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Friday, May 9, 2014
Dimitroff: Falcons wanted back in first

By Vaughn McClure

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Atlanta Falcons indeed wanted to trade up on Day 1 of the NFL draft, but they wanted to do so after already selecting offensive tackle Jake Matthews at No. 6.

General manager Thomas Dimitroff admitted he wanted to trade back into the 20s in the first round with hopes of getting a player such as Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier or Auburn pass-rusher Dee Ford. Shazier actually went 15th to the Pittsburgh Steelers while Ford went 23rd to the Kansas City Chiefs, so Ford was the more realistic option.

"We worked hard at it, and you have to have a dance partner," Dimitroff said of trying to trade back into the first round. "In the end, we didn't at the spots that we were interested."

Falcons coach Mike Smith echoed Dimitroff's thoughts.

"Thomas was working very hard, and like he said, it takes two to dance," Smith said. "Shoot, I felt like junior/senior prom, sitting there and couldn't get nobody to go to the damn dance. ... We weren't getting the three-letter answer. We were getting the two-letter answer."

The Falcons hold the fifth pick in Friday's second round, or the 37th overall selection. Houston is first up at No. 33 and seems likely to take a quarterback, followed by Washington, Cleveland, and Oakland. The Raiders got a pass-rusher in the first round in Buffalo's Khalil Mack.

Dimitroff was asked about any leftover pass-rushers that might be available on Day 2.

"I believe there are a number of outside linebackers in this draft," Dimitroff said. "They can continue to come up at all levels in the middle rounds. There are still some pass-rushers, I'm sure."

Boise State's Demarcus Lawrence is probably at the top of the list, and the Falcons showed plenty of interest in Lawrence during the pre-draft process. BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy is another one of those players capable of helping the Falcons on defense.