Every year after the NFL Draft concludes you hear the cries from fans of all teams who are upset with the way their team handled the draft picks. Some fans will say their team should have traded up to get a player that could put them over the top, while others are fine with watching their team let the draft board come to them.
I have chosen to look at three teams that have employed different strategies with their draft picks and then given ideas to them that are totally different than what they have done recently.
The Patriots have been able to pick up an extra first-round pick in both 2011 and 2012. Last year they were willing to deal one of those first-rounders to New Orleans for a second-rounder last year and a first in 2012.
Bill Belichick has been willing to trade down and stockpile picks in the second round in the past, but I think it is time to use the the excess picks they have to move up and take a player who can really put them over the top.
The window to winning a championship with Tom Brady is not going to be open forever, and we have seen how fast it can shut with Peyton Manning in Indianapolis. One minute you've gone to the playoffs in nine consecutive seasons, the next you're 2-14 and picking first in the draft.
Either the Patriots need to add an explosive talent at receiver to further take advantage of Brady's talents or they need to draft a player they can build a defense around. If they see Alshon Jeffery or Michael Floyd starting to fall during the draft, I think it would be wise to put a deal together (maybe a first and a second this year) and go get Brady another top target.
The Raiders, on the other hand, have been willing to give up their top picks to bring in veterans they feel can step in and help right now. They gave up a future first-round pick to New England to add Richard Seymour, which has worked out well—although I question the timing of making that deal.
Then, after a season-ending injury to QB Jason Campbell, Oakland gave Cincinnati a first in 2012 and a second in 2013 for Carson Palmer who was making good on his threat to never play for the Bengals again. The price was steep, and Palmer will have to play at a high level for another four or five years for this trade to be considered a success.
Those two trades, in addition to a draft day trade last year that sent their second-rounder this year to the Patriots, leaves them with no first- or second-round picks this year and no second next year.
The Raiders just haven't been close enough to being a Super Bowl contender to be giving up these high draft picks—they need to hold on to the picks they have.
Cincinnati has not been very active on draft day recently, letting the board come to them and picking a player at a position of need. There have been many positions of need for the Bengals over the last decade. While not quite as critical of needs, the Bengals have a few areas that, if filled, would make them a serious playoff contender for a few years.
The earlier mentioned scenario of New England trading up for a receiver could involve the Bengals at 17. If New England wants that extra piece to take their offense to insane levels and Jeffery or Floyd is there at 17, they could offer the Bengals their two first-rounders for the 17th pick and maybe Cincy's third this year.
With three first-round picks, the Bengals could really fill some holes while also further bolstering areas of strength. With picks 21, 27 and the Patriots' undetermined pick, the Bengals could bring in a trio like Cordy Glenn, Fletcher Cox and Zach Brown.
Glenn would give the Bengals an upgrade at guard, which is badly needed, and some insurance at right tackle if Andre Smith misses time. Cox would keep the rotation at DT very strong and can slide to end in certain packages or to fill in for injury. Brown would be a nice addition that would complement MLB Rey Maualuga well.
Instead of just sitting back on draft day, Cincinnati should do something dynamic to make themselves a feared team for years.