Phone lines burning as top seven teams weighing trade scenarios
The phone lines are burning up as every team wants to know what they can get by trading down or what the cost is of moving up. The possibilities are endless in this wide-open draft.
The hours preceding the draft are filled with teams making calls en masse to ascertain the value of picks and who is most inclined to move in which directions. It's a time filled with subterfuge and outright lies, with teams that have been virtually silent for the better part of a week now calling reporters and floating smokescreens in a quest to aid their own causes come Thursday night.
With that in mind, here is a look at a few things that could take shape:
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Everyone picking between 1 and 7 is ready, willing and able to trade down. For most teams, picking in this range would in fact be a dream scenario. How likely is it? For most, it's unrealistic because there isn't sufficient demand for a particular player and the board would have to fall a certain way for a deal to come together. However, with the potential for the top three offensive tackles to go in the first four picks and the number of teams that need one, perhaps something develops there.
The Oakland Raiders remain eager to move down at No. 3 overall with someone eyeing a tackle. Let's say Eric Fisher goes first to Kansas City Chiefs , then you can bet the Jacksonville Jaguars would be hoping someone makes a move to get Luke Joeckel , whom they could also end up taking themselves. If Lane Johnson gets past the Detroit Lions at No. 5, the Cleveland Browns would be trying to move back in hopes someone wants to jump Arizona Cardinals at 7 to get Johnson. The Cards, San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins all have tackle needs, but the feeling I have received from sources with those teams is that they were comfortable letting the teams from 2-7 "sweat it out," as one exec put it, and did not expect to jump up for a lineman.
We'll see once teams actually get on the clock.
If West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith slips out of the top 10, it would only be a matter of time before someone moved up to grab him. If the Buffalo Bills don't take Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib with the No. 8 pick, you can darn well bet they will move back into the back end of the first round to grab him. And I still expect a team to trade up into the late first round for Matt Barkley (as I have been reporting, the Jags are very high on him, and I suspect they will make this move).
As for teams looking to move down out of the first round entirely, the New England Patriots are the most likely team, with just five picks in this draft. The Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens are also among those who could be easily coerced into moving back.
The Atlanta Falcons remain poised to move up significantly to grab a player, and I continue to hear a corner like Desmond Trufant or D.J. Hayden would be potential targets in the teens. San Francisco 49ers is also loaded up with picks, and I am told if a particular player is on the board around the midpoint of the first round they will make every effort to jump up from the 31st pick to get him (some have suggested to me pass rusher Datone Jones as a possible target here).
Teams like the St. Louis Rams and Minnesota Vikings are poised to move in any direction, with multiple first-round picks, and some will depend on how the early part of the draft unfolds. But I would not be shocked to see St. Louis try to move up to land receiver Tavon Austin . The Vikings love him, too.
Of course, with this draft seemingly more wide open than most, the potential for surprises lurk everywhere, and I am sure there will be several trades and selections that catch us by surprise. And, in addition, veteran players like Chiefs tackle Branden Albert , New Orleans Saints running back Chris Ivory , Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount and Dolphins receiver Davone Bess are being shopped and could be a part of draft weekend deals.
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