Breaking news: There will be trades during the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Maybe not as many as in 2012, when we saw an unholy number of teams move around in the first round alone (19 total, including deals made before draft day actually came around). But there will be deals made, because there are always deals made.
That's great news for teams in the top portion of the draft, all of whom would prefer to move down a few slots in order to nab some extra picks. Every single team in the top 10 can certainly find someone they like as a pick at the top of the draft, but those teams would also probably prefer to slide a few spots if it helps improve their overhaul draft haul without losing too much talent-wise.
Below I've identified a few teams that could move up in the draft -- including one already in the top 10 and a pair that might just jump back into the first round -- for the sake of identifying teams that could be particularly aggressive when it comes to draft-day trading.
As always, caveats abound, particularly with the cost of moving up and generally everything that goes into draft-day speculation ahead of time. If you've got better choices or hate my picks -- and I don't doubt you do! -- leave them in the comments or let me know on Twitter @WillBrinson.
Having left free agency without a sure answer at left tackle or cornerback, it seems more than reasonable the Dolphins might look to fill one of those positions come draft day. And if they do, what's to keep them from acting in the same aggressive manner they used during free agency? There's some belief Jeff Ireland's shoving his chips to the center of the table with the Fins this year and nothing says "all in" quite like giving up picks in order to grab a position of need.
Someone like Xavier Rhodes or Desmond Trufant could easily fall to Miami at 12. But two things conspire to make Miami a logical aggressor in this draft: a premium group of tackles available and, thanks to the departure of Jake Long in free agency, 2012 swinging gate Jonathan Martin manning the left tackle spot. It's unlikely that Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher will be available, but Lane Johnson could be in Miami's wheelhouse with a move up.
San Francisco's been plenty aggressive already this offseason, fully partaking in the NFC West arms race with the Seahawks. What makes them most likely to deal though? A bevy of draft picks available to Trent Baalke. Thirteen to be exact, with five of those coming in the first 95 picks. The 49ers have been fantastic about maximizing their draft picks in recent years -- the past three years alone have yielded Mike Iupati, Anthony Davis, Navorro Bowman, Aldon Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Chris Culliver, Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James to name a few -- but with a stacked roster they might be interested in moving up to acquire premium talent.
Early on I mocked the 49ers nabbing Tavon Austin; it seems highly unlikely the explosive wideout from West Virginia will fall to 31 at this point. It's not that unrealistic to think San Francisco could go get a guy who truly makes the offense as dynamic as possible. (Plus, it would be quite the statement to the Seahawks after they traded for Percy Harvin, no?) Kenny Vaccaro or John Cyprien could also be targets at safety if the Niners don't believe they'll fall to 31. Whatever they're thinking, they've got the ammo to make a strong play and it wouldn't be shocking if they did just that.
Don't bank on new Jets GM John Idzik suddenly deciding he needs to give up a ton of assets in order to make a move up and grab a specific player in a really deep draft. But that all changes if the Jets are finally able to move Darrelle Revis to the Buccaneers and acquire Tampa Bay's 2013 first-round pick. That would give New York the ninth overall and 13th overall pick in the draft.
And it would mean if they're truly eying a defensive stud like an Ezekiel Ansah or a Dion Jordan then they have the ability to make a small jump forward without giving up too much. In other words, they could give up a later pick (third- or fourth-round value maybe?) to jump up a few spots, pick up the guy they want and still have one more first-round spot available in order to pick up another position of need. Who knows, maybe they're even itching to snag Geno Smith and don't want the Bills getting hold of him instead. It all hinges on Revis, but that doesn't seem like a huge stretch at this point; the only sticking point is getting a deal done before the draft.
And here we have another situation where a team with multiple first-round picks could get aggressive. I wouldn't expect the Rams to make a big play up the draft board unless a) they can do it reasonably cheap or b) feel like a guy they have to have is going to get snagged ahead of their first pick at 16th. I absolutely love the safety-wideout combo for the Rams, with them getting some combo of Tavon Austin/Cordarrelle Patterson/Keenan Allen/DeAndre Hopkins and Kenny Vaccaro/John Cyprien/Matt Elam depending on how things shake out.
But there's the rub: If they love Austin, and they should, there's a good chance the diminutive wideout won't be there when St. Louis is picking at 16. Perhaps they're happy with simply letting the chips fall as they may, but this is a critical draft for St. Louis and they need to hammer both first-round picks to keep up with the Joneses in the division. Austin could be had with a simple hop up that probably wouldn't require giving up their second-round pick (46th) and would still give them plenty of options at either 16 or 22, depending on which spot they moved up from. They were aggressive in moving down to let the Redskins take Robert Griffin III and now they can flip the script and get the man they want with a bold move early.
Bonus team! Kind of, anyway -- including Buffalo and Arizona as separate teams here felt like cheating since they'd both be moving up for the same reasons, but wouldn't be moving up in the early goings of the first round. Instead, I peg the Bills and Cards as the two most likely teams to make a move back into the first round in order to grab a quarterback. Two signal callers in particular make sense for these teams.
Buffalo obviously has a connection with Ryan Nassib thanks to Doug Marrone coming from Syracuse. If they pass on Geno Smith, as I postulated in my latest mock draft, it's hard not seeing them thinking that they can land the former man of Orange in the second round. Risking Nassib falling back past the Jaguars, Raiders and (potentially aggressive, see above) 49ers (or whoever's holding their pick anyway) might be too much of a risk to bear.
Likewise, I see Mike Glennon as a very nice fit for Bruce Arians' system and he's a former NC State product just like Cards GM Steve Keim (of course, so was recently-cut safety Adrian Wilson ...). But Glennon wouldn't be ideal to step in on day one, which is where Carson Palmer comes in. With some grooming, Glennon's deep-shot ability could be deadly in Arians system. Arizona might be willing to pay the price to ensure they land him.