A 2022 Draft-Day Trade That Makes Sense for Every NFL TeamApril 26, 2022
A 2022 Draft-Day Trade That Makes Sense for Every NFL Team
Around this time of year, NFL mock drafts can start to get a little stale. To inject some renewed intrigue, you see more potential trade scenarios pop up.
While a lot harder to accurately predict than a draft selection, exploring trade ideas can help us see which positions that teams should address and what value their picks may have.
Thus, what follows is a potential trade that would make sense for each franchise this week, taking into account factors like team needs, overall draft capital and rumors linking them to specific players.
These moves aren't necessarily all related or intended to happen in the same draft. While some teams are identified as mutual trade partners, others have multiple options for trades. And some players are the object of multiple teams' machinations.
Instead of reading this as a map to exactly what will happen on draft day, think of it more as one possibility for each team among many.
There are eight teams currently without a first-round pick in 2022: the Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers.
While some of those clubs do have the capital to move back into Round 1, for some teams, like the Super Bowl champion Rams—which don't select until the third round and have only one Day 2 pick—it was too far outside the realm of reality to predict anything but a trade down to amass more picks.
Arizona Cardinals: Trade Up for WR, CB or Pass-Rusher
The Arizona Cardinals seem to have a potential trade partner or two in mind for Thursday if they move up from the No. 23 selection.
In general manager Steve Keim's predraft press conference, he said "there could be an option really to go up four or five spots and potentially get a guy that we think is a dynamic playmaker or a difference-maker," via Jess Root of Cards Wire. The three positions the team is focused on are receiver, cornerback and pass-rusher.
Some of the players at those positions who had top-30 visits with Arizona (per Walter Football) and might be off the board before No. 23 are Alabama wideout Jameson Williams, Arkansas pass-catcher Treylon Burks and Florida State defensive end Jermaine Johnson II.
Burks met with the organization at the combine, too, making him someone the Cardinals could move up for if there's a run on receivers in the middle of Round 1.
Keim also said in his press conference that there is "zero chance" of a trade including quarterback Kyler Murray (via NFL Network's Ian Rapoport).
Arizona has eight selections in this draft, five of which come in Round 6 or later. Sure, the Cards could package Nos. 23 or 55 overall to get a couple more selections before Day 3, but if the team is committed to Murray, it should be trying to keep the window to contend open. A special player could go a long way toward doing that.
Atlanta Falcons: Trade for A.J. Brown
The Atlanta Falcons currently hold nine selections in this draft, including four in the top 75, and have plenty of needs.
Atlanta reportedly plans to be "very aggressive" drafting wideouts this week, as NFL Network's James Palmer reported, but bringing in a veteran via trade would provide an instant boost for a team that went 7-10 last season.
Atlanta could hope it can land Treylon Burks, the Arkansas wideout who welcomes comparisons to A.J. Brown, a player Falcons head coach Arthur Smith and new Falcons QB Marcus Mariota know well from their days in Tennessee.
But given the steep learning curve for rookie wideouts, the Falcons could also attempt to package some of their draft capital into an actual bid for Brown.
Titans general manager Jon Robinson has tried to shut down trade rumors around Brown, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, saying he does not "foresee that happening," per Jim Wyatt of the team's website. But Brown is looking for a new deal and plans to sit out on-field work during Tennessee's offseason program, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Falcons multimedia features reporter Kris Rhim could see a deal wherein Atlanta sends picks No. 43 and 190 and a 2023 fourth-round pick to Tennessee for Brown. Given Atlanta's current cap situation, it would likely have to restructure some deals to give Brown the lucrative second contract he's looking for.
Baltimore Ravens: Trade Up for Edge Kayvon Thibodeaux
The Baltimore Ravens thought they had addressed their pass rush when they agreed to terms with outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith in free agency. But then Smith backed out of the reported four-year, $35 million contract to sign a more lucrative one with the Minnesota Vikings.
Meanwhile, Justin Houston remains a free agent, 2021 first-round pick Odafe Oweh is coming off offseason shoulder surgery, and Tyus Bowser tore his Achilles in the final game of the regular season.
Suddenly, Baltimore has a glaring need up front, and looking at the list of players it has met with this offseason, perhaps the Ravens are considering a trade up to acquire a pass-rusher.
Baltimore has demonstrated interest in Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, having attended his pro day, per Walter Football. Once considered a near-lock to be off the board by pick No. 3, Thibodeaux has proved to be polarizing. One defensive coach told The Athletic's Bruce Feldman the former Duck was "a handful" when his team brought him in for a visit.
While it's hard to predict slides ahead of the draft, let's assume Thibodeaux does indeed drop a few spots, prompting the Ravens to spring into action. With selections at No. 5 and 7 overall, the Giants seem like a prime trade partner with their second top-10 pick.
According to the trade value calculator, the Ravens would need to give up something like Nos. 14, 45 and 197 to make the trade worth the Giants' time.
