NFL Draft Rumors: Last Second Trade Rumors for 2011 NFL Draft Order
NFL Draft rumors continue to pinball across the football landscape today, less than 24 hours after the dust settled on what was a wild and ridiculous first round of picks.
The first round of the draft certainly lived up to the screwball reputation this year's class has been pegged with, thanks to a plethora of wheeling and dealing that saw teams launching up or sliding down the draft board with regularity.
We saw everything from Atlanta jumping into the sixth overall spot (at the cost of five draft picks throughout the rest of this year's and next year's draft), Cleveland stockpile picks with Belichickian efficiency, and the kind of chaos that makes the draft so much fun for fans.
The best part is, we're not even close to done yet. With two rounds to be picked today, we're sure to see teams angling to make even more trades, while they try to figure out just who from a still surprisingly talented board of remaining draftees merits a pick.
We're bringing you all the latest scuttlebutt from around the league, breaking down potential deals, potential rumored picks and all the other draft-related coverage you can handle before things get underway.
So, practice your Jon Gruden crazy voice (it mostly involves talking at least twice as loud as your fellow anchors, while getting either really angry or really excited for no good reason), put on your Von Miller glasses and let's get started, shall we?
NFL Draft Rumors Ponder the Fortunes of Notre Dame Tight End Kyle Rudolph
Few players saw their draft stock rise and fall via NFL Draft rumors quite as often as Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph.
Coming into the 2010-11 season, Rudolph was a consensus first round pick, with the size, speed and hands to make some team very happy. But then, disaster struck. A hamstring injury caused him to miss the last seven games of the season, and Rudolph's stock dropped considerably. Could he stay healthy in the pros?
Now, after sliding with relative ease through the first round of the draft (as almost everyone figured he would), many have Rudolph pegged as a second or third round sleeper. But, where will he land?
There are plenty of teams who could use a player with Rudolph's skill set. He's big, strong, and fast, with solid skills blocking in both the passing and running games.
But, what really sets the rangy tight end apart are his receiving skills. He was the leading receiver for the Irish through the first six weeks of the season in 2010, and has better hands than many wideouts in this year's draft.
If you don't think there are teams who could use him, you're kidding yourself. Buffalo, Arizona, Atlanta, Denver and the New York Giants all need a tight end, and all of them (save Atlanta, who mortgaged their draft for Julio Jones) pick in the second round.
While there's a slim chance Rudolph makes a full second trip through the draft order, I think he get snapped up in the early portion of the second round.
Tight ends with his skill set are a hard thing to come by, and he's going to be fully healthy in time for training camp. Look for someone (be it Denver, or Arizona) to use their second round pick on this rangy tight end, and get one of the bigger steals of the draft so far.
He's got the talent to be a star, and can contribute right away. For Arizona (the most likely taker), he represents a huge upgrade at the position, and a productive receiver in the middle of the field for them going forward. At the absolute worst, I see the Giants grabbing him and throwing to him constantly next season, which doesn't sound so bad, now does it?
NFL Trade Rumors Surrounding Potential Kevin Kolb Deal Sacked By Harsh Reality
Prior to the NFL Draft getting underway, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb was subject to more NFL trade rumors than almost any other player in the league.
Things got so bad that after two potential Kolb landing places, the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers, opted not to draft quarterbacks, Paul Domowitz of the Philadelphia Daily News said it was a sign that perhaps those teams had a little "gentlemen's agreement" with the Eagles to trade for the promising passer.
Per Domowitz's report:
"It should be pointed out that both the Cardinals and 49ers did not take quarterbacks with their first-round picks last night. So, presumably, they still are in the market for one.
In fact, they took players at positions that mesh surprisingly with the Eagles' needs, leading some, including me, to surmise that maybe they've agreed to a wink-and-nod deal that will be culminated once trades are legal again."
However, CSN Philly was quick to sack the gentlemen's agreement rumors before they even had a chance to scan the field, telling us that league sources had said there was no way an agreement was in place.
