Teams that Could Make NFL Draft Trades on Saturday
by Robert Ferringo - 04/24/2009
Terrell Owens, Tony Gonzalez, Fred Taylor, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Tory Holt, Kellen Winslow and Jay Cutler are just some of the names that have moved in what has been a dizzying NFL winter. And with the crown jewel of the NFL offseason - the cattle call that is the NFL draft - coming up tomorrow I would say that the moving and shaking isn't nearly complete.
The NFL Draft begins at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 25 in New York City. Why it has been changed to starting so late in the day, I have no earthly idea. But what I do know is that with Braylon Edwards, Anquan Boldin and Jason Campbell currently being dangled and with five teams with three or more picks inside the Top 50 on the board there could be fireworks at any point that day.
Below I've listed the five teams with extra Top 50 picks. These teams may not be the most active but they certainly have the most chips to play when the Biggest Gamble In Sports gets underway this Saturday:
Detroit (No. 1 and No. 20 No. 33)
Since it's clear that there isn't anyone willing to trade up to No. 1 overall I think that the Lions would be best served to simply hold on to their picks where they are at right now and draft for their needs, which are many.
If they get Stafford No. 1 I would target a linebacker - specifically Rey Maualuga - at No. 20. They could then pick up the offensive lineman that they definitely need at No. 33. If they do those things then I think they would have to call their day a success.
I'm not a big Matt Stafford guy. But the Lions don't really have much of a choice since they didn't do anything to upgrade the position this offseason. But if I'm Detroit I'm calling the Jets and the Redskins and trying to work something out. Giving up both of their No. 1s for Jason Campbell and Washington's No. 1 would be a great deal for this team. But I think it's a longshot.
Cleveland (No. 5 and No. 36 and No. 50)
The Browns were a sleeper team in 2007 and then came back down to earth in 2008. But they were able to trim some fat, literally and figuratively, by FINALLY realizing that Romeo Crennel is a dreadful, terrible coach and replacing him this offseason. It's still up in the air whether or not Eric Mangini is going to be much better, but I know for a fact that he won't be worse.
So the Browns are kind of lying in the weeds in this draft. However, they could be one of the biggest players because of their number of picks and because they are still dangling Braylon Edwards. They already moved underachiever Kellen Winslow this offseason for the No. 50 overall. And I think that if they can move Edwards for a first rounder - and I think that they are calling the wrong teams right now - or perhaps a No. 2 this year and next then that's the Best Case Scenario.
With or without Edwards, it's clear that the Browns need skill players. Jamal Lewis isn't getting any younger and if they move Edwards they will have dumped both of their two leading receivers from the past two years.
If I were Cleveland I would be talking with Washington and with the Jets about moving up to get Mark Sanchez. If Cleveland can move down into the middle of the first round they could grab either Beanie Wells or Knowshon Moreno. That would be a major coup. Washington doesn't have a second rounder, but the Jets do (No. 52). The Browns could grab a receiver (top talents Darrius Heyward-Bey or Hakeem Nicks could still be on the board) at NO. 33 and then try to get some defensive help with their next few picks.
Buffalo (No. 11 and No. 28 and No. 42)
The Bills have had a whirlwind offseason and now, with three top-tier picks, really have an opportunity to finally get this stagnant franchise over the hump. Besides picking up T.O. to give them some credibility in the passing game they were able to deal malcontent tackle Jason Peters, who was going to hold out anyway. Clearly getting a tackle is a priority and I think that Buffalo has to hope that one of the top four is still on the board when the Bills pick at No. 12. If not they may have to reach for someone at No. 28.
There is a rumor that they are looking hard at Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew. I think that to take him in the first round - unless they get their OT at No. 12 and then take the overrated TE at No. 28 - would be a colossal mistake.
Further, one thing to consider: as I look at this Buffalo team I don't see a ton of holes outside of their offensive line situation. They don't need to fill holes they just need to get better at spots. So one thing I think they should consider is making a move to get Boldin or Edwards. Think about it. Why not? Why not have T.O. on one side and another stud on the other? They could give up one of their No. 1's, get their OT with whichever piece they don't trade, and then have a viable No. 1 wideout after Owens leaves following next year.
If Buffalo is done moving then they need to address the offensive line and they need to find some difference makers on defense, both in the secondary and on the offensive line. This team is on the precipice of being a very good team. This is a very important draft for them.
Denver (No. 12 and No. 18 and No. 48)
The Broncos made one of the best trades of the last decades, absolutely STEALING two No. 1 picks, a No. 3 pick, and a very strong quarterback for some turnover-prone baby. The Orton-Cutler deal was a monumental coup for the Broncos - and likely set back Chicago about five years - and has set up Denver to build a base to compete for the next decade.
Denver's defense needs an immediate upgrade. That has to be priority No. 1. And with three Top 5 picks this allows the Broncos to inject some blood into all three levels on their D. This team is still waffling between a 3-4 and a 4-3 and needs some versatile personnel. They could grab one of the draft's top corners with their first pick and then get ends and linebackers with their next two. That would be smart and effective.
I'm hearing rumors that the Broncos might want to trade up to get Mark Sanchez. That would be a bit like getting a Ferrari as a gift and then driving it off a cliff. The Broncos don't need a rookie quarterback to deal with. They need defense. Orton can be a playoff quarterback and a solid signal caller for the next 5-8 years while Denver figures out a more long-term plan. But 5-8 years in the NFL is an ETERNITY. Making a move for Sanchez would be a terrible mistake.
New England (No. 23 and No. 34 and No. 47 and No. 58)
I'm sure a lot of people see this as the rich getting richer. But the dirty little secret around Foxborough is that this team is really in some trouble in terms of its long-term future. The Patriots have around 20 players whose contracts are up after next season. A lot of those potential free agents are either core pieces (Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork, and Logan Mankins) or solid contributors (Kevin Faulk, Ellis Hobbs, Ben Watson, Tedy Bruschi).
The main areas of need are on the offensive and defensive line. In Mankins, Steve Neal, Ryan O'Callaghan, and Nick Kaczur the Patriots stand to lose four of their top six offensive linemen. And if Wilfork and Seymour move on the defensive line would also be in trouble. Additionally, New England's back seven on defense is in trouble. They moved Mike Vrabel and it was clear last year that guys like Junior Seau, Rosie Colvin, Bruschi and Rodney Harrison are too far past their primes to be viable.
The Patriots have never been a team to move up in the draft. Just the opposite. They are more likely to trade down to stockpile more picks. I think that this is a key draft for the Pats, and don't forget that they're going to be doing it for the first time since 2000 without ace personnel man Scott Pioli.
More information on Ferringo's members picks? Check out his Insider Page here.