Buffalo Bills: Trade Up with Giants to Select Top CB
The New York Giants seem to be renting the No. 7 overall pick. With their first selection coming at No. 5, the potential return New York could get for moving back, even slightly, is hard to deny.
Though there are a few teams that could have the Giants on speed dial Thursday night, one that makes almost too much sense are the Buffalo Bills. That's because, of course, Giants general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll recently called Buffalo home, and the inroads between the franchises are well established.
Buffalo has been rumored to be considering a trade up on Thursday and "may move a veteran or two in the process," as SiriusXM NFL Radio's Zig Fracassi reported.
That makes sense when you consider Buffalo's draft stockpile. The Bills own eight selections overall, but their first isn't until No. 25.
And though the team addressed many of its roster holes in free agency, it still has a gaping one at cornerback, with Levi Wallace signing with the Steelers and Tre'Davious White recovering from an ACL injury. In fact, DraftKings sets the odds of the Bills drafting a defensive back with their first pick as the highest of any position.
White's selection at No. 27 overall in 2017 marks the last time the Bills selected a cornerback in Rounds 1–3. If Buffalo wants an impact player like Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner or Derek Stingley Jr., it may have to move up a few spots to ensure they're available.
As for what the Giants could receive in this hypothetical trade—and whether a veteran could be on the table—keep reading.
Carolina Panthers: Trade for QB Jimmy Garoppolo
With the No. 6 overall selection, the Carolina Panthers could address myriad needs, including the glaring one at quarterback.
However, the signal-caller class is weak, so Carolina would have to "swallow hard" to stand pat and select one, The MMQB's Albert Breer wrote. B/R's Scouting Department only gives one player, Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder (Scouting Report), a Year 1-starter designation.
Therefore, Carolina could draft an offensive lineman with its first-round pick or trade down from No. 6 to amass more capital and use some of those shiny new picks to swing a trade with San Francisco for Jimmy Garoppolo.
Depending on which teams were interested in being dance partners—and how far they had to move—Carolina could command a later first-round pick and up to two second-rounders or second- and third-round picks for No. 6. Per NFL Network's Mike Giardi, the Panthers have "talked to numerous teams" about a trade back. And ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reports the Panthers have "done their homework on Garoppolo."
Breer wrote that he also "wouldn't rule out the idea that they'd take a tackle, and maybe swing a trade for Garoppolo after the draft since the need for a tackle here is pretty significant."
But if the Panthers stand pat at No. 6 and draft a tackle, it's hard to see where they'd come up with the capital to acquire Garoppolo. The belief is that Garoppolo won't command higher than a third-round pick, but after No. 6, Carolina doesn't possess another selection until No. 137 in Round 4.
Chicago Bears: Trade Back to Amass Draft Capital
In the interest of making this thought experiment as fun as possible, we've tried to identify exciting but realistic trade prospects for teams to move up in the draft or add a veteran using picks as capital.
The Chicago Bears, however, are hungry for picks, with only six overall and none in Round 1. Chicago, armed with two second-rounders, could make an aggressive move to get into the tail end of Round 1, but new general manager Ryan Poles has already indicated he'd like to multiply his picks to take advantage of a draft that he describes as deep in the middle rounds.
"It puts us in range of really good players," Poles said of acquiring No. 48 overall by sending Khalil Mack to the Chargers via The Athletic's Adam Jahns. "And at the same time, that also allows [us] to maneuver a little bit. Because we don't have a ton of picks, so if there is a way to create more, we'll be open to that."
Chicago can turn that No. 48 pick into a later second-rounder and a third-rounder to address its many needs, including wide receiver, offensive lineman and defensive back, positions that have the highest odds of being the first the Bears select, via DraftKings.
But even though this move keeps the Bears out of the action on Day 1, let's end on a high note with an exciting development potentially awaiting them Friday: wideout George Pickens, No. 39 overall on B/R's big board, falls to them at that exact spot.
Cincinnati Bengals: Trade Up for CB Andrew Booth Jr.
This one is a bit of a stretch, but it's fun to predict a few wild moves still within the (perhaps distant) realm of possibility.
Historically, the Cincinnati Bengals hardly ever trade up in Round 1 of the NFL draft. In fact, the last time they did it was in 1995, moving up to the No. 1 overall pick to select Penn State running back Ki-Jana Carter.
But this might be a difficult year for the Bengals to move down from No. 31 overall and a great year to take advantage of other teams' interest in moving back. Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, "so far, the interest in moving back in Thursday's draft has greatly exceeded the interest in moving up."
With a star in quarterback Joe Burrow, the team must ensure it can keep its championship window open throughout his rookie contract. However, it may not ever have a better chance to get the job done.
DraftKings odds have the Bengals looking to take an offensive lineman, defensive back or edge-rusher with their first selection. Trading Nos. 31 and 63 could get them as high as No. 18 or 19, per the draft value calculator, where they'd have a chance at grabbing Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (Scouting Report), whom they hosted on a top-30 visit, and pairing him with Chidobe Awuzie.
