NFL Teams That Should Try to Move Down in 2022 Draft's First RoundApril 12, 2022
NFL Teams That Should Try to Move Down in 2022 Draft's First Round
As fans with no control of the outcome, waiting for the NFL draft can be challenging. After months of poring over scouting reports, tracking the latest rumors and building expectations, the long-awaited Thursday night finally arrives.
Your favorite team is on the clock, and you're convinced a future star is about to join the roster.
But then, a trade. Instead of seeing a top-ranked player hold up that uniform, you're forced to wait. The beloved team has moved back in the draft—sometimes entirely out of the first round—leaving you to keep dreaming about an unknown player.
This happens every year. And as the 2022 draft nears, we've identified five franchises that need to seriously consider trading down—despite the disappointment we'll experience as fans.
Perhaps this is overly harsh, but it feels like the Seattle Seahawks are lacking a defined long-term direction.
Without a doubt, that's largely a reflection of trading star quarterback Russell Wilson. However, it's not simply one blockbuster trade. While the Seahawks have postured like a rebuild isn't happening, their free-agency management didn't match that stance.
Seattle currently holds the No. 9 overall slot, and a rookie QB remains in play because Drew Lock isn't a proven option. If the right QB is still on the board, the Seahawks should keep the pick.
Otherwise, though, they have plenty of reason to trade back, rely on a pair of second-rounders and attack the 2023 draft as a more detailed plan emerges from what happens in the 2022 season.
Short of a massive offer, the Houston Texans' best option is keep the third overall selection and grab an elite prospect.
The prime trade-down opportunity is at No. 13.
Acquired in the Deshaun Watson trade with the Cleveland Browns, this selection has immense long-term value to the Texans, too. Because the roster isn't in a position to contend in 2022, though, Houston should be very open to picking up extra additional picks.
That might be, for instance, landing Nos. 29 and 30 from the Kansas City Chiefs in this draft. Or it could be sliding back in the opening round while adding another Day 2 position from, say, the Philadelphia Eagles or Green Bay Packers. In a best-case scenario, maybe contenders like the Tampa Bay Buccaneer sees a narrowing championship window and offer a package with a 2023 pick, too.
Houston has a ton of possibilities that may arise, and bolstering its draft capital would very likely be a good outcome.
New England Patriots
What's new, right?
Since 2013, the New England Patriots have traded their own first-round selection three times. This is a typical move for Bill Belichick and the front office.
Most importantly, however, it's also been a successful one. New England added Jamie Collins and Logan Ryan after moving down in 2013, used the 2017 pick to acquire Brandin Cooks and parlayed the 2020 selection into Kyle Dugger and Josh Uche.
You'd think the NFL would learn to stop trading with the Pats. But until it happens, don't fix an unbroken strategy.
Based on the Tennessee Titans' draft board, trading up for a quarterback is realistic. Ryan Tannehill has two years left on his contract, but the Titans hold a semi-reasonable out before the 2023 season that could secure as much as $27 million in cap savings, per Spotrac.
As a result, 2022 is a tricky draft for Tennessee.
Tannehill's uncertain future may create a win-now feeling or persuade the Titans to bolster future assets. Either way, however, not owning a second-round pick—they previously traded it for Julio Jones—strengthens the case for Tennessee moving down.
In a win-now mode, the Titans can dangle the No. 26 slot for a package that includes an extra Day 2 choice and potential immediate-impact player. Conversely, Tennessee can trade back to bring in a late Day 1/early Day 2 prospect and an extra 2023 pick to have as ammunition for the next cycle.
The final pick of the opening round is important because the rookie contract has a fifth-year option. Prospects taken in the second round or later are not eligible for the additional year.
On that alone, the rebuilding Detroit Lions have plenty of reason to keep the No. 32 pick.
Similar to Houston, though, the lack of expectation to compete in 2023 allows for some patience. While it's unlikely the Lions receive an offer with a future first-rounder, they certainly may land a pair of Day 2 selections in exchange for the valuable slot.
Besides, they're back on the clock at No. 34 anyway. Adding a sixth top-100 position should be compelling to the Lions.