This makes sense; the league wouldn't let a pre-arranged deal like that fly, even if it couldn't prove it was prearranged. The last thing the league wants to do is give player attorneys any reason to charge the owners with collusion, and a "gentlemen's agreement" regarding a trade, even one the player would likely want to happen, is a good way to get into trouble in that regard.
The fact is, the Eagles are likely stuck with Kolb in a backup role for the time being, and they won't even hear serious offers until the ban is lifted. When it is, assuming someone gets left out of the quarterback musical chairs game in the second round of the draft tonight, you can expect several teams to come knocking on the Eagles' door to find out what it will take to land Kolb.
He's still got potential, and plenty of value for the right team, but it remains to be seen where exactly he'll land. At this point, Cincinnati, Miami, Arizona, San Francisco and Seattle all remain as serious contenders, and one figures the Eagles will get a deal for him when they finally take a bid.
NFL Trade Rumors Ponder Chances of Redskins Moving Up to Guarantee Getting a Quarterback In Round 2
Add the Washington Redskins to the list of vexing draft picks resulting in NFL trade rumors abounding. Despite serious needs at quarterback and wide receiver, the 'Skins added a second feared pass rusher to their ranks in Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan, who will pair with Brian Orakpo to give quarterbacks nightmares.
But now, the Redskins face a quandry in the second round. Picking 10th in the second round, Washington sits behind three teams in need of quarterbacks, with three quarterbacks who could potentially be picked, in Ryan Mallett (big arm, character issues), Colin Kaepernick (does everything well, but can he do it in the NFL?) and Andy Dalton (the most polished of the three).
That could be a serious problem; fortunately, the Redskins do have the picks to make a trade up in Round 2, thanks to Jacksonville. With picks 41 and 49, Washington has plenty of ammunition to try and move up in the round, and hopefully snag one of the big three.
Of course, it's not that easy for the Redskins, either. Giving up one (or both) of those second-round picks would mean that they'll lose out on picking in both the third and fourth rounds, as both of those picks have landed elsewhere. After pick 49, their next pick doesn't come until the fifth round, meaning the Redskins will have a rather lengthy wait, and no ammunition to get back into the middle rounds.
So, the question for Dan Snyder and Washington's front office is: do you feel lucky?
The fact is, Washington's best course of action might just be to stay put. Arizona has been in talks with Marc Bulger in recent days, and if they were taking a quarterback, why not get one with the fifth overall pick? Buffalo and Cincinnati both need quarterbacks, but given their draft histories, it's hard to say for sure that their front offices actually know they need one (that may not be as true in Buffalo, but with Mike Brown in charge in Cincinnati, that's a real issue).
On top of that, there are reports coming out that teams don't trust Ryan Mallett, meaning there's a good chance he slides clear down to Washington.
Even if they don't wind up landing a quarterback (which I think they will), there are enough other needs at positions like wide receiver, running back and along the offensive line, that the Redskins will do just fine filling those needs and sticking with Donovan McNabb as their quarterback for another year.
In short, while the Redskins can trade up to get a quarterback, they might not have to, given teams' concerns about Mallett. If the Redskins think they need a passer, he might wind up being the guy they take at this stage of the game.
NFL Trade Rumors Ponder Whether Texans Will Trade Up to Further Bolster Defense In Second Round
The Houston Texans weren't subject to many NFL trade rumors during the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. With all of the needs they had on defense combined with the glut of defensive prospects in this year's draft class, most experts figured Houston would grab someone with the 11th overall pick.
Grab someone they did, in the form of J.J. Watt, a perfect fit for Houston's 3-4 scheme as a defensive end. But now that we've reached the second round, the question becomes, will the Texans be forced to trade up to grab more help for their woebegone defense?
According to ESPN's Paul Kuharsky, it's certainly an option. Kuharsky believes that the best player left on the board for the Texans would be Texas defensive back Aaron Williams, who is unlikely to be on the big board at pick 42.