As Cincy Jungle's Drew S Garrison points out, "Booth is familiar running press and zone concepts, something Lou Anarumo likes to incorporate heavily into the Bengals' coverage scheme." Booth is No. 25 on B/R's latest big board.
Cleveland Browns: Trade Up into Round 1 for WR Treylon Burks
In his predraft news conference, Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry admitted it's "unlikely" the franchise, which gave up its first-round pick in 2022 in the Deshaun Watson trade, will trade back into Round 1. However, he also said he "would never rule out anything," via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal.
So while NFL teams have contingencies planned for their contingencies, no one can truly predict how the board will fall once the clock starts ticking. And for the Browns, which own seven picks in this year's draft but only one in the first two rounds and are seemingly are all-in after acquiring Watson and wideout Amari Cooper, firepower may be worth more than volume.
Cleveland's wide receiver situation is in flux, with Jarvis Landry reportedly deciding between the Browns and the New Orleans Saints, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. But Watson will need weapons, and in Treylon Burks (Scouting Report), the Browns could have a chance to nab a player who ranks at No. 3 at the position on B/R's big board but who could slide on draft day thanks to his 4.55-second 40-yard dash at the combine.
The Browns' interest in Burks is documented—they hosted him for a top-30 visit in early April. But as The MMQB's Albert Breer points out, even if Burks falls, it's not likely he'll be there at No. 44 for the Browns.
Despite his poor 40 time, the Arkansas product lined up all over the formation for the Razorbacks and is a "valid weapon on handoffs and at all three levels of routes," per B/R NFL Scout Nate Tice. He's a good fit for what the Browns need in their offense.
Dallas Cowboys: Trade Up for Edge-Rusher
If Oregon pass-rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux really does slide past the first couple of selections in Thursday's Round 1, it may be a matter of which team gets to the phone first. According to The MMQB's Albert Breer, the Dallas Cowboys' "radar [is] up" for a potential Thibodeaux slide.
Re-signing pass-rusher Randy Gregory was a "huge priority" for Dallas this offseason, and when he departed in free agency, he left a major hole in its front seven.
Unlike Baltimore, however, which could maneuver from No. 14 to within the top 10 to stop a potential Thibodeaux slide without mortgaging the future, the Cowboys would need to invest a heck of a lot of capital to get there.
If Dallas, whose first pick isn't until No. 24, needed to move to No. 7, it would likely require giving up Nos. 24, 56 and 129 this year and a 2023 second- or third-rounder, per the trade value calculator.
If Dallas wanted to move up only a few spots to draft a pass-rusher, it's possible Houston's Logan Hall (Scouting Report) is on the short list. The Cowboys hosted the in-state prospect in a top-30 visit, per Walter Football.
Denver Broncos: Trade Lloyd Cushenberry III for Picks
The Denver Broncos don't hold a first-round pick in this year's draft after sending their No. 9 selection and next year's first-rounder to the Seahawks for Russell Wilson. It also sent the No. 40 pick to Seattle, leaving the Broncos with the No. 64 selection via the Los Angeles Rams as its first opportunity to participate in the 2022 draft.
For his part, general manager George Paton isn't too upset about the results of the trade. "That first day [of the draft], we'll watch Russell Wilson highlights," he's said, via ESPN's Jeff Legwold. Paton also said the team would "definitely like to add picks next year," as it has just four in 2023.
Therefore, Denver could part with center/guard Lloyd Cushenberry III—a frequent subject of Broncos trade rumors—to add to next year's depleted resources. Denver has his replacement in second-year player Quinn Meinerz.
The Jaguars and the Bengals, both of whom need help on the interior of their offensive lines, may be potential trade partners.
As we established earlier, DraftKings assigned offensive line as the position with the highest odds of the Bengals selecting first. In this scenario, the Bengals add a center for a far lower price and are free to use their first-round pick in other ways, while the Broncos begin to make good on Paton's desire to add 2023 selections.
Detroit Lions: Trade Pick No. 32 to QB-Needy Team and Increase Capital
As we'll explore when we get to the Seattle Seahawks, the Detroit Lions' pick at No. 32 overall is prime real estate for a team like Seattle that could be looking to jump back into the end of Round 1 to grab a signal-caller who will have a fifth-year option attached.
As a fan of a team that picks at the end of Round 1, it can be deflating to wait all night for your team to make its selection...only for it to trade out of the first round and push the action to Day 2. But with the No. 2 pick and any number of promising future franchise stars to choose from with it, Lions fans can still get that jolt of excitement Thursday with even more to look forward to Friday.
Lions fans should look at the opportunity to grab another pick on Day 2 of the draft as a promising investment in the team's future. Tim Twentyman of the team's website ranks pass-rusher, safety, linebacker, wide receiver and quarterback as the biggest needs.
Luckily for the Lions, edge and safety are the two deepest position groups in this class, per NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein.
