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Cowboys 2020 Draft: What the Falcons moving up in the draft could mean for Dallas

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How do the reports of the Falcons considering trading up impact the Cowboys’ draft plans?

NFL: FEB 27 Scouting Combine Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the draft about a week away from now, there are reports off all kinds flying around. Player A will rise after impressing teams during his Zoom interviews, while Player B will fall further than expected based on teams going back to the tape. Some teams will make a trade up in the draft order, while another is looking to trade back.

It is difficult to determine what is real and what are rumors from teams trying to get a prospect to fall to them, or to gain leverage on a team in trade talks. As The Draft Network’s Jordan Reid tweeted earlier in the week, it won’t be much longer until “we get real answers”.

A report surfaced on Wednesday that could play a role in what the Cowboys do come draft night. With prospects gaining momentum leading up to the draft, some teams will look to make a move up in the order to secure the player that they want. Ian Rapoport is reporting that the Atlanta Falcons are one of those teams that is in talks about potentially trading up next Thursday evening.

The Falcons, of course, are on the clock just one pick before the Cowboys. Naturally, Atlanta happens to have the same needs that the Cowboys are looking to fill: pass rusher, cornerback, and interior defensive line. There is a strong possibility that the Falcons could steal the prospect that the Cowboys are hoping falls to them.

Perhaps the name most commonly linked to both squads is Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson, who many rank as the second best corner in the draft behind Ohio State’s (and South Grand Praire’s) Jeff Okudah. The Falcons need to upgrade Dan Quinn’s secondary — especially after the team let Desmond Trufant walk in free agency — while Dallas desperately needs to find a potential replacement for Byron Jones.

Henderson was thought to be a realistic possibility in the 16-to-17 pick range, where both Atlanta and Dallas are slated to make their selections. However, Henderson has seen his stock soar over the past few days. Multiple people are reporting that the Florida prospect could very well go within the first 10 picks of the draft.

The possibility of Henderson going off of the board sooner than previously expected is becoming very real. Therefore, it would make sense if Atlanta wanted to trade up to ensure they get their guy rather than waiting to see who falls to their 16th overall selection.

The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, who has Henderson being drafted by the Jaguars at nine overall in his latest mock — believes that is where the Falcons are looking.

What does this mean for the Cowboys? Corner is a huge need for this team. there is no getting around that. With Okudah expected to be long off the board, Henderson has been the corner that the Cowboys supposedly have had their eyes on for quite some time.

But, if Henderson is gone, Dallas must adjust and turn their attention elsewhere. Whether that means drafting a different corner — such as LSU’s Kristian Fulton, Alabama’s Trevon Diggs, or Clemson’s A.J. Terrell — or going a different route remains to be seen.

What we do expect, though, is that EDGE is near the top of the Cowboys’ board. Much like corner, there is a consensus top player at the position (Chase Young) that will be long gone; however LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson is the consensus EDGE2 in the class.

If the Falcons do trade up in the draft, who would be interesting in being a trade partner? Reid lists two teams that pick in the top-10.

The Browns are in serious need of an offensive tackle, but it is a realistic possibility that the top four tackles are gone prior to the Browns’ selection. They could trade back and target a Josh Jones or Austin Jackson while accumulating more draft capital. Another option is the Jacksonville Jaguars, who could target a wide receiver for Gardner Minshew II or an interior defensive tackle, such as Javon Kinlaw.

While the thought is that the Falcons are targeting Henderson, Ben Albright says he has heard Kinlaw may actually be the target. Dane Brugler, however, says the Falcons “are doing ton of work” on first-round corners.

One way or another, it is possible that this scenario could potentially push a Cowboys target down the board. If this happens, Chaisson could be there for Dallas to take. Obviously, there is a possibility another team makes a move up or that the team Atlanta makes a deal with loves the LSU product and decides to take him themselves, but the Falcons trading up in the draft could help the Cowboys’ chances in adding Chaisson to its defense.

K’Lavon Chaisson would be a great fit for what the Cowboys want to do defensively. He has the traits to be scary rushing the passer, while also possessing the athleticism needed to be a factor in coverage. The Galena Park North Shore product came on strong for the LSU Tigers in 2019 on the way to winning a national championship.

The Cowboys should be elated if the Falcons moving up in the draft for Henderson allows Chaisson to fall to 17.