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2011 NFL Draft: 5 Most Likely First-Round Trades

Brad FrankCorrespondent IApril 25, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: 5 Most Likely First-Round Trades

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    The 2011 NFL draft has some big-time stars available at the front of the draft. Though the draft class is not deep, it appears to hold a lot of value in the later rounds. In other words, the amount of good players is not high, but there are a lot of complementary pieces to be had in the later rounds.

    Scouts have rated Auburn quarterback Cam Newton and Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert as the two best at their position. On the same hand, a bunch of teams slated to pick in the first half of Round 1 need a quarterback.

    As CBSsports.com's Peter Prisco points outs, "Quarterback-starved teams that missed on getting one early in the round might be in a frenzy to trade back in to get a different quarterback later in the round."

    So basically teams like Arizona, San Francisco, Washington, Minnesota and Miami might be interested in moving to the back end of Round 1 to put themselves in position to draft the second tier of quarterbacks behind Newton and Gabbert.

    Here is how the first round might shape out as some teams trade back to find themselves a quarterback.

Mike Shanahan Picks Blaine Gabbert After Trade with Former Team

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    John Elway enters his first NFL draft as Broncos VP of Football Operations. His former coach, Mike Shanahan, begins his second season as the boss in Washington.

    I'm not ruling out that these two guys do some business and swap picks at some point this weekend.

    What I have in mind hints at Elway's inexperience as the man in charge, but I think it is a sound move nonetheless. I'm picturing Denver moving out of the second spot to take Washington's 10th overall pick, with Shanahan giving Elway a couple later picks.

    With the No. 2 overall pick, I believe Washington would select Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

    The next trade is another possibility involving the Redskins vacating their 10th overall pick.

New England Grabs Robert Quinn in Trade with Washington

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    New England holds three of the top 33 picks in this year's draft. Overall the Patriots own nine picks in the first six round, including two selections in each of the first three rounds.

    The Patriots have indicated that they are willing to use the picks to trade within the draft.

    New England has the 17th, 28th and 33rd picks in the draft. Expect the Patriots to package the latter two of the three to take Washington's spot at No. 10 overall.

    One possibility in this trade is New England taking Julio Jones. But I believe the Browns will take him at No. 6. Certainly, the Patriots will know whether Jones is gone when they make this trade, but North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn should be available for New England in the 10th spot.

    Meanwhile, moving back to No. 28 late in the first round, I believe the Redskins are targeting and will land Washington quarterback Jake Locker.

New Orleans Moves out of Round 1 Via Cincinnati

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    New Orleans' greatest need is along its defensive line. However, the top ends and tackles are projected to be taken before the Saints select at No. 24.

    Therefore, I believe the Saints will swap picks with the Bengals, who are looking to get back into the first round to take a quarterback.

    Cincinnati will give up its second- and third-round picks to move into the late first round, and with the pick at No. 24, the Bengals will select TCU quarterback Andy Dalton.

Philadelphia and St. Louis Swap Round 1 Picks

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    St. Louis seems set to trade their No. 14 pick. But what is not set is which direction they'll move it.

    A move the Rams could make is into the top 10 to grab a wide receiver. However, signs are pointing toward both A.J. Green and Julio Jones being gone by the time Cleveland picks at No. 6.

    So, the Rams will probably look to move back in the draft. One likely spot is the No. 23 pick that Philadelphia owns. The Eagles are in the market for an offensive tackle and a running back.

    Andy Reid may elect to move into the middle portion of Round 1, as prospects like tackles Tyron Smith, Anthony Castonzo and Gabe Carimi are likely to be available. Not to mention, Alabama running back Mark Ingram may be there for the taking right before Miami, an Ingram hopeful, selects at No. 15.

    With the Rams' pick at No. 23, I believe they will take Illinois defensive tackle Corey Luiget.

Texans Nab Patrick Peterson in Trade with Arizona

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    The Texans are rumored to have great interest in a cornerback, particularly to improve the league's worst pass defense in 2010.

    With top cornerback prospect Patrick Peterson expected to by taken no later than No. 7, the Texans may move up from the 11th overall pick to nab the former LSU corner.

    Assuming top quarterback prospects Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert are gone by the time Arizona is on the clock at No. 5, look for the Cardinals to trade down and stockpile some picks.

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