Which NFL Teams Are Biggest Threat to Move Up in 2019 Draft?

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterMarch 20, 2019

Which NFL Teams Are Biggest Threat to Move Up in 2019 Draft?

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Every year, the NFL draft gets jumbled by teams that move up and down throughout the first round. 

    In 2018, the Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills and New York Jets climbed into the top 10 so they could land their quarterbacks of the future. Those weren't the only moves, either. All told, 16 first-round picks changed hands (some multiple times) through a combination of pre-draft moves and trades during the selection process itself. 

    This year, which teams are loaded with enough draft capital to make moves of their own?


Green Bay Packers

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    Round 1 Pick: Nos. 12, 30

    The Green Bay Packers moved back in last year's first round to let the New Orleans Saints draft edge-rusher Marcus Davenport, and they still landed an excellent class that featured Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson and others. Now, they're loaded for the 2019 draft with two first-round selections and three top-44 picks. 

    Like the Saints last year, the Packers could try to package picks and move up. Unlike New Orleans, they'd be seeking an elite playmaker at linebacker after they secured edge-rushers Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith in free agency.

    That doesn't seem like a typical Packers move, but neither did signing multiple frontline starters in free agency.

    With needs at linebacker, cornerback and safety—plus a shortening Super Bowl window with 35-year-old Aaron Rodgers at quarterback—general manager Brian Gutekunst might get aggressive this draft season and try to land Devin Bush (Michigan) or the top linebacker in the draft, LSU's Devin White.

Indianapolis Colts

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    Round 1 Pick: No. 26

    The Indianapolis Colts have to be considered a favorite to jump up in the 2019 draft after they traded back from last year's No. 3 overall selection.

    Why is general manager Chris Ballard almost a lock to move up?

    The Colts, owners of the most salary-cap space of any team in the NFL, have been too quiet through the free-agency period. They also have three picks among the first 59 selections, which puts them in good shape to elevate from No. 26 overall and go after a top edge-rusher like Brian Burns (FSU) or safety Taylor Rapp from Washington.

    They'd still have their original Day 2 selections to keep adding depth to a roster Ballard and Co. quickly made into a contender.

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Round 1 Pick: No. 29

    The Kansas City Chiefs are slotted near the end of the draft's first night, but general manager Brett Veach is one of the league's most aggressive movers. Primed with pick Nos. 61 and 63 in the second round, plus an extra second-rounder in 2020, they're in great shape to move up for a premier pass-rusher.

    How large a jump would be necessary to land someone like Brian Burns? 

    When the team moved up to get Patrick Mahomes II in 2017, it sent a third-round pick and future first-rounder to elevate from No. 27 to No. 10. Could Veach package No. 29, No. 93 and next year's first to get into a similar spot for a top-tier pass-rusher?

    With four picks in the top 100 and the extra 2020 second-rounder, Kansas City has the ammo to do so.

New England Patriots

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    Round 1 Pick: No. 32

    The New England Patriots own 12 selections in the 2019 NFL draft, and six fall in the top 101. That's a lot of draft capital for a team coming off a Super Bowl victory. They're projected to get even richer when they receive two third-round compensatory picks in the 2020 draft after losing free agents Trent Brown and Trey Flowers to big-money deals.

    Could the Patriots move up?

    Absolutely, even if that's not a typical Bill Belichick move. This could be the year to make a bid for a marquee player as they look for a top-tier pass-rusher and youth on the defensive line.

    In a draft loaded with front-seven defenders who fill the Patriots' needs, will Belichick hold tight and try to add a group of starters? Or will he sell out for one or two top players like Montez Sweat from Mississippi State or cornerback Greedy Williams from LSU? 

New York Giants

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    Round 1 Picks: Nos. 6, 17 

    The New York Giants find themselves with a dilemma. The fan base is begging for a quarterback of the future, but the front office is putting out signals that it plans to roll with Eli Manning in 2019 and build around him with two first-round picks. 

    If ownership or management decides to draft a quarterback of the future—basically, if they love Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins or Missouri's Drew Lock—the Giants must move up in the order to guarantee one will be available.

    The No. 6 and 17 picks—plus either No. 37 or No. 95 overall—could be enough to acquire the draft's third selection. The New York Jets hold that pick, but they'd be wise to trade down and acquire more assets. 

Oakland Raiders

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    Round 1 Picks: Nos. 4, 24, 27

    The Oakland Raiders might not need to move up from No. 4 overall, especially if Kyler Murray goes to the Arizona Cardinals with the first pick and pushes a pass-rusher down the board. But general manager Mike Mayock could look to add a premium player by moving up from No. 24 or No. 27.

    The Raiders not only have three picks in the first round, but they also own No. 35 overall near the start of Round 2. Plus, they have extra first- and third-round selections from the Chicago Bears in 2020. 

    That's the kind of capital a team needs to move up in the draft without mortgaging its future. Oakland is in great shape following activity on the trade market and during free agency, which means Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden could afford to package picks and move up for blue-chip prospects. 

    Coming up from No. 24 or No. 27 for one of the great tight ends in the class (Noah Fant, T.J. Hockenson) to round out the offense or to land one of the top linebackers (Devin White, Devin Bush) are the types of moves the Raiders could consider making.

Washington Redskins

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    Round 1 Pick: No. 15

    The need for a quarterback might entice the Washington Redskins to move up in Round 1, even if they sit without extra selections in the first two rounds. 

    Washington goes have additional picks in Rounds 3, 5 and 7 for a total of nine choices in this year's draft. The extra third-rounder is key here. That pick and a future first-rounder could be enough to move up for Drew Lock or Dwayne Haskins.

    Doug Williams, Washington's senior vice president of player personnel, should make his first call to the New York Jets. General manager Mike Maccagnan might be willing to vacate his spot at No. 3 overall for a team coming up to get a quarterback.


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