With one of the deepest classes in recent memory set to enter the NFL via the 2014 NFL draft, the annual spectacle is more interesting than ever as teams jockey for position to land "their" guy.
It's quite intriguing because a bevy of trades could happen—or none at all, as teams are willing to sit and wait, thanks to the depth at most positions.
Draft-day trades usually come down to the wire while teams are tasked with actually walking to the podium. During the extensive remainder of the wait until the big day, here's a look at a few teams to observe with a keen eye.
|2||St. Louis Rams (from Redskins)|
|7||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|12||New York Giants|
|13||St. Louis Rams|
|18||New York Jets|
|21||Green Bay Packers|
|24||Kansas City Chiefs|
|22||San Diego Chargers|
|26||Cleveland Browns (from Colts)|
|27||New Orleans Saints|
|28||New England Patriots|
|29||San Francisco 49ers|
No. 1 Houston Texans
It seems that every year, dust kicks up concerning the possibility of the No. 1 overall pick being dealt, and this year is no different—especially with the media and draft community split on the top quarterbacks.
Houston currently clutches the top spot after a 2-14 campaign but may be looking for an out, according to Bleacher Report's Dan Pompei:
Word from the NFL meetings is the Texans are trying hard to deal the first pick in the draft. They want to move down and acquire extra selections. Sources say they might have a trade partner in the Bills, who appear interested in moving up. It is unclear who the Bills would want in a trade-up scenario. Some believe they would move up for a quarterback. They also could make good use of an offensive tackle such as Greg Robinson. And it would be something to see them pair Mario Williams with either Jadeveon Clowney or Khalil Mack.
Let's focus on the Texans for now, a team that quietly has a very talented roster already. Quarterback is an obvious need, but the front office surely feels confident it can get a guy it likes at No. 9 overall should Buffalo agree to terms.
Will the Texans trade down?
The stock report for the likes of Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater are all over the place, and odds are that one falls. There's also no other prospect outside of Jadeveon Clowney who is worth the top pick for Houston, and he doesn't make a ton of sense provided he is unproven at linebacker—not to mention at the pro level as a whole.
Any picks are good picks in such a deep class, so it makes sense Houston wouldn't mind a drop if it means more quality depth via the 2014 class. It's a long shot, but watch things in Houston.
No. 9 Buffalo Bills
Let's get out of order here briefly to check on the Bills.
Buffalo has numerous needs overall, so it's interesting to hear the front office is potentially interested in moving up. Clemson wideout Sammy Watkins makes a lot of sense if the team wants to better surround second-year quarterback E.J. Manuel with more talent.
The recent addition of Mike Williams via a trade with Tampa Bay, as illustrated by ESPN's James Walker, doesn't change much in that regard:
Defense is also a strong possibility, as pairing Clowney with Mario Williams would lead to interesting results, especially considering that it would be a much better schematic fit than if the South Carolina product landed in Houston.
No. 6 Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons enter the draft with a few obvious needs such as help in the offensive trenches and a new pass-rusher to help supplement a versatile defensive unit that touts various fronts each game.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Atlanta may be willing to move up to best hit one of these two needs—or a surprise:
Atlanta Falcons are open to trading up in draft, per league sources. Falcons are first team known to be willing to go up.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 25, 2014
If Atlanta feels strong enough about, say, offensive tackle Greg Robinson or linebacker Khalil Mack, it makes sense the staff would look to move up and secure what they may consider to be a missing piece.
No. 23 Philadelphia Eagles
The same applies to Philadelphia.
With DeSean Jackson gone, the Eagles may want to take a jump in the proceedings to secure a top wideout such as Watkins or Texas A&M's Mike Evans.
Per ESPN's Adam Caplan, there are rumblings the Eagles would be willing to trade up for the latter:
Jeremy Maclin is currently the No. 1 wideout, but he's coming off a serious injury. If the Eagles believe someone like Evans or Watkins will truly help the franchise take the next step, then gunning their way into the top 10 is not all that outlandish.
That, or the team is serious about continuing to rebuild the defensive side of the ball and wants to move up in order to guarantee itself a top safety like Louisville's Calvin Pryor or Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Regardless, the unpredictable Chip Kelly and his Eagles are a team to circle on the draft order.