Players Who Could Be Dealt During the NFL Draft
The 2013 NFL draft is inching closer, and while teams will certainly be shaping their rosters with players out of college, they'll look to other franchises for help as well.
Some of the greatest players in NFL history have been traded on draft day—guys like Marshall Faulk, Jerome Bettis and Steve Young all changed franchises during the draft and eventually helped their new teams win Super Bowl titles.
While it doesn't appear anyone of that ilk will be moved during this year's draft, there's an interesting crop of players who could be on the move.
Chiefs OT Branden Albert
The Kansas City Chiefs are on the clock with the first overall selection in the 2013 NFL draft, and they're widely expected to select a left tackle, whether it be Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel or Central Michigan's Eric Fisher.
The problem? The Chiefs already have a left tackle in Branden Albert, and he's not necessarily willing to move to right tackle to make room for the first pick.
For Albert, who was franchise tagged by Kansas City, it makes sense to want to be traded. If he's moved to right tackle or benched, he could stand to lose money when the free-agent period opens in 2014.
The Miami Dolphins have been rumored as the most likely trade destination, as they hold two second-round picks in this draft and are in need of a left tackle after having lost Jake Long to St. Louis.
I expect Albert to be moved, likely to the Dolphins, for one of Miami's second-round picks. That pick would move Kansas City back into the second round, after they traded the 34th overall pick to San Francisco for quarterback Alex Smith.
Patriots QB Ryan Mallett
When the Patriots drafted troubled quarterback Ryan Mallett in the third round of the 2011 draft, it was considered a masterstroke by coach Bill Belichick.
Mallett, a gifted prospect with some character concerns, would likely have gone higher with a squeaky clean reputation, but New England pounced on him when he was still available at pick No. 74. The luxury of having Tom Brady entrenched at the position meant that the Patriots wouldn't have to play Mallett, instead affording them the ability to develop him as either trade bait or Brady's successor.
With Brady still playing at an all-world level, it makes sense for New England to dangle Mallett out there for quarterback-needy teams.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, the asking price for Mallett will be a first- or second-round pick.
I wouldn't be shocked if a team in need of a quarterback met Belichick's demands.
Saints RB Chris Ivory
The New Orleans Saints backfield is somewhat of an embarrassment of riches, with the team having talented tailbacks Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram and Chris Ivory all on the roster.
Ivory visted the Jets before signing with the Saints, and the two teams could still work out a deal on draft day.
It'd be a good move for both teams. The Saints have the depth to absorb the loss of Ivory, while the Jets are in desperate need of playmakers at, well, every position.
Ivory and his career 5.1 yards-per-carry mark would look good in a Jets uniform next season. A mid- to late-round pick should do the trick here.
Raiders RB Darren McFadden
Jarrett Bell of USA Today had a great piece detailing why the Raiders should consider dealing talented but oft-injured running back Darren McFadden. It's an opinion I happen to share and have been trumpeting for some time.
The Raiders' roster and salary cap situation is a veritable dumpster fire, and McFadden is one of their more attractive pieces. Oakland is going to be terrible with or without him, and with McFadden's durability issues (he's never played more than 13 games in a season) and his contract status (expiring after this season), I think it makes sense to consider a trade.
Raider Nation would be up in arms if McFadden were dealt, but it'd be a smart move by general manager Reggie McKenzie, who surely knows Oakland is several pieces away from contending for a playoff spot.
Patriots KR Jeff Demps
When the Patriots signed Olympic silver medalist (track and field) and former Florida Gator Jeff Demps last offseason, mouths around the NFL began to collectively water at the prospect of this super-fast athlete in the New England backfield and special teams.
But, with Demps looking to focus his athletic ability on track and field instead of football, it's easy to imagine Patriots coach Bill Belichick jettisoning Demps from the roster.
Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald recently tweeted that the Patriots have discussed dealing Demps, and I'm guessing that there would be a number of teams willing to trade a late-round pick for even half a season of the speedster.
Browns LB Jabaal Sheard
I was surprised when reading this tweet from highly respected Browns beat writer Tony Grossi, who covers the team for ESPN Cleveland.
I expected the Browns to feature Jabaal Sheard in their 3-4 defense under new coordinator Ray Horton, and while there's no guarantee he will be moved, it's a possibility.
Cleveland holds the sixth overall pick in the draft and will likely have the opportunity to take one of the draft's better pass-rushers. The Browns could use Sheard as bait to acquire more picks if they think they can fill a need elsewhere or find a better player for the OLB spot in their 3-4.
Eagles QB Nick Foles
This one is pure speculation on my part. I just think it makes too much sense.
The Eagles, transitioning from Andy Reid's West Coast offense to Chip Kelly's up-tempo, high-octane iteration, don't appear to have a need to keep quarterback Nick Foles on the roster.
I expect the Eagles to take a quarterback in this draft, possibly even at fourth overall (Geno Smith).
If that happens, there would be no need for Foles, a classic drop-back passer who could compete to start on a handful of teams.
Quarterbacks are the most valuable currency in the NFL, so don't be surprised if Foles is on the move this weekend.
Jets QB Tim Tebow
The Jets' 2012 trade for quarterback Tim Tebow has been nothing short of an abject failure.
Tebow rarely saw the field last season, and his mere presence on the roster created more trouble than it was worth, as the New York media went into a feeding frenzy whenever anything Tebow-related happened.
There's no question that Tebow will be moved off the roster in some shape or form, and I'll admit that him being released is the most likely outcome. But the Jets do have incentive to trade Tebow, as they won't have to pay Denver $1.53 million as part of last year's deal bringing Tebow to Broadway.
You can bet your bottom dollar that Jets general manager John Idzik will be trying to move Tebow during the draft, but teams know that New York can't afford to hold him.
Again, release is the most likely option here, but don't discount a potential deal. Wacky things seem to happen when it comes to Tebow.