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

FLOWERY BRANCH – Since 2008, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has made a trade in all seven of his drafts with the franchise.

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:

  • 2014: The Falcons traded their sixth-round pick (182 overall) and one of their three seventh-round picks (220) for the Vikings’ fifth-round pick (168). They selected Syracuse linebacker Marquis Spruill with the pick.
  • 2013: The Falcons traded up from 30 to 22 in the first-round to land cornerback Desmond Trufant. The Falcons traded with the St. Louis Rams They gave up a third and a sixth round pick. In the fifth round, the Falcons traded up 10 picks to get TCU defensive end Stansly Maponga. They sent a seventh-round pick (236) to the Chicago Bears.
  •  2012:  The Falcons made a trade with Baltimore to move down seven spots in the third round to take tackle Lamar Holmes. They picked up a fifth round pick and selected defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi with the 164th overall pick. The Ravens picked up running back Bernard Pierce with the 84th pick the Falcons sent them. The Falcons gave up a seventh rounder (229 overall) to the Eagles in the Asante Samuel trade. The Eagles used that pick to select running back Bryce Brown.
  • 2011: There was the 5-for-1 mega-deal with Cleveland to move up 21 spots in order to land wide receiver Julio Jones. Later, in the fifth round after the spotlight was off the Falcons, he sent two picks to St. Louis in order to move up 10 spots to scoop up running back Jacquizz Rodgers.
  • 2010: Oklahoma cornerback Dominique Franks, who left school a year early, was slipping in the draft. Dimitroff sent two picks to St. Louis to move up 14 spots to acquire Franks.
  • 2009: Dimitroff felt he could get his guy by going back 13 spots in the fifth round. The Falcons made a deal to send their fifth-round pick to Dallas. They moved back 13 spots and picked up a seventh-round pick for their troubles. They drafted offensive lineman Garrett Reynolds in the fifth and Vance Walker in the seventh.
  • 2008: There was a run on left tackles. With the Falcons needing protection for Matt Ryan, Dimitroff sent two second-round picks and a fourth-round pick to Washington in order to move back into the first round and pick Sam Baker with the 21st overall pick. They also received third- and fifth-round picks. The Falcons used those picks to select wide receiver Harry Douglas (84th overall) and defensive end Kroy Biermann (154th).

CLICK HERE FOR LATEST VIDEO: D. Led: Dante Fowler Jr. Fits Falcons


5 questions with Oklahoma tight end Blake Bell

Kentucky's Bud Dupree vs. Nebraska's Randy Gregory

5 questions with Nebraska's Randy Gregory

5 questions with Kentucky's Bud Dupree

5 questions with Missouri's Shane Ray

5 questions with Clemson's Vic Beasley

5 questions with Alabama safety Landon Collins

5 questions with Alabama quarterback Blake Sims

5 questions with Florida defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.

5 questions with Oregoan DL Arik Armstead

5 questions with Miami inside linebacker Denzel Perryman

Falcons go to check out several Miami Hurricanes

Some of the attendees to the Falcons locals day


First round: 8th overall selection

Second round: 42nd overall selection

Third round: 73rd overall selection

Fourth round: 107th overall selection

Fifth round: 146th overall selection

Sixth round: 185th overall selection

Seventh round: 225th overall selection

Seventh round: 249th overall selection*

*Pick is from New England through St. Louis


Wednesday: Top 5 Inside Linebackers

Miami linebacker Denzel Perryman ,

Thursday: Top 5 defensive tackles

(Leonard Williams' Rugby skill will become handy in the NFL)

Friday: Top 5 defensive backs

Alabama's Landon Collins is the top safety prospect

Saturday: Top 5 special teamers

Dorsett, Alford could be top returners

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

Big Chuck Smith breaks down the top pass-rush prospects

Monday: Top 5 Offensive line

Georgia Tech's Shaquille Mason trying to convert to center for NFL 

Tuesday: Top 5 Wide receivers

Georgia's Chris Conley now projects as a fourth-rounder

Wednesday, April 22: Top 5 Running backs

With clean bill of health, Gurley top running back in the draft

Thursday, April 23: Top 5 Quarterbacks

NFL must handle Winston, Mariota with care. Both need seasoning

Friday, April 24: Top 5 Tight ends

South Carolina's Rory "Buster" Anderson hopes to get his NFL shot

ICYMI: Here's a link to last year's Position-by-Position series.

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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.