NFL Draft 2012: 6 Teams Looking to Trade Up for Top Prospects
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
"He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap." -Ecclesiastes 11:4
They wanted Robert Griffin III, so they traded the farm for him. Would they have been better off sitting at pick No. 6? Not if RGIII lives up to the hype.
With the new rookie wage scale installed in last year's collective bargaining agreement, teams will no longer hesitate to make trades into the top 10. In fact, a number of teams inside the top 10 have expressed interest in moving backwards to acquire multiple picks. If they can find some partners to do business with, it could make for one of the most exciting first rounds ever.
But the question is, who is trying to move up?
Are the Cardinals serious about Justin Blackmon?
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The rumors I am hearing have the Cardinals linked to three players, either Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon, Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd or Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff. We know for a fact that the Buffalo Bills, who hold the tenth pick in the draft, are interested in both Reiff and Floyd, and expected one of these players to be available.
While I find it hard to believe that the Cards would be willing to move all the way from No. 13 to No. 5, which is where they would likely have to land to outbid the St. Louis Rams for Blackmon, I could see them moving into the No. 9 slot.
The Carolina Panthers need defensive line help, and the defensive line quality in this draft is immense. By moving back from No. 9 to No. 13, they would likely lose less than two of their suspected targets. Players like Michael Brockers, Dontari Poe and Quinton Coples may all still be available. Better still, at least one of them will almost certainly still be available.
And if the Cardinals land the No. 9 spot, they would likely have their choice between Floyd or Reiff, whoever they rate higher or determine fits a more pressing need.
The Cowboys are infatuated with Alabama safety Mark Barron.
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images
I wouldn't be surprised to see Dallas trade up to make sure it gets Barron, perhaps with Kansas City at 11. The Cowboys have no identity in the secondary. No big-time players either. Barron would immediately boost a unit that's been beaten down—and provide the kind of tackler at safety that the Boys haven't had since Darren Woodson.
This is too bad for the Cowboys, since they could probably sit on their pick and get Barron most years. Unfortunately, two factors have come into play against them.
First, Barron is the only safety in this draft worth a first-day pick.
Ryan Tannehill will shape the entire first round of the draft.
Darren Carroll/Getty Images
In case you haven't heard, everyone seems to think the Miami Dolphins want Ryan Tannehill.
So badly, in fact, that apparently people don't think they can get him at their current No. 8 position.
And not just "people," but former Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Polian. In a recent column he wrote for ESPN, Polian had this to say.
The most likely competition for Tannehill is the Cleveland Browns at No. 4 overall. That means, in order to assure themselves of selecting Tannehill, the Dolphins would need to move up to the No. 3 pick in a trade with the Vikings. In my mind, this is a trade you must make if you're the Dolphins. There is no reason to gamble and hope that he falls to No. 8. With the new CBA, Tannehill's position as a QB and his contract wouldn't be an impediment to moving up to No. 3 to select him. And even if the Browns do pass on Tannehill at No. 4, there's no guarantee a team like Kansas City won't trade up to take him.
While I don't think Kansas City is in a position to trade up for Tannehill, there's certainly a chance the Browns take Tannehill at No. 4. I wouldn't advocate it, but if the Browns were good at drafting, they wouldn't be picking in the top 10 every year.
They could easily blow this one, too.
New York Jets
Is Gang Green looking at a top-five pick?
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
So of course they'd love to pick up a dominant running back like Alabama's Trent Richardson. But is it feasible? My guess is no.
Trading up for anybody else seems unlikely, too. However, longtime Jets beat writer Rich Cimini can see Gang Green making a deal for Richardson.
If the Jets want to trade up, the highest logical target is the Jaguars (No. 7 overall), who may be looking to deal out. What would it take to go up nine spots? According to the trade value chart, which serves as a guide to teams, the Jets would have to give up their first-, second- and fifth-round picks—plus maybe a seventh-round throw-in. There's speculation the Jets are willing to move up to No. 7 for South Carolina OLB Melvin Ingram. In my opinion, that would be too much to surrender for a short-armed pass-rusher who started only one season. Don't get me wrong, he's a terrific prospect, but he's not one of the elite players. For Alabama RB Trent Richardson, I'd do it. He could change the entire offense.
Fletcher Cox is a rare pass-rushing defensive tackle.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
While the linked article doesn't specifically mention possible trade partners, it does offer the reasoning as teams hoping to grab Mississippi State's defensive tackle prospect, Fletcher Cox.
La Canfora said in his own blurb on the matter that teams fear the St. Louis Rams picking Cox at No. 6.
The Carolina Panthers are a possible candidate to swap with Tampa. They are very much in the market for a defensive tackle and already possess the No. 9 selection. The picks they would have to give up would be minor, considering the possible gain.
If Carolina believes Cox is a special player, they should definitely pull the trigger on this.
Meanwhile, the Bucs may benefit equally. The two players they value most are Trent Richardson and cornerback Morris Claiborne. If those two players are selected with picks three and four, Tampa will be scrambling desperately to get out of the fifth spot.
With Cox and USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil still on the board in such a scenario, they would have plenty of suitors.
Matt Kalil looks to be slipping down the draft.
Harry How/Getty Images
This last one is purely speculation (they all are, really).
Let's say Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III go one-two. Let's say the Vikings settle on Morris Claiborne and the Browns scoop up Trent Richardson.
As we've established, Tampa Bay will have every team in the league on the phone, trying to drop back into the pack.
Why not the Buffalo Bills?
But if Matt Kalil, the consensus top offensive tackle in this class, were to drop all the way to No. 5, wouldn't the Bills be enticed into to making a move?
They couldn't wait any longer, however, since the St. Louis Rams' dreams would all be coming true if Kalil fell to No. 6.
After dropping all the way to No. 6, never in their wildest dreams could they have imagined still scoring the USC product. But if a team like Carolina swaps with Tampa Bay before Buffalo or anyone else, the Rams are going to throw themselves a huge party.
Or the Rams could just try to make the switch with Tampa. Either way, really.