The 2011 NFL draft is fast approaching. Coaches and general managers will soon have to decide whether they want to roll the dice with that possible franchise player or trade that pick for future picks.
With a lockout looming, some general managers might try to trade for picks in next year's draft so their rookies will have played competitive football more recently.
Expect these teams to look at trading up and down to find matches with one another to deal picks. Because of the lockout, players cannot be traded, so coaches and GMs will have to dust off their old spreadsheets detailing the value of this year's second-round pick compared to next year's first-round pick in order to maneuver deals.
Bill Belichick is famous for his draft-day wheeling and dealing. This season he comes into the draft with six picks in the first three rounds. You can bet that they won't pick six players in those rounds.
They will make trades—almost assuredly for lower picks and future picks. The Patriots have consistently drafted better than other NFL teams, and that has been an enormous reason for their sustained success.
Rumors have been flying this offseason that the Patriots are looking for a quarterback to groom as Brady's successor. This is likely a smokescreen by Belichick to try to inflate the value of his picks and force teams to pay more.
The Cowboys are looking to change their draft fortunes as well. Jerry Jones and the Cowboys have been rumored to move down, but there is one player who could force them to move up, depending on the price.
Jones and the Dallas Cowboys love LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, according to The Cowboys Central, and they are concerned that he might not be available when they pick at No. 9. Expect to see the Cowboys test the price of higher first-round picks to get their guy.
The Rams are another team looking to move up or down in the draft, but they seem reluctant to stay put. While there are a number of sources saying the Rams want Julio Jones and are willing to trade for the Cowboys' No. 9 pick to get him, the rumors seem too widespread to be the truth.
Trading down and taking a receiver later in the draft is a more likely scenario for the Rams. One mock draft from WalterFootball has the Rams trading down to No. 23 to select Corey Liuget.
The one thing people agree on is the Redskins want a quarterback. There are three things nobody knows:
1. Which quarterback the Redskins want.
2. Which quarterbacks will be available when the Redskins pick.
3. Whether the Redskins like any quarterback enough to move up.
Depending on these three things, the Redskins will decide whether to move up or down in the draft. Guys like Christian Ponder, Ryan Mallett and Andy Dalton have widely varying evaluations depending on which scouts you talk to.
The Redskins scouts aren't talking about which guy they're targeting.
Like their in-state rivals, the Texans have become infatuated with the athletic ability and potential of CB Patrick Peterson, according to SI's Peter King.
Experts agree Peterson will be gone after the first three picks. With a possible bidding war between the Cowboys and Texans, the value of those picks increases exponentially.
While the bidding war could end in a mega-trade including later and future picks, it could also drive both Texas teams out and force them to consider trading down to get an extra pick later in the draft.
It seems that any team interested in taking a quarterback in the draft also has trade rumors swirling around. These rumors occur because of the uncertainty surrounding so many of these prospects.
Guys like Jake Locker and Christian Ponder have A+ potential, but they have yet to prove their skills as much as quarterbacks in previous drafts.
The 49ers will be one team waiting to pounce if these guys drop too far. Don't be surprised to see them give up a future first-rounder to snag a QB in the late first round.
The Dolphins are looking for the next Dan Marino, and to go along with the theme of quarterback search trade rumors, the Dolphins are another team looking to deal.
The Dolphins haven't appeared to have a significant favorite quarterback, and they might be willing to trade down into the mid-20s to take whichever is left and pick up an extra second-round pick. Or they could be throwing up a smokescreen to take the guy they want at No. 15—or even trade up.