In fact, Williams' versatility (he's projected as a safety by many teams, but played cornerback throughout his college career) should make him a very tempting choice for the Texans, and given the state of their defense, they could certainly use someone with his skills.
In order to grab Williams, a move to the top six would likely be necessary, although he could go higher than that, and to get it, Houston would only have to give up their current pick in Round 2 and a late round pick on top, thereby not killing the rest of their draft to get him.
The fact is, Houston already bolstered their pass rush with Watt, who figures to wreak havoc opposite Mario Williams for the Texans' defense, and the outside linebackers likely to be available at this stage of the draft are somewhat lacking, particularly when compared with Aaron Williams, who has the potential to be an excellent defensive back at either corner or safety.
If Houston is smart, they'll think long and hard about trading up to get Williams and upgrading their secondary in a big way. It won't cost them much (if they pull it off right), and the reward for landing a player with Williams' upside could be great.
In the end, trading up to land the corner/safety from their home state seems to be a smart choice for the Texans and their terrible pass defense.
NFL Trade Rumors Ponder Whether Potential Stay of Lockout Injunction Will Affect Pick Trading In NFL Draft
In a move that could potentially quelch NFL trade rumors for the foreseeable future, the 8th District Court of Appeals Judge hearing the owners' appeal of Judge Susan Nelson's injunction ending the lockout could end this afternoon.
According to ESPN's John Clayton, a source in the judge's office told him a ruling on the temporary stay pending the appeal could come as soon as this afternoon, while Yahoo! Sports' Nate Silver reported that players were prepared for a stay of Judge Nelson's ruling.
Of course, with the lockout comes a renewed ban on player transactions (although the current ban was still in place for the time being), while the NFL drags its feet through legal proceedings.
But, will the transaction ban affect tonight's NFL Draft? With the second and third rounds set to take place during prime time tonight, would the transaction ban kill the trading of draft picks that makes the draft so enthralling to watch?
Fortunately, unless the league specifies draft picks as part of the ban, there's no reason why teams would be unable to trade picks before players were selected.
Draft picks are not quantifiable entities like players; they're not people and therefore, they're not hurt by the ban on player transactions in any way. Draft picks also lack a definable value, and while they turn into players when a team uses the pick, they don't equate to a specific person, and therefore can be traded freely.
Think of it like this: while we all try to predict who a team will take with a specific pick, and while we may have a decent idea of who a team may take, in theory they can draft anyone whose name is submitted to be drafted.
On top of that, the league isn't stupid (or, at least, they're not that stupid); they know fans tune in to watch teams wheel and deal their way into good drafts or bad drafts, and they wouldn't ruin one of their biggest events of the year by killing one of the aspects that make it so interesting.
Of course, we also thought there wouldn't be a lockout in the first place for much the same reason (that the NFL owners weren't stupid) and look where that got us.
However, given that there's no players involved directly in draft pick swaps, it makes no sense for the league to end draft pick trades.
So, regardless of the appeals court's ruling, the NFL Draft will still feature pick trades. In other words, you can relax; you'll get to see another team pull an Atlanta Falcons and overpay for a single pick.
NFL Trade Rumors Ponder Likelihood of Raiders Trading Up to Grab Quarterback in Friday's Second Round
The Oakland Raiders have been the subject of NFL trade rumors since shortly before the 2011 NFL Draft kicked off on Thursday night. Experts were speculating that the team was angling to vault back into the first round (they were the only club without a first round pick at the start of the evening), but in the end, Oakland was quiet on the trade front.
However, there have been rumblings coming out of Oakland that the silver and black aren't done trying to work their way back up the draft ladder yet.
National Football Post's Wes Bunting hinted that the Raiders were looking to move into the first round to get Colin Kaepernick yesterday, but the same could easily apply to the second round.
The team has three options in the second round for a quarterback, assuming that's what the Raiders are after. Colin Kaepernick, Andy Dalton and Ryan Mallett are all projected to leave the board in the early-going on Friday, with plenty of quarterback-starved teams sitting in prime position to take on.