After using their No. 2 overall selection on an edge-rusher or QB who could be a Week 1 starter, the Lions could afford to slightly delay their second selection in order to get another pick that could turn into a contributor.
Green Bay Packers: Trade Up to Get Their Guy at WR
With a Davante Adams–sized hole in the roster following this offseason's blockbuster trade with the Raiders, it's no secret the Green Bay Packers are in need of a wide receiver. And with five picks in the top 100, Green Bay has every chance to add an instant impact player to its roster.
While we don't know Green Bay's big board, we know from its draft history the team typically prefers big-bodied wideouts, which dovetails with the need to replace Adams (6'1", 215 lbs) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (6'4", 206 lbs).
Many of the wideouts in this class are small, and a handful will be gone by the Packers' first pick at No. 22. Of the top 10 wideouts on B/R's big board, Jameson Williams (Scouting Report), Jahan Dotson (Scouting Report), Chris Olave (Scouting Report), Garrett Wilson (Scouting Report) and Khalil Shakir (Scouting Report) likely don't have the size the Packers covet.
Suddenly, this deep class looks a little more shallow, considering Green Bay is expected to open Day 2 with a new wideout in hand. Whichever of Drake London (Scouting Report), Treylon Burks (Scouting Report), Justyn Ross (Scouting Report) or George Pickens (Scouting Report) the Packers prefer, it's possible a few of them are off the board at No. 22.
It's not enough for Green Bay to simply draft a receiver this week; signing Sammy Watkins took care of the sheer numbers problem in the room. The Packers must add a Week 1 weapon for Aaron Rodgers as the team looks to maximize its closing window.
With all the capital at its disposal in the top 100, not to mention general manager Brian Gutekunst's established appetite for trading up in Round 1 (he's done it three times in four drafts), Green Bay should maneuver to get its guy.
Houston Texans: Trade Up from No. 13 for Edge-Rusher
The Houston Texans own two selections 10 picks apart in the first round of the NFL draft, and while they certainly have some glaring needs, there's a lot of value to be had by using at least one of those picks to maneuver around the board.
General manager Nick Caserio has said that, given a limited market for teams wanting to move up to No. 3, the organization most likely will stand pat at that position and then move—up or down—from No. 13, via Texans Daily's Cole Thompson.
Take that with a grain of salt, of course—a real cunning move would be for Houston to get the Saints to panic-trade up to No. 3 to get ahead of other teams looking for a QB—but Caserio says conversations with other teams will dictate which direction his club goes with the second pick, per Thompson.
DraftKings lists edge, offensive line and defensive back, respectively, as the positions the Texans are most likely to target with their first selection.
By moving from No. 13 into the top 10, Houston could land two franchise players—perhaps offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu and then whichever of edge-rushers Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux is still available near the tail end of the top 10.
All three players have visited Houston on top-30 visits, per Walter Football. The team also had another meeting with Thibodeaux at the combine.
Indianapolis Colts: Trade Up into Late Round 1 for OT
The Indianapolis Colts do not have a selection on Day 1 of the NFL draft but own two on Day 2—Nos. 42 (second round) and 73 (third round)—after managing to convince Washington to trade for Carson Wentz.
Of course, the reason the Colts are without their first-round pick this year is because they gave up a conditional 2022 second-rounder, which became No. 16 overall, to acquire Wentz.
Indy also finds itself in somewhat of an NFL purgatory; it finished with a winning record (just barely) last season but missed the playoffs. However, Chris Ballard seems to want to go for it in the next two seasons, trading a third-round pick to the Atlanta Falcons for quarterback Matt Ryan, who has that much time left on his contract.
With All-Pro Jonathan Taylor tearing it up on the ground and Ryan airing it out, there’s one position the Colts can target to maximize both players: offensive line.
Indianapolis needs to replace tackle Eric Fisher and guard Mark Glowinski; DraftKings lists offensive line as the most likely position the team addresses with its first selection. While there will be some options on the board at No. 42, if this is a team that thinks it can win now, a bigger move is in order.
The Colts do have a 2023 first-round pick to package and could made a deal the Packers (No. 28), Chiefs (No. 30) or the Lions (No. 32), who would all be looking to make their second selection of the night.
Moving up 10 to 14 spots could mean the difference between the Colts landing an offensive tackle like Bernhard Raimann (Scouting Report) or Trevor Penning (Scouting Report), both of whom earned Year 1 starter grades from B/R scouts, and Daniel Faalele (Scouting Report), a potential impact player with a lower ceiling.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Trade Mid-Draft Pick for LT Isaiah Wynn
It's hard to see the Jacksonville Jaguars entertaining any offer to trade out of the No. 1 overall pick. They have their choice of potential franchise players in Michigan edge-rusher Aidan Hutchinson, North Carolina State offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu or Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker (who is now the odds-on favorite to be selected first overall).
