Falcons prepare for the 2022 NFL Draft, from now up until April 28th there will be plenty of questions, theories, and rumors about who the Falcons will draft and what they will do with the eighth overall pick. An intriguing theory and possibility was brought up earlier today on The Nick Kayal Show by Audacy NFL insider Brian Baldinger. Baldy, like a lot of Falcons fans, thinks the Falcons should draft a pass rusher with their first round pick in the draft. However, Brian thinks the Falcons need to go all in this draft as they start to rebuild this defense.
When Nick asked Baldinger if anybody stood out to him that could be there for the Falcons at eight overall, Baldy said “I’d do everything I could to get Aidan Hutchinson to start to rebuild my defense.” Falcons fans who are also Georgia fans saw Hutchinson up close and personal as the Bulldogs took on Hutchinson’s Michigan Wolverines in a College Football Playoff Semi-final game this year. The Bulldogs dominated the Wolverines and of course went on to win their first National Championship in 41 years, and the Dawgs kept Hutchinson in check. The consensus number one overall pick was held to just four tackles and one tackle for loss in Capital One Orange Bowl.
Now, as far as logistics goes how would the Atlanta Falcons get to Aidan Hutchinson? Nick believes the Falcons “would have to get to at least two, and most likely one” to draft Hutchinson. The Jacksonville Jaguars, who hold the number one overall pick, got what seems to be their franchise quarterback in Trevor Lawrence in last year’s draft, and now will be looking to bolster their defensive line with Aidan Hutchinson or possibly Kayvon Thibodeaux, and even if the Jaguars do select Thibodeaux with the first overall pick, you have to think the Detroit Lions, who have Jared Goff at quarterback, will draft the hometown kid in Hutchinson, so what will the Falcons have to give up to get the number one overall pick?
Obviously to get the number one overall pick the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Atlanta Falcons would swap picks for this year first and foremost. Also, the Jacksonville Jaguars also are in need of offensive firepower to put around Trevor Lawrence, and with everything going on with Calvin Ridley you have to think he would be apart of the deal as well, but what else would the Falcons have to give up? A first round pick next year? A second round pick this year or next year on top of that? Nick Kayal believes this isn’t the right move for the Falcons saying “you would have to give up too much for what you would be getting back.” Nick makes a great point there, this a heavy defensive draft, especially in the trenches and with edge rushers. Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeax are the cream of the crop when it comes to edge rushes, but there is also Hutchinson’s running mate David Ojabo and George Karlaftis who are also highly rated edge rushers in this year’s draft and will most likely be there for the Falcons at eight. Later on in the show, NFL Analyst Benjamin Allbright joined the Nick Kayal Show, and Nick asked him about the possibility of the Falcons trading up to get the number one overall pick and Allbright said “I’m not opposed to it if he’s your guy.”, but ultimately had the same sentiment saying “This is also a historically deep class for pass rushers, so maybe trading up isn’t the answer maybe trading back and getting more that may not be Hutchinson, but you’re still getting excellent starting caliber pass rushers I think might be a different strategy, so I don’t want to sit here and disagree with Baldy overall, but I think that trading up in a class that’s historically deep at a certain position doesn’t seem like the best value to me.”
That’s what it comes down to if you’re the Falcons. How much do you VALUE Aidan Huitchison if you’re the Falcons? Is Aidan Hutchison worth potentially Calvin Ridley and draft capital when you could still get a longtime starting and potentially All-Pro caliber pass rusher without giving up anything? We will find out April 28th if the Falcons take a page out of Brian Baldinger’s book, Benjamin Allbright’s book, or maybe just stay put and see who is there at eight.