NFL Trade Speculation: Power Ranking the 15 Best Players on the Trading Block

Brandon Galvin@bgny3Featured ColumnistMay 20, 2011

NFL Trade Speculation: Power Ranking the 15 Best Players on the Trading Block

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    SEATTLE - DECEMBER 05:  Wide receiver Steve Smith #89 of the Carolina Panthers looks on during warmups prior to the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on December 5, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks won, 31-14. (Photo by Otto Greule
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    We are all impatiently waiting for the current NFL lockout to be lifted. All we want as football fans is our damn football! We want to be able to watch football in the fall and see teams sign rookies, hand out playbooks and get on with free agency.

    More importantly, we want to see which of our superstars will be traded away after making unnecessary noise in the offseason. We want to see which superstars our favorite teams can bring in to help win a Super Bowl championship.

    Now that the draft is in the books, many veterans are expected to be shipped out once transactions resume.

    We want to see the drama end in Cincinnati with Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco. Steve Smith has reportedly asked for a trade to a contending team.

    Where do these three one-time elite players stand amongst the rest of the best players on the trading block?

15. Tashard Choice, Dallas Cowboys RB

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    GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 25:  Runningback Tashard Choice #23 of the Dallas Cowboys rushes the football past Gabe Watson #98 of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 25, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Car
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Cowboys currently have four quality running backs in Marion Barber, Felix Jones, Tashard Choice and third-rounder DeMarco Murray. There simply isn’t enough to go around for all four of these backs, who are highly talented in different aspects of the game.

    Barber is rumored to be axed this offseason, but I believe that would be a mistake. He can’t be traded due to his contract, but he can still greatly help this team with his all-around abilities such as pass blocking, receiving, short-yardage excellence and a nose for the end zone.

    The only logical choice would be to move Choice. He has the talent to be a starter on some teams in this league but at the very least would be a great No. 2 runner for most teams in the NFL.

14. Ryan Grant, Green Bay Packers RB

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    SEATTLE - AUGUST 21:  Running back Ryan Grant #25 of the Green Bay Packers looks on during warmups prior to the preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on August 21, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    I’ve never been one to praise Ryan Grant—never. I don’t think he is a great football player, but I will admit he is an effective runner. He won’t make many plays by himself and relies heavily on his offensive line to create open lanes for him to run through. Still, every team needs somebody who is willing to be a north-south downhill runner, which is exactly what Grant is.

    Green Bay just selected the explosive Hawaii runner Alex Green to provide a spark for the team. James Starks was excellent in the postseason as a rookie last year and looks to be the Packers' next featured back for a few seasons, making Grant expendable at this point.

13. Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants RB

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    DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 13:  Brandon Jacobs #27 of the New York Giants scores a second quarter touchdown over Jamarca Sanford #33 of the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on December 13, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    I used to like Brandon Jacobs. He was a monster and ran through defenders. Then he got his hefty contract, which I disagreed with because I knew he wouldn’t run as hard or efficiently—I was right. Jacobs hasn’t been the same.

    This is an oft-injured runner who would now prefer to dance behind the line of scrimmage than duck his head and shoulder and run through somebody. He is no longer very effective as a short-yardage or goal-line back and has made me prefer Ahmad Bradshaw in that role.

12. Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints RB

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    MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07:   Reggie Bush #25 celebrates with Pierre Thomas #23 of the New Orleans Saints after Thomas' touchdown during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Ima
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Although Reggie Bush could be considered a "bust" after being selected No. 2 overall in the 2006 draft, he is still a great specialist and receiver. He may be the most dangerous return man next to Devin Hester in this league. He excels out of the backfield as a receiver and could even line up in the slot to create nightmarish mismatches.

    I still expect him to stay in New Orleans, but I wouldn’t put it past some teams to inquire into his superstar persona and luxurious abilities.

    After the Saints selected Mark Ingram, many thought that Bush would be the expendable back, but he offers something much different for this team—something that is invaluable when he is healthy.

    Pierre Thomas, however, should be the one worried, despite his recent contract extension. He stands to lose the most with Ingram joining the Saints. He was supposed to be the do-it-all featured back, but I expect Ingram to take that role.

11. Nick Barnett, Green Bay Packers LB

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    GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 03: Nick Barnett #56 of the Green Bay Packers awaits the start of play against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on October 3, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 28-26. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Ima
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Nick Barnett is a quality inside linebacker, but the Packers were able to win the Super Bowl without his services, making him rather expendable. He is a tackling machine with solid speed and great instincts, but he is often injured and commands a hefty paycheck.

    The Packers’ linebacking unit did a fantastic job in the postseason without him, and although I agree he would improve the unit, I could see them attempting to move him to conserve money.

10. Albert Haynesworth, Washington Redskins DT

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    GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 02:  Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth #92 of the Washington Redskins battles for position with Alan Faneca #66 of the Arizona Cardinals during preseason NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Glen
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Washington Redskins’ Albert Haynesworth experiment was pathetic. He has been a troublemaker since signing his ludicrous contract and was justly embarrassed by head coach Mike Shanahan during preseason as he failed to pass conditioning tests. He was ultimately suspended for the remainder of the season and is now in trouble with the law.

    Still, there is a market for a one-time fantastic destructive defense tackle. If moved back to the 4-3 defense, he could still serve a purpose for a contending team, as he should be motivated to regain his abilities. We’ve heard rumblings that he could land in Philadelphia.

9. Aqib Talib, Tampa Bay Buccaneers CB

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    CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 10: Aqib Talib #25 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers returns an interception against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Aqib Talib could be suspended by Roger Goodell for his recent off-field run-in with the law. It remains to be seen how the Tampa Bay organization will handle the situation, but head coach Raheem Morris has stood by his superstar cornerback thus far.