The Jaguars also possess a whopping 12 picks in this year's draft, including five between Rounds 2 and 5. And rather than waiting to see which players fall to them, the Jaguars could take matters into their own hands and deal some of that capital for a veteran who could help them right away.
Theories abound as to who the Jags are considering at No. 1 overall, but defensive lineman/edge has the strongest odds, at -1000 (bet $1,000 to win $100), per DraftKings. Still, the rising buzz about the Jaguars and Ekwonu isn't necessarily a smokescreen.
The MMQB's Albert Breer reports he "heard very early on [Jaguars GM Trent] Baalke likes Ekwonu," and the Jaguars need offensive tackle depth after getting only one more guaranteed year of Cam Robinson via the franchise tag. "You can never have enough offensive linemen," new Jaguars coach Doug Pederson said, per John Reid of the Florida Times-Union.
If they add a difference-maker on defense with the No. 1 overall pick, the Jaguars could look to a trade to continue to bolster their offense and get immediate help for franchise QB Trevor Lawrence.
The Patriots have a decision to make on left tackle Isaiah Wynn, who is in the final year of his rookie deal and has appeared frequently in Patriots' trade rumors. Jacksonville could make that decision easier by offering this year's fourth-rounder, No. 106 overall, for Wynn, giving itself tackle depth and options for the future.
Kansas City Chiefs: Trade Up to Draft WR Jameson Williams
Sometimes, a player looks like the perfect fit for a team on paper, even if there's not much more to go on. Not only does Alabama wideout Jameson Williams (Scouting Report) check multiple boxes as a future Kansas City Chief, the team's interest in him is established.
As Charles Goodman of Chiefs Wire confirmed, Kansas City hosted Williams on a top-30 visit earlier this month. The medical-related visit allowed the Chiefs to see how Williams is progressing following the torn ACL he suffered in the national championship game in January.
Williams likely won't be a Week 1 contributor for the team that selects him, which means the Chiefs would need to be absolutely sure he was their guy before attempting a trade up for him. But selecting Williams is Kansas City's best shot at replacing speedster Tyreek Hill after trading him to the Miami Dolphins in March.
B/R NFL scout Nate Tice writes in his evaluation that Williams "has excellent burst and long speed that lets him take the top off defenses on deep routes." He's a perfect complement to the offense that runs through Patrick Mahomes and could prove to be a crucial puzzle piece to keeping that offense potent.
With back-to-back late-first-round selections at Nos. 29 and 30 overall, the Chiefs certainly have the capital to trade up ahead of some other WR-needy teams.
Las Vegas Raiders: Trade Into Round 2
The Las Vegas Raiders sent their first- and second-round picks to the Packers for Davante Adams—a clear signal that Las Vegas is betting on winning now. That means the Raiders won't pick until No. 86 in Round 3, and the team has just five picks to work with.
But sometimes the only way to win is to double down. And though Las Vegas signed or traded for more than 20 players this offseason, the team still has significant needs at offensive tackle, with uncertainty surrounding right tackle and both guard spots.
The Athletic's Vic Tafur and Tashan Reed argued that offensive line is the priority and that the Raiders should go after Kentucky's Darian Kinnard while noting the team may have to trade up to grab him.
Moving from Round 3 to Round 2 isn't nearly as cost-prohibitive as moving into Round 1. If the Raiders want to get into the end of the second round, it would likely require that No. 86 pick and their 2023 third-round pick, per the trade value calculator. The Packers, who have their own Round 2 selection at No. 59 (the one they received from the Raiders was No. 53), could once again be a prime trade partner.
Los Angeles Chargers: Move Into Round 2 for RT
After the Los Angeles Chargers' first selection at No. 17, they won't pick again until late on Day 2, at No. 79 in Round 3. Despite the missing second-round pick, which it sent to Chicago for Khalil Mack, Los Angeles actually has a stockpile of draft capital with 10 picks. If they can find a willing partner, the Chargers could package No. 79 and their 2023 second-round pick to move into Round 2.
The Bolts are tied for the seventh-best odds to bring home the Lombardi Trophy this year, per DraftKings, so a few savvy moves could improve those odds even more.
The Chargers addressed their defense at multiple positions this offseason: bolstering the pass rush by acquiring Mack to join Joey Bosa on the edge, addressing their 30th-ranked run defense by signing Austin Johnson and Sebastian Joseph-Day, and signing cornerback J.C. Jackson to a five-year deal.
Now, Los Angeles needs an upgrade on the right side of its offensive line. The team released Bryan Bulaga, who played just one game in 2021, in March to save $10.7 million against the cap. If Mississippi State's Charles Cross is off the board at No. 17, the Chargers may want to get in the mix for Minnesota's Daniel Faalele (scouting report), ranked No. 48 on B/R's big board. If the Bolts are going to contend this season, they'll need to protect Justin Herbert.
Los Angeles Rams: Trade Back and Amass Picks
We all know how Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead feels about picks, but his propensity to give them up in the service of building a Super Bowl champion is starting to have consequences.