Oakland find themselves picking 16th in the second round, 48th overall, out of the running behind quarterback hungry squads like the Bengals, Bills and 49ers.
But, given their glut of late draft picks, the Raiders have the tools necessary to vault past one or more of those teams and grab Kaepernick, Mallett or Dalton.
The move would actually make sense, to boot; while Oakland has Jason Campbell, it's looking increasingly likely that the veteran is never going to turn into the franchise quarterback people envisioned. But, because he's not actively bad, just not great, they could take a Kaepernick, who would need a couple years before he's fully ready to be an NFL quarterback and stick him behind Campbell, to ease his transition into the NFL.
Granted, taking a quarterback doesn't fill any of Oakland's biggest needs (corners, offensive line help, improving run defense), but for an Al Davis pick, it's surprisingly logical. Grabbing a quarterback now builds for the future, while not damaging your team's chances significantly in the next year.
Of course, it makes so much sense that Al "I picked JaMarcus Russell and Darius Heyward-Bey" Davis probably won't actually do it, but you never know. Maybe, in this screwy draft, Davis will make smart choices, rather than taking his usual first-pick busts.
NFL Trade Rumors Ponder Whether Saints' Pick Of Mark Ingram Spells End of Reggie Bush's Run in New Orleans
The New Orleans Saints surprised a few draftniks on Thursday, and managed to vault themselves into the midst of potential NFL trade rumors in the process. When the Saints grabbed Mark Ingram with the 28th pick of the first round, they set into motion a chain of debate and speculation surrounding the fate of another running back on their roster: Reggie Bush.
The former college standout has yet to impress in New Orleans, and his tweet following the pick hinted that he sees the writing on the wall.
Dropping Bush would make sense; Ingram could be a star back, and even with Pierre Thomas hitting restricted free agency, the Saints might be wise to try and get value for him while he still has some.
But, if he's traded, where could he land? As we saw in this year's draft, there aren't too many teams in the market for a running back (although, that may have been more of a product of a lackluster draft class at the position than anything else), and Bush has yet to actually show he can be consistently effective at the professional level.
Even so, there are a few teams who could be in the mix to deal for Bush, assuming he comes on the market. The Miami Dolphins are losing both of their running backs to free agency, and Bush, despite his ineffectiveness, would prove an upgrade, thanks to his versatility and skill. The Dolphins could use a new Wildcat back, and Bush fits the bill perfectly.
Likewise, the Washington Redskins could use someone with Bush's agility and versatility given their backs' propensity for injury, while the Arizona Cardinals have not gotten good results out of Beanie Wells through two pro seasons, and could use someone like Bush as a backup plan.
Of course, there's an excellent chance that Reggie doesn't leave New Orleans as well. The Saints' rushers haven't exactly inspired much confidence in their ability to stay healthy, and his speed and pass-catching abilities bring something to the table that Ingram lacks.
Frankly, drafting Ingram could wind up being just what Reggie needs; it will allow him to be the x-factor kind of back he was in college, splitting carries with the rookie and being the explosive, big-play back rather than the 5-yard gain up the middle back he needed to be before. The combination of Bush and Ingram could be perfect for the Saints, giving them the up-the-middle, downhill runner in the rookie, and the elusive speed back in Bush.
In the end, picking Ingram doesn't end Reggie's time as a Saint, even if there are teams out there willing to trade for the onetime first overall pick. By pairing him with Ingram, the Saints could have a potentially explosive duo on their hands, and at the very least, it's worth waiting a season to see what happens.
NFL Draft Rumors Ponder What Buffalo Will Do With Second Round Pick
The Buffalo Bills had to be thrilled with the way the first round went for them. They got the player they really wanted in defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, have some prime real estate in the second round, and there's plenty of talent on the board to fill the team's needs.
But, which need will Buffalo fill first?
We know this team needs a quarterback; while he was solid last year, Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the answer as a franchise signal caller, and the Bills have been jerking their fans along for years without a true franchise passer. They've been begging for one since Wade Phillips benched Doug Flutie, and landing someone in the second round would give them just what they've been longing for.
