2014 NFL Draft: Predicting Potential Trade-Up Scenarios
One of the hardest things to do when analyzing the NFL draft is nailing down potential trades that could take place over the course of that weekend. Sure, there’s always a surprise or four and you can just toss ideas out and see what happens but pinning down likely trades is a difficult thing.
Still, you can see some potential things in the offing and, certainly, there are multiple teams who might be interested in moving up in the draft come May.
So call these following options “what if” possibilities. Consider them the most logical and likely possibilities wherein teams trade up to grab a guy.
Also as a side note, I didn’t refer to the fabled “trade chart” nor work out how much any of these moves might cost because it will give us all a headache, and you can bet it’s wrong anyway.
Just consider the cost “high” but not “insane” and you’ll work out the rest.
The Atlanta Falcons Move to No. 2
One of the more frequently mocked moves, the Atlanta Falcons trading up with the St. Louis Rams for Jadeveon Clowney might just come true due to universal forces beyond our control.
The media might just will it into being.
As McClure points out, the Falcons need an upgrade on the defensive line and Clowney could be a game changer for them off the edge. McClure doesn’t feel the team will go after anyone big in free agency and, while they could sit and see who falls to them at No. 6 (they do need offensive line help as well), the Falcons aren’t shy about moving when they see a game-changer.
They’ve moved up for players twice in the last three years, so we know they will move if they want someone.
They have to know if Clowney is there at No. 2 and the Rams don’t take him, he will not make it past Jacksonville and Oakland—assuming those teams or the Rams keep their picks.
For the Rams’ part, they have two picks in the first already and dropping back four spots won’t destroy their chances for an impact player. It’s unlikely they’re looking at quarterbacks, and there are more than a few receivers, edge-rushers and offensive linemen who will be there at the No. 6 pick.
If they don’t want Clowney, this pick is probably sold to the highest bidder.
The Houston Texans Trade Back into the Late First Round for a Quarterback
Another scenario could come about if the Houston Texans can’t resist the thought of Jadeveon Clowney across from J.J. Watt.
Sure they could hang with Matt Schaub for another year, but really this is a team with enough talent to win now—they just need the right quarterback.
As all three top quarterbacks have their blemishes, Houston and new head coach Bill O’Brien could decide grabbing a quarterback in the late first will net them the same result for less money, while getting them a potential game-changer in Clowney.
If they wait, you can imagine them deciding that the second round is too far away and if Fresno State’s Derek Carr or Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo are still around in the last 10 picks or so of the first, they could trade back into the round.
We know that visits don’t always mean anything—there are teams that never met with its first-round picks and teams that always do—but Jeff Reynolds of CBSSports.com and NFLDraftscout.com reported on Tuesday that the Texans had Garoppolo in for a visit.
So it’s not outside the realm of possibility they grab Clowney and then hop back into the first from the start of the second for a quarterback.
The Minnesota Vikings Trade Up for a Quarterback
Sitting at No. 8, the Minnesota Vikings run the same risk they ran into in 2011 sitting at No. 11.
In both cases, the team is absolutely desperate for a quarterback, but might be too far into the first round for one of the top tier players to fall to them.
In 2011, the team surprised many by taking Florida State’s Christian Ponder. Clearly, that hasn’t worked out, which is why the Vikings face the same issue now.
They can either hope that either Carr or Garoppolo is worth the No. 8 pick overall or both are still available when the Vikings pick in the second round.
Or they could trade up into the first three picks and guarantee themselves a quarterback.
While this might be costly, we know when general manager Rick Spielman sees something he wants in the draft, he doesn’t hesitate. Last season, after nabbing cornerback Xavier Rhodes and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, Spielman traded back into the first to grab receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
The Vikings gave up the 52nd, 83rd, 102nd and 229th selections.
You can imagine a move up—even a few slots—would be just as costly, if not more.
However, if they want Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel, they may have to pay the price.
As an alternative, the Vikings could do the same thing we just suggested Houston do—trade into the end of the first round to grab Carr or Garoppolo.
The Cleveland Browns Move with Their Two Picks
With both the No. 4 and No. 26 picks in the draft, the Cleveland Browns could move all over the place. If they are dead set on a particular player, they certainly have the value to make a move.
As with the Vikings, if they want a quarterback, they might need to jump to get him, although it’s more of an issue if they have their heart set on one in particular.
Just as likely is a move up from No. 26. There are plenty of very solid players who will be milling about around the halfway point of the first round, and the Browns have an awful lot of needs.
If a big-time pass-rusher or a wide receiver are available—or if they addressed one of those things and still need a quarterback—they might be tempted to jump up from the tail end of the first to the middle.
The San Francisco 49ers Move Up Again in the First
One might think it's surprising to see a team which has been in the conference championship game three years in a row and in the Super Bowl in 2012, but then again, a great team never stops improving.
With 11 picks heading into the 2014 NFL draft, the San Francisco 49ers are in great position to make a move if they want to.
Further, as we saw last year, when the 49ers have a need, they aren’t shy about moving up to fill it.
In the 2013 draft, San Francisco needed a safety and jumped up from the No. 31 pick all the way to the No. 18 pick. All it cost them was that No. 31 pick and one of their third-round selections (the No. 74 overall) to Dallas.
The 49ers could choose to jump up for any number of players—a wide receiver, a cornerback or a safety (despite Eric Reid, it’s still a need).
Safety would be most likely as it’s the thinnest positional class, especially at the top end. Receiver would necessitate a move if they wanted someone like Texas A&M’s Mike Evans or Clemson’s Sammy Watkins.
No matter which position they go after, the 49ers absolutely have the value and the will to pull the trigger on a draft-day trade and move up in the first round.
Andrew Garda is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. He is also a member of the fantasy football staff at FootballGuys.com and the NFL writer at CheeseheadTV.com. You can follow him @andrew_garda on Twitter.