The Rams have eight selections but won't be on the clock until No. 104 in Round 3. What's more, just one choice—that Round 3 selection—falls before Day 3. Five of Los Angeles' selections are in Rounds 6 or 7.
Rams fans have been free to make other plans on Thursday night of draft week. The team has not selected in Round 1 since 2016 and may not do so again until 2024.
While there's a case to be made—even if it's mostly just for fun—for almost every team to trade up on draft day, the prospect is too unlikely for the pick-strapped Rams. If anything, it's more likely they will try to amass mid-draft selections to strengthen their depth. And Los Angeles has demonstrated success doing so.
Even though a casual observer might think the Rams are following in the grand tradition of Los Angeles superteams, fans will be the first to tell you that the roster that won the Super Bowl is homegrown. As Sharp Football's Dan Pizzuta pointed out in February, since 2017, the Rams have drafted 14 players outside of the top 10 (tied with the Colts for the most in the league) who have reached a 10 career weighted approximate value.
Miami Dolphins: Package 2022, 2023 Picks to Move Into Round 1
Few teams are in as sticky a situation as the Miami Dolphins. After trading a stockpile of picks for wideout Tyreek Hill (first-, second- and fourth-round picks in 2022 and fourth- and sixth-round picks in 2023), the Dolphins don't have a pick inside the top 100 and own just four total.
Sometimes, teams possess so little capital in the draft that anything but a trade down seems ludicrous. However, Miami is in possession of two first-round picks in 2023, which gives the team some leverage to try to get into Thursday's Round 1.
Who would the Dolphins target with such a big move? Well, Miami did a lot on the offensive side of the ball this offseason, adding veteran left tackle Terron Armstead, wideout Cedrick Wilson Jr. and running backs Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert.
But the Dolphins could use some help defending. When asked about the strengths of this year's draft class, general manager Chris Grier noted "there are some high-level rushers," per the Miami Herald's Daniel Oyefusi.
Indeed, the Dolphins have met with a few who are expected to be off the board by the end of Round 1, including Purdue's George Karlaftis (scouting report) and Florida State's Jermaine Johnson II. If those players are available in the middle or at the end of the first round and could be had for a 2022 third-rounder and 2023 first- and third-rounders, Grier's team may unlock contender status.
Minnesota Vikings: Trade Down and Still Nab CB Andrew Booth Jr.
Under new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, the Minnesota Vikings are undergoing a rebuild, which makes them a question mark when it comes to predicting how they'll use their eight 2022 draft picks, including No. 12.
In free agency, the Vikings locked down key players Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen and Danielle Hunter and added Za'Darius Smith, Jordan Hicks, Chandon Sullivan and others.
But since only two of those players are younger than 29, the Vikings still need to rely on the draft.
Arguably their biggest need is defensive back, and the position has by far the best odds of being the first the team addresses, per DraftKings. Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. is a popular mock draft choice, and the Vikings could trade down from their spot at No. 12, pick up a mid-draft pick and still get to stitch Booth's name on the back of one of their jerseys.
That No. 12 selection might be attractive to teams looking to move up since it doesn't hold the premium of being in the top 10 but is also high enough that a quarterback or other splash player should be available. Sure, Minnesota could keep it and possibly walk away with LSU's Derek Stingley Jr. or Cincinnati's Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, but they were graded higher than No. 12 on B/R's latest big board. If they're gone, this could be a no-brainer.
New England Patriots: Trade LT Isaiah Wynn for Mid-Draft Pick
One of the safest things you can predict in any NFL draft is that Bill Belichick's New England Patriots will trade down. But if we're identifying potential trades, why not try to have a little more fun?
In fact, the trading has already begun for the Patriots, with the team sending its fifth-round selection (No. 170) to the Texans for their sixth- (No. 183) and seventh-round (No. 245) picks.
Sure, why not?
The Patriots have nine selections but only four in the first four rounds. Belichick could look to add a fourth- or fifth-round pick by moving left tackle Isaiah Wynn before he departs via unrestricted free agency next year.
We identified Jacksonville and its fourth-rounder, No. 106, as a return for Wynn. The 2018 No. 23 pick may be better suited at left guard or right tackle, while the Patriots could draft a left tackle of the future at No. 21. If, of course, Belichick does not trade down.
New Orleans Saints: Trade Into Top 10 for QB of the Future
The New Orleans Saints already acquired an extra 2022 first-round pick from the Eagles, giving them selection Nos. 16 and 19. But the value of those two picks could get them in the Nos. 4-5 range, or a bit lower if they get another pick in return.
If the Saints are stockpiling picks to make a play at a quarterback (and Pro Football Network's Tony Pauline reported it looks like a "sure bet" they will pick one in Round 1), presumably they have someone in mind and won't be content to just see who's left at No. 16.
