The first two weeks of the NFL free-agency signing period are a whirling dervish of activity. Hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts are thrown to free agents in hopes of them being the missing pieces to the puzzle.
However, for all the help that a team can get through free agency, smart teams understand championship franchises are built through the draft. Drafting represents an imperfect science. Every year exceptional college football players get into the NFL and fall flat on their faces.
That makes the job of an NFL personnel staff all the more challenging. It is one thing to examine a player and determine what he can do. That is not the hard part.
The hard part is ascertaining not only if the player is a good fit for the team, but if he will continue to get better in the league. It is usually in one of these two areas that the disconnect takes place and players fail.
With that said, it is high time for a new first-round projection—and this time with a twist. It is a given that in the first round there will be trades. Predicting those trades poses a challenge. However, this projection is going to include three hypothetical trades that benefit all teams involved.
With this draft class, trades might be more difficult to come by than in the past. Nevertheless, there will be teams that fall hard for prospects and will have to trade up and get them.