NFL Draft 2011 Trade Speculation: 5 Teams Likely to Make a Draft Day Move

Josh Brewer@AlwaysBrewingCorrespondent IApril 23, 2011

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 16:  Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots hugs head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets following their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The 2011 NFL Draft is now less than a week away, giving us die-hard football fans a glimmer of light amidst the darkness of the NFL's enduring lockout.

Every year, teams move up to grab a talent they've become enamored with. Last year, the Cowboys and Broncos moved up to Nos. 24 and 25, respectively, to draft Oklahoma State wideout Dez Bryant and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

In 2009, Ted Thompson made a rare move up the board, drafting USC linebacker Clay Matthews at the back end of the first round.

Which teams will address glaring needs by jumping up the draft board this year? Let's take a look at five teams looking at potential moves up the 2011 NFL Draft order.

New England Patriots

The Patriots don't often move up in the draft, but when they do, it's for good reason. The last time the Pats made a first-round move, it was to draft Tennessee linebacker Jerod Mayo. That turned out pretty well.

New England may be on the move again in 2011, both to fill a need and to block the addition of a top prospect to a division rival. Most mock drafts have the Dolphins selecting Alabama running back Mark Ingram with the 15th selection.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

But the Pats have a need in the backfield, where BenJarvus Green-Ellis held down the fort in 2010. Green-Ellis did an admirable job, but isn't the long-term solution in New England. Enter Ingram, who the Pats are reportedly very interested in.

Don't be surprised to see the Patriots move up to nab their next No. 1 receiver, or possibly even the heir apparent to Tom Brady, who will be 34 when the season finally gets underway.

Minnesota Vikings

Following the retirement of Brett Favre (he did retire, didn't he?) the Vikings have a massive hole under center. It is clear that Tarvaris Jackson is not the answer, and Joe Webb showed little in the chances he had last year.

Either Auburn's Cam Newton or Missouri's Blaine Gabbert will come off the board with the first pick, with recent patterns pointing to the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner. Gabbert becomes an option at No. 4 (Cincinnati) and No. 5 (Arizona) but don't be surprised if the Vikings sneak into the top five to grab the Missouri signal caller.

Cornerback is also an option for Minnesota. Antoine Winfield is 33 and Asher Allen is not a starting-caliber NFL corner.

If LSU's Patrick Peterson or Nebraska's Prince Amukamara begin slipping, the Vikings may end the slide by moving into the top 10.

New Orleans Saints

One name that has been sliding down many draft boards is that of Clemson defensive end DaQuan Bowers. If he makes it past the top 15, the Saints will definitely be a team to keep an eye on.

Alex Brown is a serviceable defensive end, but Bowers could be a true difference-maker across from Will Smith.

Even if Bowers comes off the board early, the Saints could be in play to move up for a player like Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt or Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan.

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas might not have to move far in the draft order to get the best prospect on the board.

As time continues to pass, it's becoming more and more of a possibility that LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson slips as far as San Francisco at No. 7. Two spots back sit the Cowboys, in dire need of a play-making defensive back.

It is the defense that should probably receive the most attention in the Dallas Cowboys' 2011 draft, and few could argue against the Cowboys moving up just two spots to grab one of the most talented defensive backs to enter the draft in recent memory.

St. Louis Rams

Before the NFL Draft Combine, the Rams were heavy favorites to land Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones with the No. 14 overall selection.

After tearing up the combine with a broken foot, Jones has shot into the top 10, appearing on some mocks as high as the No. 4 overall pick.

Both Jones and Georgia's A.J. Green are hot commodities for teams looking for help at the wide receiver position, so if the Rams want to grab the difference-maker they've missed since Torry Holt's prime, they'll likely have to move up to do so.

Watch out for the Rams, who quietly put together a decent season last year.

Second-year quarterback Sam Bradford would likely enjoy nothing more than having a player such as Green or Jones at his disposal in the passing game.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.