Packaging Nos. 16 and 19 to move into the middle of the top 10 could allow the Saints to not only nab their guy but also to add a third-rounder. New Orleans has only one pick in each of Rounds 2 through 6, so adding capital in the middle of the draft would be gravy. It'd likely have to move ahead of Carolina at No. 6, but the Saints are one of the few teams that can do it.
As for which quarterback they have their eye on, New Orleans has hosted Ole Miss' Matt Corral and North Carolina's Sam Howell and met with Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett and Liberty's Malik Willis at the combine.
While rankings of the signal-callers vary wildly, ESPN's Todd McShay said "Pickett is usually either one or two," via colleague Mike Triplett. DraftKings pegged the Saints' odds of choosing a quarterback with their first pick at +200 (bet $100 to win $200), the highest of any position.
New York Giants: Trade for LB Tremaine Edmunds
As we established when discussing the Bills, the Buffalo-to-New York Giants pipeline is strong, and the Giants' No. 7 pick is waiting to be traded. The Bills would be motivated to move up from No. 25 to address their need at cornerback, but what could convince New York to trade down?
We established that rumors are circulating, via SiriusXM NFL Radio's Zig Fracassi, that Buffalo "may move a veteran or two." The Giants' needs this offseason include offensive tackle, edge-rusher and inside linebacker, and while DraftKings marked the offensive line as a heavy favorite to be addressed first, perhaps New York will have a chance to take care of another need via trade.
One veteran Buffalo may have on the table is linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. The two-time Pro Bowler is entering the final year of his rookie deal, and his cap hit is $12.7 million, according to Spotrac. If the Bills know they're not going to give him the lucrative second contract he'll be seeking, it'd be better to trade him and get something in return. Buffalo could package the 2018 No. 16 pick with one of its Day 2 selections.
New York Jets: Package No. 10 in Trade for WR Deebo Samuel
When the news broke that star wideout Deebo Samuel requested a trade from the San Francisco 49ers, big boards around the league surely began to shuffle as executives pondered which picks they could package to acquire Samuel.
We don't know if Samuel is available, as general manager John Lynch said Monday he couldn't imagine trading Samuel. If he is, expect the Jets to be a front-runner. Multiple teams have the draft capital to come to the table with the 49ers, but only the Jets can trade a top-10 pick and still retain a top-10 pick.
According to Pro Football Network's Tony Pauline, New York is "all-in" on using the No. 10 selection to acquire Samuel. It's no secret the franchise has been looking to acquire a difference-maker at the position. Before Kansas City traded Tyreek Hill to Miami, the Jets made an offer that included pick Nos. 35, 38 and 69, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
What's more, Samuel would have some friendly faces on the Jets coaching staff in offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur and wide receivers coach Miles Austin, who previously worked with Samuel in San Francisco.
As for the Jets' No. 4 pick, Pauline reported New York will go with a pass-rusher.
Philadelphia Eagles: Trade Up to Draft WR Chris Olave
While there are few things we know for sure heading into any NFL draft, that Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman will be wheeling and dealing is almost assured. (He has more than 38 draft-day trades under his belt.)
Yet another team in possession of multiple first-rounders, Roseman's Eagles will have plenty of moves at their disposal with the Nos. 15 and 18 picks. According to Pro Football Network's Mike Kaye, "the expectation" is that Philly won't actually select anybody at those spots.
The Eagles have multiple positions of need this offseason, especially on defense, but not all of them are worth moving up in Round 1. Wide receiver, however, is, especially in a class such as this one, as there will undoubtedly be a run on the position Thursday. The over/under for wideouts selected in Round 1 is 6.5, per DraftKings.
Chris Olave (scouting report) has been linked with the Eagles on multiple occasions, including by NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah during a conference call to preview the draft last week.
It sounds like the feeling might be mutual. When asked if he'd like playing alongside DeVonta Smith, Olave said, "I feel like we'd be a great tandem," via the Liberty Line.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Trade Up to Draft QB Kenny Pickett
The Pittsburgh Steelers are the favorites to land a top quarterback in this year's class: Pitt's Kenny Pickett (+350, third-best odds) or Liberty's Malik Willis (+350, tied for second-best odds), per DraftKings.
But the teams with better odds (the Panthers and Saints for Pickett, and the Panthers for Willis) also draft ahead of them. At No. 20, Pittsburgh is in the worst position among teams we consider quarterback-needy. If the Steelers want to leave Thursday's first round with a signal-caller, they're going to have to move up.
B/R's most recent big board ranked Pickett as the No. 3 option behind Willis and Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder. If that's how the draft plays out, Pittsburgh won't have to move much to get Pickett.
Pro Football Network's Tony Pauline wrote on Saturday that the Steelers were a "sure bet" (with the Saints) to draft a quarterback in the first round. And there's evidence beyond geography to suggest that player might be Pickett. Head coach Mike Tomlin, general manager Kevin Colbert, offensive coordinator Matt Canada and scouts attended his pro day, per SI.com's Noah Strackbein.
