Dimitroff appears set to make a play for Dante Fowler Jr.

He's made big trade, middle-round trade and late-round trades. His mega-deal was the 2011 trade to slide up 21 spots to grab wide receiver Julio Jones with the Cleveland Browns. The deal helped the Falcons nearly reach the Super Bowl in the 2012 season.

So it shouldn't be a surprise that the Falcons will consider trading up to try and land Florida defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., who was recruited by head coach Dan Quinn and played two seasons for him in Gainesville, Fla.

Dimitroff said the franchise is considering all of their options.

“There is a lot of discussions already about moving both ways with a lot of our peers in the league,” Dimitroff said. “A lot of it has to do with what goes down with the top three picks. That’s going to set the tone for how much movement there is into the top 10 and even in the top five.”

Dante Fowler in action against South Carolina.

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston and Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota are expected to be selected first and second. USC’s defensive lineman Leonard Williams, who some consider the best player in the draft, could go third to Jacksonville.

In the No. 4 slot, the Oakland Raiders are open for trading business.

Ironically, Dimitroff and Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, a Ron Wolf disciple from Green Bay, were the finalists for the Atlanta job back in 2008. They have not business before.

“My phone line is always open,” McKenzie said in his pre-draft press conference. “You hear everybody out. If it makes sense and it’s going to help the Raiders, we’ll do a deal.”

Jacksonville general manager Dave Caldwell worked under Dimitroff in Atlanta from 2008 to 2012.

Now, the Falcons could trade back and amass picks and presumably land two first-round picks if their coveted edge rusher is not available in the eight position.

After Fowler, Clemson’s Vic Beasley, Kentucky’s Bud Dupree and Missouri’s Shane Ray are the top edge rushers.

Bud Dupree is UK’s first defensive lineman to be named AP first team All-SEC since Corey Peters in 2009 (UK Athletics Photo)

Quinn didn’t sound too interested in Nebraska’s Randy Gregory, who failed a drug test at the NFL scouting combine, when discussing the importance of character and team chemistry.

“For us to be really good, this team has to be tight,” Quinn said. “Those guys have to connect. … It’s such a wide topic, off the field concerns, where some people, some clubs may do it differently, but for us, how tight and close can this team get? Bringing in great teammates into our locker room is really important to me.”

Last season, the Falcons sent the team’s sixth (182 overall) and one of their three seventh-round picks (220) to the Minnesota Vikings for a fifth-round pick. The pick was used to select Syracuse linebacker Marquis Spruill, who missed last season with a knee injury.

The Falcons were also looking to trade for a late first-round pick, but their intended targets went too high.

They had an eye on Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier, but realized early that too many teams wanted him, and it would cost too much to move up high enough. He was selected by Pittsburgh with the 15th pick.

The Falcons’ attention then shifted to Auburn defensive end Dee Ford, who didn’t slip into their range. Ford was selected by Kansas City with the 23rd pick.

“We worked hard at it, and you have to have a dance partner,” Dimitroff said last year. “In the end, we didn’t (trade) at the spots that we were interested in.”

Here’s a look at Dimitroff’s trading record:


*Pick is from New England through St. Louis


Wednesday: Top 5 Inside Linebackers

Thursday: Top 5 defensive tackles

Friday: Top 5 defensive backs

Saturday: Top 5 special teamers

Sunday: Top 5 edge rushers (defensive ends/outside linebackers).

Monday: Top 5 Offensive line

Tuesday: Top 5 Wide receivers

Wednesday, April 22: Top 5 Running backs

Thursday, April 23: Top 5 Quarterbacks

Friday, April 24: Top 5 Tight ends

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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.