The 2014 NFL Draft class looks to be one of the deepest in recent memory, but some teams will need to trade up come May 8.
There are just a few positions that don’t feature as many highly touted players as others. For example, ESPN’s Insider (subscription required) has Carlos Hyde as the only running back graded as an 80 or higher, whereas the wide receiver position has nine players with a grade of at least 80. Five of those players have a grade above 90.
That is going to force some teams to move up in the draft. Now that free agency has calmed down, it is easier to see positions that teams need to fill.
San Francisco 49ers
With so many picks in the draft—11 to be exact—the San Francisco 49ers can afford to move up from their current No. 30 pick.
They will be looking to add a cornerback after cutting Carlos Rogers and losing Tarell Brown to the Oakland Raiders. In addition, Chris Culliver is facing felony hit-and-run and weapons possession charges.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. doesn’t have a cornerback being picked until No. 15, with the Pittsburgh Steelers taking the top player at the position, Justin Gilbert. It would seem reasonable for the 49ers to give up both second-round picks or one in each the second and third rounds to grab either Gilbert or Darqueze Dennard.
This tweet explains another possible trade the team could make to move up.
After all, the 49ers are pretty solid across the rest of their roster.
NFL Trade Rumors: San Francisco 49ers could trade LaMichael James for higher draft pick http://t.co/ftEnRCNAWB— bleed red n gold (@Jay494Life) April 4, 2014
The cornerback position is one area of the draft that has a lot of potential. San Francisco took a hit this offseason and should look to grab one of the two DB’s mentioned above.
New York Jets
The New York Jets scored the fourth fewest amount of points in the NFL last season, averaging just 18.1 points per game.
The team addressed the offensive side of the ball by signing Michael Vick and Eric Decker. Adding another receiver through the draft would be beneficial, but as previously mentioned, there is depth at the position in this year’s class.
If one of the top safeties is available, that should persuade the Jets to trade up.
There are multiple teams with safety needs, which could make it difficult to grab either Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Calvin Pryor. Working a deal with the Steelers at No. 15 or Cowboys at No. 16 would seem plausible, considering that the Jets have 12 picks this year.
Those picks could also be used to move up even further if former Texas A&M WR Mike Evans, or even former Seminole Kelvin Benjamin, is available around the 10th pick.
The Dallas Cowboys defense in 2013 was the third worst in history, allowing 6,645 total yards.
And after cutting DeMarcus Ware and letting Jason Hatcher walk, the Cowboys will be looking to add depth at many positions on the defensive side. Most notably, Dallas has needs at safety, defensive end and defensive tackle.
Considering the amount of quarterbacks and offensive tackles projected to go before No. 16, the Cowboys may not need to trade up. But Jerry Jones is always looking to make a splash in the draft.
Asked Tuesday if the Cowboys should look to draft a def. lineman in the draft, Jerry Jones emphatically said: "yes. And we will."— Nick Eatman (@nickeatman) March 25, 2014
The defensive line may come first, considering the Cowboys would not need to give up anything for one at their position. Also, Jones is basically claiming in this tweet that the defensive line will be a point of interest in the draft.
Like the Jets, the Cowboys may need to move up for a shot at Clinton-Dix and Pryor. The Rams have two first-round picks, with the second being No. 13. It wouldn’t be the biggest move Jones has made but it would ensure that they land one of the two talented safety prospects.