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NFL Rumors: Value of 2022 Draft Picks 'Like Gold'; May See Record Low in Trades

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2021

FILE - Commissioner Roger Goodell gestures during the NFL Honors ceremony as part of Super Bowl 55 in Tampa, Fla., in this Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, file photo. The NFL is increasing the regular season to 17 games, as expected, and reducing the preseason to three games. Team owners on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, approved the 17th game, marking the first time in 43 years the regular season has been increased.(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

NFL teams are reportedly expecting few 2022 draft picks traded this weekend as teams treat them "like gold" because of the talent in the class and a more standard season allowing for better evaluations of prospects.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the value of 2022 picks is "sky high" among teams coming into this week's NFL draft.

Teams regularly use future picks in order to move up in the current draft. The San Francisco 49ers already traded their 2022 first- and third-round picks (and a 2023 first-round pick) to move up from No. 12 to No. 3 in Thursday's first round. The Miami Dolphins subsequently flipped their 2022 first-round pick to move up six slots from No. 12 to No. 6. 

In fact, there are four 2022 first-round picks that have already changed hands: the 49ers' pick is owned by Miami; the Dolphins' pick to Philadelphia; the Rams' selection to Detroit; and the Seahawks' selection to the Jets. The Colts' first-round pick could go to the Eagles if Carson Wentz reaches certain playing-time thresholds. 

There are six teams that own the first-round pick of another team in the 2021 draft. 

Given the fact we're already ahead of schedule in terms of high picks being swapped, Rapoport's report likely refers to mid-round selections. The 2021 draft class is not seen as being particularly deep. Most view it as one of the more top-heavy classes in recent memory, with the talent pool dropping off significantly after the first 20 or so picks. It's possible that only one or two defensive players are taken in the top 10 of this year's draft as well.

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Next season's class, by contrast, is deeper and could have first-round talent available in Day 2 of the draft. 

As it stands, though, the lack of movement this weekend may simply be because any team willing to trade a high pick in 2022 has already done so. 

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