With Colin Kaepernick, Andy Dalton and Ryan Mallett still likely to be on the board at the second pick of Friday's second round, the Bills are in a prime position to land any one of those three potential quarterbacks. A move for someone like Mallett, with his big arm, or Kaepernick, with his dual-threat skills and better-than-you-think passing ability, or Dalton, with his leadership skills, would make Bills fans extremely happy.
But, of course, there's the potential for disappointment here, as well. With plenty of promising defensive prospects, from Brooks Reed to Akeem Ayers to Martez Wilson, Buffalo could continue to try and find the right mix of promising young players on defense to get themselves on track.
While none of those guys would necessarily be bad picks, you can bet that they're not what Buffalo's rabid fan base was hoping for with so many potentially promising arms still on the board. Likewise, a move for someone like Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph could be beneficial to this team, as could grabbing an offensive lineman to help keep whoever's under center next season safe.
Frankly, the Bills have so many needs, at so many different positions that it's tough to say for certain just who will wind up being the pick here. Personally, I think Mallett or Kaepernick could be stellar choices, guys who, with a bit of patience, could become bona fide stars at some point. But, as much as Bills fans want to see their team grab a franchise passer, there's a great chance that won't happen.
Of course, given Bills' fans level of heartbreak over the years, we can only hope that Buffalo finally gives them what they want, even if it means missing out on prime defensive prospects.
NFL Trade Rumors Ponder Impact Cardinals "Understanding" With Marc Bulger Could Have On Potential Second-Round Trades
The Arizona Cardinals have been a party to myriad NFL trade and free agent rumors over the last few days, and those rumblings only intensified after last night's draft.
Despite numerous reports that the team would likely take a quarterback with the fifth overall pick, the Cards stunned many in the room by selecting LSU's Patrick Peterson, the multi-talented cornerback.
Today, we may have learned why. According to Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic, the team may or may not have an "understanding" with veteran signal caller Marc Bulger.
Per McManaman's report:
"Asked about a report circulating around the league that the Cardinals already have reached "an understanding" with Bulger, Graves deflected the question to coach Ken Whisenhunt."
"Ken, do you know anything about that?" Graves asked.
Drawing a slight grin, Whisenhunt responded, "I don't know anything about that."
Aside from the obvious potential rule violations involved in this "understanding" (although it probably doesn't actually violate the letter of the law), it also has a profound impact on the team's draft strategy, and could result in a potential trade.
With a trio of quarterback who could potentially be taken early in the second round of the draft, there are several teams in need of a passer behind Arizona. If they decide to sign and start Bulger, it means they can afford to slip back a few rungs on the draft round ladder to fill more needs later on, with potential compensation in the form of extra draft picks.
With San Francisco and Washington behind them looking for a passer, the sixth pick in the second round could prove incredibly valuable for Arizona. Dealing it would all but ensure that whoever got it would be able to grab at least one of those three second-round quarterbacks, Ryan Mallett, Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick.
Of course, having Bulger around doesn't mean the Cardinals won't take a quarterback with pick number 38. After all, just ask Rams fans how Bulger faired as the franchis quarterback, and you'll see the Cards could still be in the market for their quarterback of the future. On top of that, this team has needs at numerous positions, and rather than getting multiple picks to fill as many holes as possible, they could opt to fill one with a slightly better talent.
In the end, it's hard to say what Arizona will do, assuming they sign Bulger once the transaction ban is lifted. The world is more or less their oyster, and given the way this screwball draft has gone so far, none of the options on the table (trade down, draft a quarterback, draft more defensive help) would really surprise me.
NFL Trade Rumors Ponder Whether Bears Owe Ravens Fourth-Round Pick After Botched Trade Attempt
The Chicago Bears find themselves at the center of more NFL trade rumors today, after the team successfully managed to botch a draft day deal with the Baltimore Ravens.
