You can bet the work phones for many NFL teams are off the hook nonstop as general managers try to work around the first round of the 2014 draft.
After the Washington Redskins gave up a king's ransom to select Robert Griffin III, only to have him get hurt, it's unlikely that you're going to see anything on that scale again anytime soon. Putting so much of your team's future in one player is often a fool's errand.
That won't stop the more minor trades, though, where a team jumps around a few spots while only giving up a few early picks on Day 2.
Here's a look at where each team will pick in the first round.
|2014 NFL Draft Order|
|2||St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins)||7-9|
|7||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||4-12|
|12||New York Giants||7-9|
|13||St. Louis Rams||7-9|
|18||New York Jets||8-8|
|21||Green Bay Packers||8-7-1|
|23||Kansas City Chiefs||11-5|
|25||San Diego Chargers||9-7|
|26||Cleveland Browns (via Indianapolis Colts)||4-12|
|27||New Orleans Saints||11-5|
|29||New England Patriots||12-4|
|30||San Francisco 49ers||12-4|
The four teams below should look to either move up or down on Day 1.
No. 2 St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams are maybe the only team in the league that doesn't really need Jadeveon Clowney. Sure it would be nice to add a player of that quality, but when you've already got Robert Quinn and Chris Long, defensive end isn't a major concern heading into the draft.
Even if Clowney's off the board, somebody would likely want to move into second overall to snag one of Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles or Teddy Bridgewater.
It's no secret that the Rams would be open to trading the pick, and the market would be there if St. Louis wants to pull the trigger. General manager Les Snead told Sports Illustrated's Peter King back in December:
There are going to be some teams that want to pick a quarterback, 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.
As long as St. Louis can stay around the top five, it's guaranteed to get Greg Robinson or Jake Matthews. That would allow the team to upgrade the offensive line, and in the meantime it will have added a couple more picks that can help fill all of the other needs.
No. 8 Minnesota Vikings
If Manziel, Bortles and Bridgewater are all gone by the time the Minnesota Vikings are picking at No. 8, they may as well shop the pick. Derek Carr would be a massive gamble that early in the first round, so moving back and hoarding picks makes more sense.
As much as the Vikings need a new quarterback, defense may be the direction to go. Football Outsiders ranked them 27th in defense-adjusted value over average last year. If they can drop into the middle of the first round, they'd still be getting great value in addition to their potential trade haul.
Kony Ealy or Dee Ford would help the pass rush, while Darqueze Dennard, Justin Gilbert or Jason Verrett offer an improvement in the secondary. All five players would likely be available later than eighth in the first round.
No. 10 Detroit Lions
Speaking of the secondary, the Detroit Lions could use a corner in the first round. Writing for DetroitLions.com, Tim Twentyman analyzed why cornerback is the way to go:
The Lions have a mix of veteran players like Chris Houston, and a few young up-and-comers like Darius Slay and Chris Greenwood, but there are a lot of question marks there.
Are the Lions sure some of these young cornerbacks will take a big step forward in 2014? Sometimes it takes time with young cornerbacks.
Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin added, per Twentyman:
My feeling is this. In the NFL, you can't have enough corners. I think as the league has changed, I think you have to try to get, if you can, a bigger cornerback -- a guy that can match up with the big receivers, a guy who has some physical toughness to him that's not afraid to tackle and a guy that has great ball skills.
Dennard and Gilbert would be the best options for the Lions, and in a perfect world, both will be available a few picks later than No. 10. If Detroit can work a trade to stay anywhere in the 11-14 range, it would be a wise move. That way, it would still have a great chance of landing one of those two players and will have collected another valuable pick in a later round.
Perhaps the Lions could really roll the dice and move back even further in the first round, where they'd likely be looking at Verrett.
None of the three is a bad pick.
No. 30 San Francisco 49ers
Cornerback, strong safety and wide receiver are the most pressing needs for the San Francisco 49ers. Strong safety is something they can afford to wait on, as there aren't any worth taking in the first round. By the time the Niners are picking, though, the best WRs and CBs could already be gone. That would leave them taking a bit of a risk.
San Francisco should be looking to add a player who can help the team right now. Its window for success isn't going to last forever, and the NFC West is way too competitive.
The 49ers would be wise to move up a few picks in order to secure a corner like Verrett or enable themselves to draft a wideout like Marqise Lee, or maybe even Mike Evans, but that's more of a pipe dream.
With 11 picks in the draft, they can piece together an attractive package for another team.
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