Washington, at No. 11, seems like a potential trade partner. With their recent trade for Carson Wentz, the Commanders won't be looking for a quarterback. If Pittsburgh needs to get inside the top 10, however, the New York Giants at No. 5 seem like a good option.
San Francisco 49ers: Finally Trade Jimmy Garoppolo
The trade market for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has been less than robust. As we established when discussing the Panthers, the ceiling is likely a third-rounder, and that was before he underwent shoulder surgery.
But we identified a trade that could make sense for two sides: the Panthers dropping down from No. 6 to acquire more capital, including a third-rounder to send to the 49ers for Jimmy G.
Jose Luis Sanchez III of All 49ers proposed another solution. San Francisco could "sweeten the deal" with a mid-draft pick or another player to receive a third-round pick or higher for Garoppolo. After all, that would be better than losing him via unrestricted free agency next year after having surrendered a 2018 second-round pick to acquire him him.
In his delightful all-trade mock draft, ESPN's Bill Barnwell envisioned a scenario wherein the 49ers send Garoppolo, the No. 61 pick and the No. 134 pick to the Steelers for the No. 20 pick and the No. 84 pick.
If the 49ers are serious about moving Garoppolo and going with Trey Lance, draft weekend may be their last best chance to do so.
Seattle Seahawks: Trade Into Round 1 for QB Sam Howell
The Seattle Seahawks have a ton of draft capital and could look to stay put at No. 9 before using their pair of early second-rounders to move into Round 1. Why? Because Sam Howell could still be on the board.
NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter predicted this scenario in a mock draft last week, writing Howell's "delivery and competitive nature" remind him of...you guessed it, Russell Wilson. Howell rushed for 828 yards and 11 touchdowns on a team-high 183 attempts last year.
The Seahawks' quarterback room houses Geno Smith, Drew Lock and Jacob Eason.
In a predraft news conference last week, general manager John Schneider said that Smith's return had not changed Seattle's position on potentially adding a signal-caller in the draft. Seahawks quarterbacks coach Dave Canales was in attendance at Howell's pro day, per Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network. Pauline also reported there's "a very real possibility" Seattle will trade into the end of Round 1.
Any number of teams in that range might be interested in moving down to pick up extra capital. The Lions, who have the Nos. 2, 32 and 34 picks, are a good candidate.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trade for Baker Mayfield
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have plenty of options with the No. 27 pick. DraftKings gives the highest odds for them to select an offensive lineman, at +150.
What Tampa Bay doesn't need to do is select a quarterback prospect. With Tom Brady's return, the team is set for at least one more season, but it doesn't have much in the pipeline with Blaine Gabbert and Kyle Trask.
With Brady at the helm again, Tampa Bay should have a late first-round pick in 2023, but the Bucs can buy low now on Baker Mayfield and give themselves a roadmap to Brady's eventual (maybe?) successor.
The Bucs don't have a lot of cap space, but Cleveland does. If the Browns eat most of Mayfield's $18.9 million contract, Tampa Bay could acquire him for one of its mid-draft picks, perhaps No. 133 overall.
Tennessee Titans: Trade Into Round 2 for Impact WR
The Tennessee Titans surged into the playoffs last season as the No. 1 seed but fizzled against the Bengals in the divisional round. Though he was only sacked once in that game, quarterback Ryan Tannehill struggled to remain upright throughout the season, getting sacked 47 other times. Needless to say, offensive line is the odds-on favorite to be the first position the Titans address in the draft, with wide receiver a close second.
The Titans will be on the clock late Thursday night at No. 26 and should have their pick of a few difference-makers at those positions, including Central Michigan tackle Bernhard Raimann or Northern Iowa's Trevor Penning.
But even if it comes out of Round 1 with a lineman, Tennessee won't pick again until No. 90 in Round 3, likely missing the chance to go after receivers such as Clemson's Justyn Ross, Georgia's George Pickens and Cincinnati's Alec Pierce in Round 2. This is a deep receiver class, but the Titans want to win now, and they need an instant impact player.
The Jets have two selections in Round 2 (Nos. 35 and 38), while the Seahawks have back-to-back picks at Nos. 40 and 41. The Titans can package their 2022 and 2023 third-round picks plus another selection in the middle rounds to pull this off.
Washington Commanders: Trade Down to Acquire Day 2 Capital
After swapping with the Indianapolis Colts to acquire Carson Wentz, the Washington Commanders are light on capital in the middle rounds. They could stay put at No. 11 if one of the receivers they may want remains on the board. (The odds for the team to select a wideout with its first pick are +125.)
If there's a run on receivers early, though, perhaps the Commanders will trade down in Round 1, draft a pass-catcher in a spot that matches the value on their big board and pick up a second-round pick.
Austin Gayle of Pro Football Focus views the Pittsburgh Steelers, who may want to move up for quarterback Malik Willis, as a potential trade partner.
With two second-rounders, the Commanders could address their defensive backfield and offensive line or package the picks to trade up for a difference-maker.
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