NFL Draft: Potential First Round Trades
by Trevor Whenham - 4/21/2010
Trades in the first round of the NFL Draft have always been an intriguing part of the day. The league has been in a trading frenzy recently, so it's possible that there will be even more trades in the first round than normal. There are a lot of teams that could conceivably look to move up or down, and that leads to an intriguing few days between now and the Draft. Here's a look at some of the more interesting potential trades, and the impact those deals would have.
St. Louis - The Rams have long had their eyes on Sam Bradford, and it seems very unlikely that they would select anyone with the top pick other than him. The team has been happy with what they have seen from him, and the last two first round picks have been used on the defensive line, so quarterback is the logical pick. There's also little doubt that Bradford is clearly the class of this draft class. In recent days, though, there have been increasing murmurs that the Rams are looking to trade out of the top spot if the price is right.
It could be that the Rams aren't totally sold on Bradford, or it could be that they are being seduced by what they could get for the pick. I'd bet on the latter. The San Diego Chargers are one of the top teams in the league, and you can trace that success directly back to trading away their top pick not once but twice. In 2001 San Diego traded the pick that turned into Michael Vick to the Falcons. In exchange they got a haul that included LaDainian Tomlinson, Reche Caldwell, and Tim Dwight. They then used their second round pick to take Drew Brees. The renaissance was underway. In 2004, the team essentially traded the top pick again. The selected Eli Manning, but immediately traded him to the Giants for three picks - Philip Rivers, Shawne Merriman, and Nate Kaeding. Roman Oben was part of that deal as well. Before those deals the Chargers were in almost as much trouble as the Rams are now. The players they were able to turn the picks into did far more to turn the team around as quickly and effectively as it happened than the two top picks alone would have done.
The theory is sound, but it's only speculation until there is a trade partner. Fortunately for the Rams there seem to be several options. Cleveland has already admitted that they have been in contact with the Rams about the deal. They have the seventh pick that they could play with, and nine more after that. Seattle is another team that needs a quarterback of the future and could use a splash to reinvigorate a fan base that is quickly becoming frustrated. They have the sixth and 14th pick, so a deal could be made. Denver has emerged as another potential suitor - largely because Josh McDaniels reportedly is very impressed with Bradford. They have amassed picks in recent trades, and now have the 11th pick and three others within the first three rounds. Even Washington is seen as a real player. The more teams that are interested, the higher the price will be, and the higher the likelihood that the Rams pull the trigger. The risk would be huge if Bradford turns into a superstar, but I would still encourage the Rams to do it. That being said, I'd still bet that Bradford will be buying a house in St. Louis within a month.
Other potential movers
Seattle - The Seahawks have a lot of holes to fill. They have the sixth and 14th pick, but then don't pick again until 60th. If they don't try to move up to grab Bradford it would be easy to imagine them moving down with the second pick in an attempt to add two picks before the 60th. They need a lot of help, so that could make sense for them.
Cleveland - It seems like the Browns just don't like the seventh spot, and I don't blame them. Given their biggest needs, seventh isn't a great spot. They would be better off either moving up to get a superstar, or moving down to get more players, or at least to get a player in a position they need at a fair price. Their biggest needs are safety and a pass rusher. Unless they can grab Eric Berry there isn't a player they can take in seventh that would be substantially better than a player they could take later in the first round.
Jacksonville - The Jaguars have been telling anyone who will listen that they are in the market. They have the 10th pick and nothing in the second round, and would happily trade that for more picks. They only have six picks right now, and they have some real needs, so a couple of starter-caliber players would be more useful than one Top 10 player.
Miami - The Dolphins lost a second round pick this year when they picked up Brandon Marshall. They have the 12th pick in the draft. Given the depth of this draft they could drop down in the first round , pick up another pick, and not suffer in terms of quality.
New England - The Patriots are in 22nd spot in the draft. They just aren't a first round team, though. The talent in the second and third round of this draft is almost as good as what they might be able to get at 22, and the team has always valued quantity when it comes to picks. It seems like they would be happy to turn one pick into two.
Philadelphia - The Eagles have the 24th pick. They reportedly have their eyes on three players - safeties Eric Berry and Earl Thomas, and middle linebacker Rolando McClain. It's almost certain that all three players will be off the board by the time the Eagles are on the clock, so if they really want one of them they'll have to be on the move.
Dallas - Dez Bryant is a prototypical Jerry Jones guy. He's falling down the board, but isn't likely to be available at 27th. Jones could likely move up to get his player without selling the farm to do so.
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