2014 NFL Draft Order: Analyzing Teams That Would Benefit from Trading Down

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2014

Apr 26, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher (left) poses for a photo with 2013 first round draft picks Tavon Austin and Alec Ogletree and general manager Les Snead (right) during a press conference at ContinuityX Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 NFL draft figures to be interesting, to say the least, as there is a great deal of depth, which will give every team an opportunity to get better. One thing that depth affords teams the opportunity to do is trade down if there are enticing offers on the table.

Based on how some teams are positioned in the draft, trading down may be the best-case scenario. There are pros and cons to trading down since it could mean passing up an elite player, but it could just as easily lead to securing multiple impact players over the course of the draft rather than just one.

Here are three teams that could potentially hit the jackpot if they ultimately decide to trade down in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.

2014 NFL Draft First-Round Order
1Houston Texans
2St. Louis Rams (from WAS)
3Jacksonville Jaguars
4Cleveland Browns
5Oakland Raiders
6Atlanta Falcons
7Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8Minnesota Vikings
9Buffalo Bills
10Detroit Lions
11Tennessee Titans
12New York Giants
13St. Louis Rams
14Chicago Bears
15Pittsburgh Steelers
16Baltimore Ravens (pending coin flip w/ DAL)
17Dallas Cowboys (pending coin flip w/ BAL)
18New York Jets
19Miami Dolphins
20Arizona Cardinals
21Green Bay Packers
22San Diego Chargers
23Philadelphia Eagles
24Kansas City Chiefs
25Cincinnati Bengals
26Cleveland Browns (from IND)
27New Orleans Saints
28New England Patriots
29San Francisco 49ers
30Carolina Panthers
31Denver Broncos
32Seattle Seahawks
NFL.com (subject to change based on playoff results)


St. Louis Rams

The St. Louis Rams held the No. 2 pick in the 2012 NFL draft, but rather than standing pat they decided to trade down. The Washington Redskins moved up to select quarterback Robert Griffin III, and the Rams came away with a king's ransom, as Washington gave up three first-round picks and a second-round selection.

Washington's 2014 pick happens to be No. 2 overall, so the Rams find themselves in a familiar position. And trading down may again be their best option.

Based on the way that the draft order has played out, it is very likely that South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will be available at No. 2. St. Louis really doesn't need Clowney due to the presence of Robert Quinn, but plenty of teams would love to have him. With that in mind, the Rams can trade down, still fill a need and accrue additional picks.

According to Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, this type of scenario should be ideal for Rams general manager Les Snead:

Per Peter King of Monday Morning Quarterback, Snead admitted that trading out of the No. 2 spot is a definite possibility.

"There are going to be some teams that want to pick a quarterback," Snead said, "and that could increase the value of our pick. I have told people I'm not sure I know how to draft without multiple first-round picks, so I'm always going to be interested when it comes to making sure I can continue to do that."

If a team moves up to take a quarterback or perhaps Clowney, the Rams will still be in good shape. They have needs along the offensive line and at wide receiver specifically, and since there is depth at both of those positions, the Rams are in the catbird seat right now when it comes to dictating what will happen in the draft.


Minnesota Vikings

FRESNO, CA - NOVEMBER 23:  Derek Carr #4 of the Fresno State Bulldogs reacts after throwing his six touchdown pass of the day against the New Mexico Lobos during the third quarter at Bulldog Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Fresno, California. Fresno State
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

It is no secret that the Minnesota Vikings need a quarterback. The triumvirate of Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman simply didn't get it done this year, and the Vikes can't afford to waste running back Adrian Peterson's prime years any long. There is essentially nothing to speak of at quarterback in terms of free agency, so Minnesota will almost certainly have to address that hole in the draft, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:

Unfortunately for the Vikings, they could find themselves on the end of a run. The Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders all need a signal-caller, and they pick ahead of Minnesota. The Vikings could trade up ahead of some of those teams, but trading down makes even more sense. Minnesota has plenty of holes on the defensive side of the ball, and trading down would help in that regard while still allowing it to select the quarterback of the future.

There really isn't another team after the Vikings that needs a quarterback, so Minnesota can trade down without fear of its guy being stolen. Whether it's Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Derek Carr or someone else, the Vikings will have an intriguing option at quarterback. There's simply no use standing pat at No. 8 if they intend to go in that direction.


Detroit Lions

To call the 2013 season a disappointing one for the Detroit Lions would be a massive understatement. Detroit was seemingly in control of the NFC North, with both the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears missing their respective starting quarterbacks for large chunks of the season, but a late-season collapse eventually did the it in. The team will select No. 10, and while there could potentially be a player of interest available at that point, it wouldn't hurt to trade down.

The Lions have several needs, including help in the secondary and a complement to stud wide receiver Calvin Johnson. There are quite a few interesting options at cornerback, including local product Darqueze Dennard out of Michigan State. Also, the Lions could move down a few spots and nab Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

In a perfect world, Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins would fall into the Lions' lap at No. 10, according to Pat Caputo of The Oakland Press:

Watkins is such a big-time talent, though, that expecting him to drop may be unrealistic. USC's Marqise Lee is a great wide receiver prospect for the middle of Round 1, however, and he could be another target should the Lions trade down. It's even possible that Detroit could spring for a pass-catching tight end like Jace Amaro or Eric Ebron in order to complement Brandon Pettigrew and give quarterback Matthew Stafford a safety valve.

The Lions have a lot of options, and trading down could be a great one.


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