While the San Francisco and Baltimore markets are focused on the Super Bowl, the rest of the teams in the NFL have been forced to refocus their attention to the offseason and the 2013 NFL draft.
Most of the draft order has already been figured out, but there are certain teams that must trade up in the first round to acquire quality players at positions of need.
Teams with glaring weaknesses can’t wait around to get a great player.
All of the following teams are close to serious contention, and moving up in the first round to get a possible star that is a perfect fit is a risk these organizations must take.
The Houston Texans will be picking in the latter stages of Round 1, but they could easily move into the top 15 and snag a solid defensive back to shore up the team’s shaky secondary.
Houston was ranked 16th in the NFL allowing 225.8 yards passing per game, and they were beaten too often to ignore the issue. As much as the Texans need help on offense, they need to find talent and depth in the secondary right away.
If the team can find a trade partner in the top 15, Houston will be looking to move up and snag a safety like Kenny Vaccaro from Texas or a cornerback like Johnthan Banks from Mississippi State.
Either player would need to jump right into the NFL and make an instant impact, but these potential stars will be ready for the challenge.
The Chicago Bears missed the playoffs in heartbreaking fashion this season, and they have spent the offseason firing head coach Lovie Smith and hiring Marc Trestman.
Despite a different offensive scheme unique to Trestman that will take time to implement, there is one glaring need that must be addressed no matter what kind of offense the Bears run: the porous offensive line.
Chicago could stay at No. 20 and get a solid offensive lineman that will make a difference in a few seasons, or the team could make a conscientious decision to get better now and trade up for a top-flight star.
The Bears won't have to go all-in on their investment in an offensive lineman, instead, they could trade up just a few spots to grab a potential star like North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper in the top 15.
The move wouldn’t cost much, but would pay off huge for Chicago.
St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams traded the No. 2 overall pick to the Washington Redskins last season, and now the team is in a great position (owns picks No. 16 and No. 22 overall) to trade up to wherever they want to get any potential star they want.
Since the team has made it very clear that Sam Bradford is the quarterback of the future, the organization must draft a top-tier offensive lineman to protect him.
If that means trading into the top 10 of the first round to find the right player, that’s what St. Louis must do to be a legitimate threat in 2013-14.
The Rams will be looking for serious help across their offensive line, so taking either a guard like Chance Warmack from Alabama or a guard like Luke Joeckel from Texas A&M would require the team to trade as far up as No. 4.
It would be an expensive move, but well worth the possible investment.
2013 NFL Draft Order
22. Rams (from Redskins)
31. Baltimore Ravens*
32. San Francisco 49ers*
*Playoffs to determine final four spots