    Still, it wouldn’t be put past anybody if he was moved. He would command a nice return given his on-field talent as a potential lockdown cornerback. Every team needs depth at the cornerback position, as I always say a team can never have enough cornerbacks.

    Tabli has fantastic recovery speed, hands and instincts, which make him one of the best corners in the game today.

8. Kyle Orton, Denver Broncos QB

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    GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 12:  Quarterback Kyle Orton #8 of the Denver Broncos runs out onto the field before the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 12, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Kyle Orton has been a more than serviceable starting quarterback in Denver—to the surprise of many. He has shown great poise, leadership, accuracy and even fine arm strength. He is showing awareness in the pocket and can be an extremely effective quarterback behind a solid offensive line.

    For a team like Washington or Miami, he would be a fine addition to the team to compete for the starting job. In Miami, he could potentially lead this team towards a .500 or winning record in the AFC and at the very least push Chad Henne to develop quicker.

7. Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia Eagles QB

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 17:  Kevin Kolb #4 of the Philadelphia Eagles passes against the Atlanta Falcons during their game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 17, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Andy Reid has built quite the mystique for Kevin Kolb, which is causing many to believe he is one of the best young quarterbacks in the game. Amazingly, he has looked terrible in limited action thus far in his career aside from the one game against Atlanta. He should have never even been drafted in the second round of the 2007 draft.

    He has fine arm strength, but I wouldn’t trust his poise in the pocket. I think his accuracy is overblown and that it would be a mistake for a team to offer up a first-round selection for him. I do agree, though—he’s better than anybody they have in Arizona.

6. Vince Young, Tennessee Titans QB

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    SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 31:  Quarterback Vince Young #10 of the Tennessee Titans drops back to pass against the San Diego Chargers in the game at Qualcomm Stadium on October 31, 2010 in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeated the Titans 33-25.  (Photo by
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Although Vince Young is a bit of a head case on and off the field, I am still a firm believer in his ability. He can get rattled, but he often displays solid poise behind center. He has great mobility and strength, with fine arm strength and accuracy.

    The most important aspect of Young’s game, which cannot be taught, is his innate ability to win games. He is a great leader on the field and makes his teammates believe that they can always win the contest until the game is over. He is a determined player who does not shy away from the moment.

    For that, he is invaluable on the field and can still be a successful, winning quarterback.

5. Vincent Jackson, San Diego Chargers WR

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    SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 16:  Wide receiver Vincent Jackson #83 of the San Diego Chargers dives into the endzone for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 16, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Pho
    Harry How/Getty Images

    I’ve never considered myself a fan of his, as I definitely think he believes he is far superior than he truly is, but I’ll admit Vincent Jackson is good at what he does.

    He is a big receiver who can be a deep threat with his leaping ability. He has fine speed and uses his body well, which many teams in this league need.

    Any team in need of a deep threat needs to take a look at the availability of V-Jax, as he is one of the top receivers in the league in this category—a team like Cleveland, which needs to stretch the field for the other receivers.

4. Donovan McNabb, Washington Redskins QB

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 05:  Donovan McNabb #5 of the Washington Redskins looks to throw a pass against the New York Giants on December 5, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Redskins 31-7.  (
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Like Albert Haynesworth, the Donovan McNabb experiment in Washington was also pathetic. He was benched for Rex Grossman in attempts to win the game against Detroit, was then given a bizarre extension and then finally benched for the final few games of the season for Grossman.

    Needless to say, McNabb is as good as gone with John Beck expected to enter preseason as the No. 1 QB on the depth chart—yet Washington remains adamant that McNabb is still part of the team.

    This is an experienced veteran with a great winning career. He is the veteran many young teams need at the QB position—Minnesota, Miami, San Francisco and Arizona could all benefit from his services. He has solid poise and mobility in the pocket with fine accuracy and great arm strength. He would definitely lead San Francisco or Arizona into the postseason.

3. Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati Bengals WR

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 26:  Chad Ochocinco #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals waves to the Carolina Panthers before the start of their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Despite his big mouth, Chad Ochocinco can still be a game-changing wide receiver. He still has solid leaping ability and speed, but he has fantastic footwork, route-running skills, separation ability and soft hands. He will catch any ball thrown his way, and for that he can still be a fantastic possession receiver.

    He is still one of the premier players people want to see, so he will boost any organization’s fanbase. Even more, he commands attention on the field from the defense and will open up the field for the rest of his teammates.

2. Carson Palmer, Cincinnati Bengals QB

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    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 24:  Quarterback Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on October 24, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Carson Palmer is still a talented student of the game. He is a locker room leader and is the veteran quarterback who can still take a team deep into the postseason. He has been limited in Cincinnati due to off-field concerns in the locker room set up primarily by the lack of leadership and accountability from his organization.

    Palmer is still an experienced, accurate quarterback with great pose and solid arm strength. If a team like Arizona or San Francisco, for example, had a quarterback of his caliber, either team would be a serious contender in the NFC.

1. Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers WR

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    SEATTLE - DECEMBER 05:  Wide receiver Steve Smith #89 of the Carolina Panthers looks on during warmups prior to the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on December 5, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks won, 31-14. (Photo by Otto Greule
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Steve Smith is a powerhouse of a wide receiver and will instantly improve the overall makeup of any team on and off the field.

    Although he’s done some questionable things in the past, his hard work and determination on the field command attention from his teammates. He is a leader on the field and the sidelines, which is exactly where teammates primarily want their superstars to show up.

    Smith can do it all at his position and is one of the toughest and most competitive receivers in the history of the game. He is truly a warrior on the field and will fight for every single ball thrown his way. He still has the speed, power and separation skills to dominate any single game.