The Falcons have heavily scouted the pass rushers who’ll be available for the upcoming NFL draft, which is set to be held Thursday through Saturday in Philadelphia.
The Falcons hold the 31st pick and Missouri’s Charles Harris and Tennessee’s Derek Barnett will be long gone.
However, the Falcons believe there will be opportunities to move up into the 20s to land one of the “handful” of players they’ve targeted.
“I think the reality is that there will be opportunities to move up into the 20s, it’s there,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said on Thursday. “I say that because there are going to be some interesting opportunities I believe.
“We’ll look at opportunities.”
The Falcons have been aggressive in the past. Dimitroff traded back into the first round in 2008 to land tackle Sam Baker. He moved up 21 spots to select wide receiver Julio Jones in 2011 and he moved up eight spots to select cornerback Desmond Trufant in 2013.
“(Falcons head coach) Dan (Quinn) asked me the other day, have you ever moved back?,” Dimitroff said.
Just once, last year from 50 to 52.
“To move up in the 20s, there will be opportunities there,” Dimitroff said. “There are some interesting candidates that will be around there in the early parts of the 20s.”