Which teams are most likely to deal on draft weekend?
|04.22.14 at 11:38 am ET|
With draft weekend approaching, which teams will be the most inclined to make some moves? Here are the five teams most likely to swing a deal:
1. Texans trade down — Houston holds the keys to the kingdom with the No. 1 overall pick, and no one is quite sure what’s going to happen. Do the Texans make what could be the safe play and go for Jadeveon Clowney at No. 1, pair him with J.J. Watt and give offensive coordinators a collective ice-cream headache for the next decade? (And hope that a quarterback can be had in the upper reaches of the second round?) Do they take a quarterback at No. 1 and roll the dice with one of the most polarizing group of signal-callers in recent memory? Or do they trade down and hope to find a player of impact, a hypothesis put forth by Peter King? (Trade down to another spot in the Top 10, land a potential game-changer in linebacker Khalil Mack and acquire more picks along the way.) For what it’s worth, if the last time a team dealt the top pick prior to the draft was 2001, when the Chargers dealt the No. 1 overall pick to Atlanta for a first-round selection, a third-rounder, and receiver/return man/yoga enthusiast Tim Dwight. The Falcons used the selection on Michael Vick.
2. Falcons trade up — Thomas Dimitroff has shown a willingness to push all their chips to the middle of the table and go after a highly-touted prospect before — witness what they did in 2011 to go after Julio Jones, dealing five draft picks to move up to the sixth spot and land the star receiver. As a result, it’s probably no surprise they’ve been mentioned as possible trade partners with the Texans, or perhaps the Rams at No. 2. Because the Falcons have Matt Ryan, Atlanta, which has the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, is probably the only team in the upper reaches of the draft that really doesn’t need to worry about a quarterback. That means it can pretty much steer clear of the Johnny Manziel/Blake Bortles/Teddy Bridgewater melodrama and focus on the defensive side of the ball. The thinking is if they do decide to trade up, it would be to chase after Clowney with one of the top two picks. If they decide to stick at No. 6, the thinking is it would try and land Mack.
3. Patriots trade down — Since Bill Belichick arrived prior to the 2000 draft, the Patriots have never had a completely trade-free draft weekend, and more often than not, they’ve traded down. Last year, New England held the No. 29 overall pick, and swung a deal with the Vikings where it dealt that selection for a second-round pick (No. 52 overall), third-round pick (No. 83 overall), fourth-round pick (No. 102) and seventh-round pick (No. 229). Ultimately, Minnesota took receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, while the Patriots got linebacker Jamie Collins (52), defensive back Logan Ryan (83) and wide receiver Josh Boyce (102), and used the seventh-round selection as part of a deal that ultimately netted them running back LeGarrette Blount from Tampa Bay. As far as possible trade partners, since Belichick took control, New England has made nine draft-related deals with the Raiders (although none since Al Davis passed away), seven with the Broncos, and six each with the Packers and Eagles. One other note worth passing along. Since he took over in 2000, Belichick has made draft-related deals with every team in the league except two: the Jets and Colts.
4. Ravens trade down — Like the Patriots, the Ravens have always been active when it comes to making draft-related deals, and this year should be no different for a few reasons, including the fact that the Ravens have the least amount of picks in the draft with four, including just one Day 3 selection. One thing to remember, at least from a New England perspective: The Patriots and Ravens have made five draft-related deals since Belichick took over New England in 2000, and have always shown a willingness to help facilitate trades. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Belichick and old friend Ozzie Newsome put together at least one deal this time around.
5. Rams trade down — St. Louis owns two first-round picks — the No. 2 overall selection (thanks to a 2012 deal with the Redskins for Robert Griffin III) and its own No. 13 pick. At the combine in February, Rams GM Les Snead said trading out of the second overall spot is “definitely an option,” and seemed to hint that there’s more depth about the board this time around than in year’s past. “I think sitting at two, this is going to be a little bit different than (2012),” he said. “When we went out to Indy the last time (2012), it seemed like everyone knew who pick one was going to be (Andrew Luck). And probably what pick two was going to be (RGIII). I’m not sure we’re going to leave Indy and know who pick one is going to be.” For what it’s worth, Snead has never been shy about trading high-level picks. In 2012, the Rams moved from No. 2 to No. 6, and then again to No. 14 on draft night. Last year, St. Louis traded up from No. 16 to No. 8 to land receiver Tavon Auston before trading down from No. 22 to No. 30 before selecting linebacker Alec Ogletree.