NFL Players Most Likely to Get Moved on Draft Night
One of the best things about the NFL draft is all the player movement. Outside of college players entering the league, there are typically several veterans who are moved via trade during this weekend. Who may be traded, however, is always a mystery.
Today, we are looking at a handful of players who could be on the move on draft night. They could be in the middle of a contract dispute, might have failed to make a positive impression with their team or could be pushed out of a job by an incoming rookie.
QB Josh Rosen, Arizona Cardinals
One player who has seemingly been on the trade block this entire offseason is quarterback Josh Rosen of the Arizona Cardinals. From the moment it was rumored that Kliff Kingsbury was in line to be the Cardinals' head coach, Oklahoma's Kyler Murray has been discussed as the likely No. 1 pick.
That would leave 2018 No. 10 pick Rosen on the outside looking in. If the Cardinals select Murray, it will start the clock for the team to move on from Rosen.
One reason Rosen is likely to be moved during the draft is his contract. If Arizona trades him, it will have paid Rosen in one year 64.5 percent of the total value on his contract, including a signing bonus of $10.9 million, according to Joel Corry of CBSSports.com. That means another team could acquire Rosen after a year of experience at a fraction of the draft capital and salary-cap space it cost the Cardinals.
Considering there are still a number of teams that could use the services of Rosen, expect him to be dealt during the first or second night of the draft.
DL Solomon Thomas, San Francisco 49ers
If the San Francisco 49ers are lucky enough to be able to select Ohio State's Nick Bosa with the No. 2 pick, that could prove to be bad news for the 2017 No. 3 pick, defensive lineman in Solomon Thomas.
Thomas was picked behind Myles Garrett and Mitchell Trubisky and is a fantastic athlete at 280 pounds, but he has struggled to find a role. In 2018, he recorded just three tackles for a loss and one sack in 16 games, including 13 starts. With the addition of Dee Ford and possibly another top selection in Bosa, Thomas may be on the outside looking in for playing time.
Could Thomas be a trade target during the draft? ESPN's Adam Schefter mentioned on NFL Live (via ESPN's Laurie Horesh) that the 49ers could move Thomas if they select Bosa. Teams looking for an inside-outside rusher who is still on a rookie contract may be willing to give up a mid-draft pick for Thomas.
TE Jimmy Graham, Green Bay Packers
It's not uncommon for a team to draft a successor for a player and then trade that incumbent starter. Squads are not only looking to clear cap space and add picks for veterans during the draft, but they are also looking to find playing time for their rookies.
One such situation that could play out this year is with Jimmy Graham of the Green Bay Packers. Though the Packers gave Graham his roster bonus for the 2019 season, it wouldn't be a shock if they moved on from him after acquiring his replacement.
The Packers hold the Nos. 12 and No. 30 picks in the first round, and they could select a tight end. Iowa's T.J. Hockenson would be a logical pick at No. 12 if he lasts that long, as he'd fit perfectly in Matt LaFleur's offense. He can help in both the running and passing game—unlike Graham, who has never been known for his blocking and is declining as a receiver.
There are some salary-cap implications that could make a trade difficult, but don't be surprised if Graham is at least mentioned during trade talks at the draft.
LB Darron Lee, New York Jets
Earlier this month, New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee was mentioned in trade talks after the team signed veteran C.J. Mosley, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Lee is a 2016 first-round pick by the Jets, and while he has started 36 games, he hasn't quite lived up to expectations.
Lee is an incredibly athletic linebacker with the speed to run from sideline to sideline. He has improved significantly in coverage over the last few seasons but has continued to struggle against the run. With Mosley and Avery Williamson on the roster, there just might not be a spot for Lee in the starting lineup.
The draft has just two first-round "locks" at linebacker in Devin White and Devin Bush, so teams could opt to trade for Lee rather than select a mid-draft player. Considering the linebacker need for teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants, Lee could be moved during the second or third day of the draft.
RB LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills have been aggressive in adding talent and depth to the running back position this offseason. During the first week of free agency, the team signed veteran Frank Gore to a one-year, $2 million deal. On Monday, the Bills signed former Jacksonville Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon to a two-year deal. Those two moves could be a sign the team is interested in moving on from veteran LeSean McCoy.
While McCoy is only 30 years old, his production has dropped off in a big way over the last two years. In 2016, McCoy ran for 1,267 yards and 13 touchdowns while averaging 5.4 yards per rush. But in 2018, he tallied just 514 yards and 3.2 yards per carry in 13 starts.
Is Buffalo adding more depth in case McCoy continues to be inefficient, or is it bracing for a trade? McCoy has just one year left on his deal and no more guaranteed money, according to Over the Cap. With the lack of running back talent in this class, another team could be interested in acquiring the six-time Pro Bowler.