According to the Chicago Sun Times, the Ravens saw the clock expire on their attempt to swap places in the draft with the Bears, moving from 26th overall to 29th, while getting a fourth-round pick in compensation. Why did the clock expire? Simple; the Bears forgot to phone in the trade to the league.
Suddenly, much like the Vikings in 2003, the Ravens were left scrambling to make a pick, with two other teams grabbing players before they were able to get their pick in to the league, in corner Jimmy Smith.
While both teams wound up getting the players they wanted (Baltimore wanted Smith, Chicago wanted Gabe Carimi), Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome has appealed to the league, stating that his team should still get the fourth round pick the Bears owed them.
“Everyone was poised,” Newsome said at a press conference. “I was on the phone with the other team. [A Ravens official] was on the phone with [eventual pick]Jimmy Smith. Once that agreement was made, then they have to call the league. . . . The other team never got confirmation with the league.”
But, do the Bears really owe the Ravens the pick? After all, the deal didn't get done, and both teams still got their player (although it certainly made Baltimore look bad when the clock expired on their pick), so why continue to push the issue?
Other than the obvious benefits of getting another draft pick for the Ravens, there is the small matter of integrity to consider here. The Ravens had planned to get the fourth round pick, which changes their draft strategy, and both teams had agreed to the change. On top of that, Baltimore did technically wind up drafting in a lower position (28th overall, since both Kansas City and New Orleans picked ahead of them when they weren't supposed to), while the Bears still got their man.
So why not compensate Newsome for getting egg on his face? On top of that, Bears general manager Peter Angelo has his honor to uphold. If he's seen as having reneged on the deal because his team made the mistake, it's not going to bode well for his credibility around the league going forward.
In the end, it makes sense for Chicago to give the Ravens a fourth-round pick here. The deal essentially got done the way both sides wanted it, both teams got the players they wanted, so why not finish it off? Nobody gets hurt; the Bears were clearly ready to part with that pick anyway, so it's not like the Ravens are taking more than the Bears were willing to give in the first place.
No matter what, these two teams managed to give everyone a good laugh, while the Bears' draft table has joined Mike Tice's 2003 Vikings in the pantheon of boneheaded draft day mistakes.
NFL Trade Rumors Ponder 49ers Chances of Trading Up In Search of Quarterback
The San Francisco 49ers find themselves at the center of numerous NFL trade rumors after delivering one of the biggest shockers of the first round of the draft.
With the seventh overall pick, and with more highly rated defensive ends still on the board, as well as consensus first-round pick quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker (Christian Ponder still doesn't count), the Niners took Missouri defensive end/linebacker Aldon Smith.
But now, San Fran finds itself in a bit of a quandry. Most draftniks figured the Niners would be chasing a quarterback in the draft, and there are still three excellent choices on the board, in Ryan Mallett, Colin Kaepernick, and Andy Dalton. However, San Fran is sliding five spots in the second round, and won't pick until 45th overall, and the 12th pick of Round 2.
Given the quarterback hungry teams ahead of them (Buffalo, Cincinnati, Washington and Arizona could all use a quarterback), will San Francisco try to trade up to land themselves one of those three passers?
It makes sense for San Francisco to try and find themselves a quarterback in the second round. Kaepernick has the arm, speed and smarts to play the position in the pros, Mallett has the physical tools to be great, and Dalton looks to be high on a number of draft boards. If they want a quarterback, and they're fairly sure none of those three will be there by the time the round reaches them, trading up makes perfect sense.
But, there's still a good chance at least one of those three could fall through to them. Arizona has reportedly been looking at veteran free agents like Marc Bulger and Matt Hasselbeck,Washington seems not to want a quarterback with the 40th pick, and the Bengals still have Mike Brown running things, so they might not draft a quarterback. If the Niners are sure that one of those three will fall to them, staying put makes perfect sense.
