The NFL draft is looming and teams are entering one of the most stressful weeks of the NFL calendar.
On top of scouting players and mulling their options, teams are also trying to decide whether or not they need to move up or down in the draft order.
The St. Louis Rams ended the season with the No. 2 pick, but relinquished it to the Washington Redskins for a nice package of three first-round picks and a second rounder. This could be a turning point for a struggling St. Louis franchise that now has a chance to draft some really good building blocks in the coming years.
With that being said, let's take a look at a few teams that should look to follow suit with the Rams and look to trade down in the draft order.
Minnesota Vikings: No. 3 Pick
The Vikings hold a very high pick this year, and I'm sure if they decided to shop it, they would receive several offers. My rationale for them shopping this pick is that most mock drafts have them selecting OT Matt Kalil from USC, but I don't think the Vikings should be worried about bolstering their line when their franchise quarterback is still in question.
Christian Ponder has shown some promise, but he still has some developing to do in order to warrant drafting an elite offensive tackle. The Vikings really should use this pick to work on defense, and they are fortunate to have an abundance of defensive talent available in the first round. Minnesota could trade down a couple of spots and still be able to get a great defensive player like CB Morris Claiborne or DE Melvin Ingram while receiving a lucrative package in exchange. The Vikings could hopefully find some decent offensive linemen in the later rounds and could hopefully restore a once-feared defense.
Carolina Panthers: No. 9 Pick
Cam Newton brought a new sense of hope to the Panthers and this team could be headed for the playoffs in the near future. However, they find themselves with a high pick in a talented draft class and some desperate teams beneath them.
If the Panthers consider trading down, it should be to a team like the Arizona Cardinals, who are most likely eyeing WR Michael Floyd (or Justin Blackmon if he's available). The Cardinals have the 13th pick and wouldn't be too steep of a drop for Carolina. If they could get some additional picks out of the drop, it would benefit them and they still may be able to draft the defensive tackle they have been looking for.
Nose tackles Fletcher Cox and Dontari Poe have a ton of upside and one or both may be available even if Carolina trades down to No. 13. The Panthers could even go lower in the draft (Eagles at No. 15 or Packers at No. 28) and receive a bigger package of picks in return, and they would still have options at nose tackle (Michael Brockers or Jerel Worthy).
Chicago Bears: No. 19 Pick
If one thing sticks out for the "must improve" category for Chicago, it is their dismal offensive line. Their line allowed 49 sacks and 87 quarterback hits last season and it took a toll on QB Jay Cutler, who was shelved with a mid-season thumb injury.
At the 19th pick, it may be a reach to draft first-round-worthy talent like Amini Silatolu or Jonathan Martin. This is why I think they could afford to trade down and draft the best available offensive lineman and maybe get some picks in exchange. One possible trade partner could be Houston, who may be in the market for a wideout.
The Texans could trade up from their 26th spot and take the best available wide receiver before other teams like the Browns or the Ravens get their hands on him.