2019 NFL Draft: Potential Trade Scenarios That Could Shake the Top 10
Teams at or near the top of the 2019 NFL draft are ready to make some deals.
"We're very open to potentially moving back from three," New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan said at the NFL's annual meeting, per the New York Post's Brian Costello. "If we end up staying at three and taking a player, we think there are some very good players at three. But we'd definitely be interested if another team came with an offer that we felt was worthy of moving out of the spot."
The Jets aren't the only team listening to offers, and quarterbacks, as always, serve as the driving force behind any potential movement.
Last year, New York acquired the third overall pick and selected Sam Darnold. The Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs maneuvered their way to Mitchell Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes, respectively, in 2017. Three years ago, both of the top two picks—Jared Goff and Carson Wentz—were obtained via trade.
Quarterback-needy teams will also define this year's draft, starting with the Arizona Cardinals, who could go in a different direction or move out of the first overall slot.
Arizona Cardinals Trade No. 1 Overall Pick to Oakland Raiders
Once Oklahoma's Kyler Murray chose football over baseball, his status took an unexpected turn. He's become the favorite to hear his name called at No. 1 overall in April's draft.
Right now, the Arizona Cardinals hold the selection. He's an ideal system fit, and head coach Kliff Kingsbury isn't secretive about his fondness for the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.
"I mean, I guess it's more what don't you like?" Kingsbury said, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. "When you watch him play, I mean he can run it, he can throw it, he's a competitor. ... He's one of the better dual-threat players to ever play."
The Cardinals could easily select Murray and surprise no one. But the team already features last year's 10th overall pick (Josh Rosen) and may have created the perfect smokescreen to trade out of the first selection for a king's ransom.
The Oakland Raiders and their overabundance of draft capital make for the most realistic trade partner, and the Cardinals would only need to move down three slots in that scenario, allowing them to stay within range of elite prospects.
According to NBC Sports' Peter King, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden "loves" Murray. Oakland also has private workouts set up with the Oklahoma passer and Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins next week, per The MMQB's Albert Breer.
"Derek is 27, he'll be 28 in March, and we think he's a franchise quarterback," general manager Mike Mayock told Breer. "The other piece of that is a GM and a coach have to look to upgrade the roster at every single position. So do I think there are a whole lot of quarterbacks out there better than Derek? No. But is it my job to always check, and look? Yeah."
If the Raiders decide Murray is a better option the Carr—much like the Cardinals must decide between the incoming quarterback and Rosen—only one approach makes sense. They should go get the player who best fits the organization's long-term plans.
New York Jets Trade No. 3 Overall Pick to New York Giants
The San Francisco 49ers are open to trading out of the second overall pick, but Ohio State edge-rusher Nick Bosa is a "slam dunk" if Kyler Murray comes off the board at No. 1, according to TheMMQB's Albert Breer.
The New York Jets would then become a wildcard with the third overall pick.
As previously covered, they're "very open" to trading down, and the slot would become a hotbed of trade activity for whichever team wants Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Either the New York Giants would aggressively attempt to land their preferred quarterback prospect, or another team would try to leap ahead and obtain his services.
After trading Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns, the Giants are positioned to pursue multiple options with the Nos. 6 and 17 selections.
"The names I keep hearing for the Giants ... quarterback Daniel Jones and quarterback Will Grier," ESPN's Adam Schefter said on NFL Live (via Redskins Capital Connection's Robert Henson).
However, as Bleacher Report's Matt Miller reported, "No team did more work on Dwayne Haskins than the New York Giants. They were all-in on him all year long."
The Giants brass was front and center during Haskins' pro day workout. The team had dinner with the 21-year-old quarterback the previous night, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. Furthermore, head coach Pat Shurmur came away impressed with the prolific pocket passer.
"We obviously have spent a lot of time evaluating him, and [pro day] is one piece of it," he told the New York Post's Paul Schwartz. "We got the chance to work with him on the board and take him to dinner, and he certainly is an accomplished and impressive young man."
Haskins is also scheduled to visit the Giants, per Schefter. New York's interest is obvious, and the team shouldn't risk losing its future franchise quarterback.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Trade No. 5 Overall Pick to Miami Dolphins
If the New York Giants aren't aggressive in their pursuit of Dwayne Haskins, the door would open for other teams to jump into the fray by targeting the fifth overall pick—one selection before the Giants' current first choice at No. 6.
The Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins are three quarterback-needy teams in the top half of the first round. The Dolphins, in particular, are staring at a miserable season with the league's worst quarterback situation.
But the organization seems open to a trade.
"We talked about building the foundation and building it up the right way," general manager Chris Grier told reporters. "So that's all it is. There's no tanking."
A foundation can't exist without addressing the game's most important position. The recently signed Ryan Fitzpatrick is a placeholder and nothing more. An opportunity to move up for an elite prospect has to be under consideration.
"You always need a partner, to do a move like that," Grier said. "So we're not going to do anything just to do it and say let's do it. And then we come out and it looks bad on a move. All options are on the table."
Logically, the Dolphins should trade down and acquire more assets to build a crumbling roster.
The team, however, scheduled a workout with Haskins, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. Maybe the organization is doing its due diligence in case the Ohio State standout slides. Maybe it's considering a trade up for arguably the best quarterback in the draft class.
By making a move now, Miami would achieve the first step toward a successful rebuild and avoid a full-on tank job. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, meanwhile, can trade down, acquire draft assets and still take advantage of a loaded defensive class.
Detroit Lions Trade No. 8 Overall Pick to Washington Redskins
When Oklahoma's Kyler Murray and Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins come off the board near the top of the draft, the race to acquire Missouri's Drew Lock will begin.
Lock may not be viewed in the same light as the top two prospects. He's not far behind, either. The idea that a quarterback with franchise potential would slide on draft day flies in the face of the position's value.
If the Washington Redskins are seeking a long-term solution, they can't stand pat at No. 15. Alex Smith's devastating leg injury clouds the veteran quarterback's future. The team acquired Case Keenum in a trade with the Denver Broncos, but he's only signed through the 2019 campaign. Obviously, Colt McCoy isn't the answer.
Washington head coach Jay Gruden acknowledged that drafting a quarterback is possible, per Pro Football Talk's Josh Alper:
"We still may address it in the draft, who knows? But we have to have two quarterbacks in OTAs and for someone to come in here and compete with Colt. ... And if we add a third guy via the draft or somewhere else, we’ll roll the ball out there and let them play, but I feel good about Colt and Case's skill set; they are very similar so it'll be easy to draw up plays for those two guys."
Lock, who set the SEC's single-season record with 44 touchdown passes in 2017, isn't like Colt and Case. That's a good thing. He has arm talent to spare with enough athleticism to extend plays.
According to Yahoo Sports' Terez A. Paylor, Lock and Washington will have met by the time the draft begins. But a move into the top 10 would be necessary to guarantee his availability; the Broncos own the No. 10 pick, and general manager John Elway is "smitten" with the 22-year-old signal-caller, according to the Denver Post's Mike Kiszla.
A trade-down allows the Detroit Lions organization to be better positioned for a tight end or wide receiver while adding extra picks.
Denver Broncos Trade No. 10 Overall Pick to Green Bay Packers
The quarterback carousel will stop once the top three prospects at the position are taken. If that occurs before the Denver Broncos are up, the franchise should look to trade the No. 10 overall pick since Missouri's Drew Lock—no longer available in this hypothetical—appears to be the object of its affection.
The best possible scenario involves moving down just a couple slots so the Green Bay Packers can ensure Michigan linebacker Devin Bush's availability.
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst personally attended Michigan's pro day, per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. Granted, this year's class features multiple talented Wolverines who could interest NFL teams. But Bush is the prospect coming out of Ann Arbor who makes the most sense in Green Bay.
The Packers are positioned to address the second line of defense after they added to the secondary last offseason and signed edge-rushers Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith during 2019 free agency. Bush would complete the unit.
After LSU's Devin White is inevitably drafted well before the first 10 picks are complete, Bush will become even more coveted. He's an outstanding athlete who's comfortable working in space. According to Pro Football Focus, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year graded as the best coverage linebacker in the conference.
But the Cincinnati Bengals are a potential stumbling block at No. 11.
Though they re-signed Preston Brown this offseason, the entire unit needs more athleticism. If available, Bush could immediately move into a starting role on the weak side and serve as the primary sub-package linebacker.
Thus, a slight trade up from No. 12 would benefit the Packers, who could then leapfrog the Bengals and place Bush behind an impressive front that already features Kenny Clark, Mike Daniels and the two Smiths.