NFL Draft Order: Teams That Should Look to Trade Up in 1st Round
Trades during the NFL draft are basically a foregone conclusion.
They happen every year—2012 brought us some fascinating moves as well. As a result, it's reasonable to expect that 2013 will be just as hectic.
And the draft's ridiculous abundance of stout defensive tackles, ends and offensive linemen is just the first catch. Secondly, there are few elite prospects combined at the quarterback, running back and wide receiver positions.
In short, this will be one intriguing draft regarding strategy from every round. The NFL is an offensively-driven sport, which makes this class' dominance of defense and the offensive line all the more interesting.
To that end, here are teams that must take a gander at trading up further into Round 1.
San Diego Chargers (No. 11 Overall)
The San Diego Chargers need an offensive lineman, but waiting for one will significantly lessen their odds of getting the best of prospects.
Although the offensive line runs deep in 2013, the immediate impact of a top player in the trenches was proven in 2012.
Matt Kalil of USC was selected by the Minnesota Vikings: Unsurprisingly, Minnesota made the postseason with him blocking for Adrian Peterson.
Teams ahead of San Diego that desperately need offensive line help are the Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals. The best lineman right now are Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel, Alabama's Chance Warmack and Central Michigan's Eric Fisher.
Without question, prospects such as North Carolina's Jonathan Cooper and Oklahoma's Lane Johnson, are solid players; however, the aforementioned three are simply on another level.
Joeckel and Fisher would create consistent comfort to Philip Rivers' blindside, and Warmack would dominate the interior. The Chargers would establish an extensively more balanced offense and the playmakers around Rivers would produce more efficiently.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 13 Overall)
This draft season is rather shallow regarding safeties and cornerbacks.
Unfortunately for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, coverage was their worst area throughout 2012.
Tampa gave up a 65.4 completion percentage, 30 passing touchdowns and ranked No. 32 in pass defense. Include the Bucs competing in the NFC South, which is a pass-oriented division, and they must land a top safety or cornerback this April.
Kenny Vaccaro of Texas is the top safety and worthy of a top 10 pick. Elsewhere, the best corner is Alabama's Dee Milliner.
But also in the top 10, the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans all need to spruce up the secondary. So, Tampa Bay is in a tough position right now.
Moving up to try and land Vaccaro or Milliner, though, will solidify much more consistently reliable man and zone coverage. Plus, their physical play will help with run support. Regardless, the Bucs must address the secondary in Round 1.
If not, 2013 won't be much different than 2012.
St. Louis Rams (No. 16 Overall)
The St. Louis Rams should look to move up just because they possess two first-round picks.
And trading up from the No. 16 spot this draft won't damage the future either, because St. Louis holds two first-round selections for the 2014 draft as well.
Obviously, attempting to trade up will likely take one of those away, but the Rams are on the verge of becoming an annual playoff contender. Therefore, making a jump to get a lock prospect will jolt St. Louis into the 2013 season.
Offensively, Jeff Fisher's club needs a receiver and at least one offensive lineman to become well-balanced and present explosiveness. Whether it's moving as far up to get Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher or Chance Warmack, the Rams ground game and pass protection would be ridiculously improved.
However, since the receiver class isn't too top-heavy, St. Louis can address the linebacker or safety spot by taking Georgia's Jarvis Jones or Kenny Vaccaro. No, Jones is not the prototypical 4-3 outside 'backer, but he has developed better against the pass and brings the potential to improve against the run.
Vaccaro certainly completes the need for a safety and a strong presence in Cover 1 and 3 and for rolling down into the box.
Not to mention, the NFC West is a physical division—the interesting selection of either would make the Rams defense unreal.
Dallas Cowboys (No. 18 Overall)
We saw how well the Dallas Cowboys improved their pass defense in 2012 by trading up to land Morris Claiborne.
Again, Jerry Jones must strongly consider moving up because the Cowboys are oddly positioned in Round 1.
Needing a standout defensive end, the best of the best are likely to be gone within the top 15. Unless a stud such as LSU's Barkevious Mingo drops, Big D must try to move up to fix this weakened area by trading up.
Allowing 4.5 yards per rushing attempt last season, Dallas has to get a quick and sizable defensive end to knife through gaps and immediately disrupt the backfield. Other than Mingo, Oregon's Dion Jordan, Texas A&M's Damontre Moore, Florida State's Bjoern Werner and Utah's Star Lotulelei are good fits.
Jordan and Moore bring the lateral quickness and length to siphon double-teams, whereas Werner possesses excellent instincts to make plays anywhere across the line. Lotulelei fits because he is more versatile than at first glance.
His power, strength and explosiveness suits nicely at defensive end, tackle or nose guard.
Line up any of these defensive linemen and DeMarcus Ware dominates like he did in 2010 and 2011.
New England Patriots (No. 29 Overall)
More reliable coverage is required for the New England Patriots to remain Super Bowl contenders.
Ranking No. 29 against the pass last season, that vulnerability cost New England when Joe Flacco torched Bill Belichick's defense in the AFC title game.
The Patriots also allowed 27 passing touchdowns and gave up a 62.1 completion percentage during the regular season.
Sitting at No. 29 for the draft, if New England waits for a corner or safety, the top talent will be significantly thinned out. Much like Tampa Bay, New England's best prospects to consider moving up for are Kenny Vaccaro and Dee Milliner.
Either would work for the Pats, because each provide excellent man coverage skills with reliable field awareness. Each also plays physical and will help with run support from different angles.
Although New England does present Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington and Aqib Talib, none have proven to be consistently dominant defenders. Otherwise, the Pats would have repeated as AFC champs—Arrington and Talib are also potential free agents.
Now, the Pats could also reach for Matt Elam as well, but his zone coverage ability doesn't blanket like Vaccaro or Milliner.