An NFL draft isn’t truly legendary without some major, franchise-altering trades. Trades that end with one team getting a superstar and another team getting a whole lot of picks. Trades we debate the merit of for either side in years to come. Trades that shake up the entire board.
Will we have such trades at this NFL draft?
It sure looks like it. Given the way the board is set up—and given the team needs and squads with picks to spare atop the draft order—this year’s draft could see quite a few major transactions. Let’s take a look at the teams most likely to be at the center of those transactions.
There are five teams—the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Vikings—in the top 10 that could feasibly select a quarterback, and four players who are generally considered to be in the top tier at the position (Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles and Derek Carr).
Unfortunately for Minnesota, they have the No. 8 pick, fifth amongst the teams that could target a quarterback. And that means it is very possible the Vikings will look to make a move if they fall in love with a quarterback.
Might a player like Carr fall to them? Absolutely. But new coach Mike Zimmer and his offensive coordinator, Norv Turner, are going to want to solidify the quarterback position immediately. Thus, waiting around for a player to drop at No. 8 is a huge risk.
The Vikings are very serious candidates to trade up.
St. Louis Rams
No pick seems more likely to be traded than the No. 2 selection. The Rams have Sam Bradford, so they aren’t likely to draft a quarterback. They have two stud defensive ends in Chris Long and Robert Quinn. They could go with offensive tackle Jake Matthews out of Texas A&M, a safe and solid selection.
Or they could ransom that No. 2 pick to the highest bidder and earn themselves another bounty, much like they did when Washington craved Robert Griffin III and gave up multiple first-round picks to get him.
The fact that they also possess the No. 13 pick means that a very good player will fall to them even if they move the pick. And as you’ll read below, it’s very, very possible they’ll come out of this draft with three No. 1 selections if they make the obvious trade that seems to be sitting right under their noses.
Yes, the Browns are guaranteed to get an intriguing prospect if they just sit and wait at No. 4. But let’s say they fall in love with a player like Manziel, and they suspect the Texans aren’t interested but the Jaguars are.
Wouldn’t they and the Rams be prime trading buddies?
Cleveland can offer the No. 4 and No. 26 picks to move up to No. 2, which would give the Rams three first-round selections and still likely guarantee they end up with Matthews. Cleveland could ensure that they end up with the quarterback they really want, assuming the Texans don’t select him first.
Plus, reports are already surfacing that Cleveland could indeed make a move for Manziel. From Jason La Canfora of CBS:
However, they do have game-breaking receiver Josh Gordon, they are willing to trade up to land Johnny Manziel in the draft if need be, sources said, and have an owner, Jimmy Haslam, who is committed to spending their abundant cap space to try to win quickly.
Sure, until we know who Cleveland’s next coach will be, it’s hard to predict anything for the squad. But moving up to that No. 2 selection seems pretty darn logical for this team. And with reports already surfacing that they could be movers and shakers, the possibility seems even more likely.
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