Of course, there's also a chance San Francisco simply waits a couple more rounds to grab a quarterback, investing in someone like Iowa's Ricky Stanzi, Delaware's Pat Devilin or Virginia Tech's Tyrod Taylor, then use Alex Smith for another year or two before throwing them into the fire. Of course, this is a risky move, and one that could backfire if the player they grab doesn't pan out, but it's definitely a possibility.
Finally, San Fran could just ignore the position entirely, banking on Alex Smith to make a breakthrough next season or hoping he stinks so badly they wind up first overall, and take Andrew Luck.
In the end, I think the 49ers will take one of the three second round quarterbacks, given their needs at the position, and the fact that Alex Smith hasn't been a viable option for more than two games in a row in his career. They need help, and I see them getting it, even if it means giving up a couple of picks to move up and make sure they get their man.
NFL Draft Rumors Ponder What Patriots Will Do With First Pick In Round 2
The New England Patriots come into day two of the 2011 NFL Draft with more rumors swirling around them then almost any other team in the draft.
After all, the Pats were relatively quite on the trade front in the first round, picking offensive lineman Nate Solder with the 17th overall pick, then swapping their second first round pick, the 28th overall, to New Orleans in return for a second rounder this year.
But now, with three picks in the second round, including the first pick of the day, acquired from Carolina last season, many fans are wondering just what the Patriots plan to do with that first pick.
We all know Bill Belichick's history with draft picks (why use the pick on a player when I can get two picks to trade with next season?), and of course, the 33rd overall pick is far from safe. There are plenty of quarterback starved teams anxious to get back into the higher ranks of the draft board in an effort to land one of the big names still out there.
Odds are good, New England could get better than required compensation for the pick, and still have two picks in the round to play with, grabbing a pass rusher, an outside linebacker, or even something no one expects. On top of that, there are enough prospects still floating around out there that Belichick and company could afford to wait until pick 56 to draft again and still find a good value player on the board.
But, at the same time, there's a pretty convincing argument to stay put and draft from there. Defensive end Da'Quan Bowers was at one point a top five pick, but somehow managed to slide clear into the second round of the draft thanks to concerns about his knee. If that's not enough, outside linebacker Akeem Ayers is still available, as is Arizona's defensive end Brooks Reed, both fringe first round picks.
In other words, there are enough supremely talented players at positions where the Patriots could use some help to keep Belichick to standing pat and take one of them with that first pick.
The fact is, I think there's no way New England keeps all three second round picks. Bill Belichick will be too tempted to deal a pick to someone looking to get back into round two, be it Carolina, Atlanta or someone else.
We all know how hard it is to figure out what Belichick and the Pats are going to do in the draft. Any time we think we have it figured out, they throw us a curveball and we wind up looking silly. They could easily wind up using all three picks on themselves, or they could trade all three away for pick in this draft and next year's draft.
But, given the talent still on the board, I would be shocked if they dealt that first pick of the second round to someone else. Their needs on the pass rush are too great, and with the caliber of player still available, it makes sense to take one here, then see where you stand later in the round. If you want to trade up, or back, or stockpile picks for later, you'll still have two picks to play with.
In the end, drafting someone like Bowers, Ayers or Reed would just make sense for New England.
NFL Trade Rumors Ponder Whether Donovan McNabb Will Still Head to Minnesota
We've heard myriad NFL trade rumors surrounding Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb in recent weeks, as the Vikings were in desperate need of a quarterback, and the Redskins were desperately trying to get rid of the former Pro Bowler.
But, after the Minnesota Vikings managed to one-up the Tennessee Titans in the stupid draft picks department by taking Christian Ponder 12th overall, suddenly, McNabb doesn't seem quite as necessary in the Metrodome. After all, they've got their franchise quarterback of the future (be afraid, Vikings fans, be afraid), so what do they need a 34-year-old veteran coming off the worst season of his career for?
According to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writer Tom Silverstein, the answer could well be "quite a bit".
Silverstein writes that grabbing McNabb is actually a smarter play now than it was before the Vikes took Ponder.
