The first round of the 2014 NFL draft could quickly become one of the wildest in history. A combination of active teams and a deep draft class with several high-profile players is the recipe for a lot of trade activity early in the opening round.
Some teams will probably feel they can trade down and still get terrific value in the first round while also stockpiling more assets in the deal.
On the flip side, other front offices will key in on a certain prospect they really want and won't shy away from paying the price to acquire their main target.
With that in mind, let's examine the teams inside the top 10 that are in perfect position to trade down and thus shake up the outlook for the first round. The potential for marquee deals should make the draft process even more interesting.
If there was only one top quarterback prospect in the draft, the Texans would probably stay put. Since the class features multiple promising players at the position, however, Houston is wise to shop the pick to see if it can get a king's ransom in return.
Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com passed along comments from owner Bob McNair, who made it clear the team is keeping its options open:
"Maybe we'll trade down and still get a quarterback that can do the job and get an outstanding defensive player," McNair said Friday. "It's an exciting time. Everything's a moving target. Lot of different pieces."
If the Texans are able to acquire an impact defensive player—or a pick high enough to acquire one—while still being in a position to grab a top quarterback prospect, that's the route they should take. If they like Derek Carr, it will give them a little extra leeway with how far they can move down.
As a whole, the Houston roster is strong enough to make a quick turnaround if the team is able to get more stability under center. If the Texans are also able to provide a boost on defense at the same time, a major turnaround will certainly be within reach.
St. Louis Rams
Sam Bradford warrants more time to prove whether or not he's the long-term answer at quarterback and the Rams ranked third in sacks in 2013. Therefore, St. Louis doesn't have a desperate need for a signal-caller or Jadeveon Clowney—the main targets at No. 2 overall.
This makes St. Louis a prime candidate to move down to a position where it could fill a need, such as offensive tackle or wide receiver, and get more picks or players as well.
Peter King of Sports Illustrated thinks the odds of a deal happening are better than not:
RT @darthmash: What chance the Rams trade the #2 pick? ... 63.92%— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) January 8, 2014
Since the Rams originally got the second overall pick from the Washington Redskins, they also have a pick later in the first round. They can trade down, get both a wide receiver and tackle, while also setting themselves up well for future drafts if another team is desperate to move up.
Which of the teams is most likely to trade their top pick?
Even though the Falcons still have the foundation for a very potent offense with Matt Ryan, Roddy White and Julio Jones, there are other holes to fill if they are going to rebound from a down season. The most important needs come in the form of pass-rushers and offensive linemen.
If they could trade down in the first round and potentially acquire a second top-32 prospect, it would be a good haul. White thinks moving down would be the best bet if they can't get Clowney:
I would love for us to draft clowney if he is available but if he isn't we should trade out and stockpile players got a lot of holes to fill— Roddy White (@roddywhiteTV) January 9, 2014
The South Carolina defensive end would certainly be the ideal target, but he's likely to be selected before the No. 6 pick. That means the Falcons should be exploring avenues to improve in as many areas as possible, which could come down to trading their top pick.