Per his article:
"One would think this would signal that the Vikings are going to chase Donovan McNabb in free agency. The ideal situation would be for Ponder to play behind McNabb for a season or two and then move into the starting position."
Frankly, I couldn't agree more. Everyone knows Ponder is a serious project, one that will need at least a year of seasoning before he's ready to be thrown into the fire (assuming he's ever actually ready), and McNabb would represent an upgrade over the Florida State Seminole, particularly for the first two years Ponder's in the league.
As someone who thought picking Ponder was a terrible idea for the Vikings (why not wait for Ryan Mallet?) getting McNabb seems like a wise insurance policy. Ponder represents a high-risk prospect, and by grabbing Donovan from Washington, the Vikes can make sure that if he busts out (which is a real possibility), they've got someone capable of throwing the ball under center until they find a new quarterback.
McNabb will have great receivers, something he lacked with the Redskins, and would be a capable fill-in until a new franchise signal caller can be located.
In the end, it's clear Minnesota is pinning their hopes over the long term on Ponder, but if they're smart, they'll still try to grab Donovan McNabb to ensure they find some success in the short term, as well.
NFL Trade Rumors Ponder Likelihood Of Panthers Returning to Round 2 of NFL Draft
The Carolina Panthers come into the second day of the draft as the subject of plenty of NFL trade rumors, after they surprised almost no one with their selection of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton with the first overall pick of the draft on Thursday night.
Now, the Panthers are forced to play the waiting game. Thanks to a trade made last season, Carolina doesn't have a second-round pick at the moment, and their next choice comes in at number 65 overall, which could cost them valuable chances to find more pieces to fit into their currently porous puzzle.
But, according to ESPN's Pat Yaskinas, there's a good chance that could change. He believes Carolina will be looking to move back into the second round, thanks to their pair of third round picks.
Per Yaskinas' report:
"Carolina coach Ron Rivera told Paolantonio the Panthers are at least attempting to move back into the second round of this draft. They gave up that pick last year as part of a trade to take receiver Armanti Edwards in the third round."
"According to Paolantonio, Rivera said the Panthers are calling around to gauge interest in possible trades. The coach said this year’s third-round pick could be part of the package, along with an early-round pick in 2012."
If you ask me, that sounds like a pretty smart idea. The fact is, the Panthers could really use some help on the defensive line and in the wide receiver corps, and without a second round pick, they risk missing out on some of the great values still on the board in Friday's second round.
With two third round picks, thanks to the untradeable compensatory pick at the end of the round, Carolina suddenly has a pick to work with this year to get back into round 2. Where could they wind up?
Given the way the first round went, I'm sure there will be plenty of teams more than happy to trade back into the third round, assuming the Panthers give them another pick from next season on top. Given the kind of value lurking in this year's second round, it would be incredibly smart for the Panthers to try and make a move back in now, especially given their needs at defensive end.
2011 NFL Draft Order Set for Third Round, But Who's Picking Where?
The 2011 NFL Draft order for the second and third rounds is set, for the moment. Now that the dust has settled on the action of a wild first round, our attention moves quickly towards some of the potential sleepers and breakout stars still on the board for rounds 2 and 3.
In particular, the third round promises to be a wild one. By that point, we'll have moved through the vast majority of the top 50 players on the board, and we'll be dealing with a group of less heralded, but potential laden players from across the college football landscape.
As a result of the wheeling and dealing of the first round of the draft, the third round's landscape looks somewhat different than it did at the start of the draft. We've seen teams shift up and down the board throughout the early stages of the draft, and odds are good, we'll continue to see teams do so in the third round tonight.
Here's your updated third round draft order as of now (once again, this figures to change). The original pick's owner will be listed in parentheses.
6. Kansas City (via CLE)
8. New Orleans (via WAS)
10. New England (via MIN)
12. San Francisco
14. St. Louis
18. San Diego
19. New York Giants
20. Tampa Bay
22. Kansas City
24. New Orleans
25. San Diego (from SEA)
28. New England
30. New York Jets
32. Green Bay
33. Carolina (compensatory)