2019 NFL Draft: Ranking the 10 trade scenarios that make the most sense in Round 1
Do you like trading on draft day? Here are 10 scenarios I think are in play for the first round of the draft
One thing we know when it comes to the NFL Draft is that we'll see plenty of trades. Last year, exactly half of the 32 picks in the first round were made by teams that didn't originally own them, and that doesn't even cover the picks that were traded multiple times. No. 22, for example, went from Kansas City to Buffalo as part of the move up for Patrick Mahomes in 2017, then to Baltimore when the Bills moved up to No. 15 on draft day, and finally to Tennessee when the Ravens moved down again, before the Titans finally took Rashaan Evans with the pick.
This year, we already know four picks that will be made by teams other than their original owners. The Raiders picked up extra first-rounders from the Bears (for Khalil Mack) and Cowboys (for Amari Cooper), the Saints gave up their first-rounder as part of a trade-up last year, and most recently, the Browns sent their first-rounder to the Giants as part of the package for Odell Beckham. But what other draft-pick trades are going to happen in Round 1?
Below, I've identified 10 scenarios that I believe are ripe for a trade, either on draft day or before. Several of them made an appearance in, which includes 34 trades in all, but not all of these scenarios made the cut. Let's hop into the madness.
10. Raiders go get Kyler Murray at No. 1
I've been routinely blasted for projecting a trade up to No. 1 by the Raiders in my mock drafts, and perhaps that's fair. It's always more likely a specific draft trade doesn't happen than it going through. But the Raiders have done the work on the top quarterbacks in this class, which shows that Derek Carr being their long-term answer at the position isn't a slam dunk. As much as the Cardinals have been connected to Murray, my belief is that they'd prefer to keep Rosen but also get some extra value by trading down slightly.
In order for this trade to come to pass, Jon Gruden has to fall in love with the Oklahoma star as the centerpiece of what he wants his offense to be. I don't know whether he has, but he's certainly left open the possibility of it happening by meeting with Murray and working him out as part of the team's draft prep.
You can chalk up the Raiders' interest in Murray as a smokescreen, but you should also be open to the possibility it's not. No one knows anything two weeks out, and every day that passes without the Raiders trading up to No. 1 makes it less likely it actually happens. But I'm not ready to rule it out just yet.
9. Bengals make a small move up
The Bengals showed a willingness to move around in last year's draft, trading down in the first round in order to land veteran offensive line help in Cordy Glenn, and the moving down in the second round again before drafting Jessie Bates. But after receiving three compensatory picks -- albeit all in the sixth round -- the Bengals now sit with 11 picks in the draft. I doubt 11 draft picks are making the team come September, so the extra ammunition should allow the team to get ahead of the Broncos for a quarterback or any other particular prospect if they so choose.
What would it cost to flip with the Bills at No. 9? If they were to offer their fourth-rounder (No. 110) as well as one of those sixth-round comp picks, I think Buffalo says yes. They'd also have a logjam on Day 3 of the draft at that point, but I can see them being aggressive in Rounds 2 and 3 to get the right players as well. The Bengals also have the option of trading from No. 42 back into Round 1, but I would expect any potential trade partner to insist on getting Cincinnati's 2020 second-round pick in that deal. If Daniel Jones is still around in the 20s, I wouldn't rule out the Bengals pulling the trigger on a deal like that.
8. Giants add a third pick in Round 1
In trading Odell Beckham to the Browns, the Giants are now flush with draft picks, not only the two in the first round but 12 in all. Twelve picks! You can't expect a team to carry that many rookies on the roster, so I think it's a good bet that the Giants make a few moves up over the course of three days, consolidating picks in order to go get the right players.
And I think that could begin by moving up from No. 37 to get a third first-round pick. Trading either No. 95 or 108 could do the job on its own, but packaging one of those picks with one of the team's three fifth-rounders would surely be enough to get back into Round 1. If the Raiders don't use No. 27 to move up for Murray, would they take three picks and give themselves more shots at finding talent later in the draft? If the Seahawks trade back from No. 21 into the 27-32 range, I bet they'd be more than willing to move down again to No. 37.
If the Giants pass on a QB with their first two picks and want to go get Daniel Jones, I could see a trade like this coming to fruition. I could even see them doing it for a non-QB, considering they have so many picks later in the draft.
7. Lions move back, maybe even way back
The Lions did a good job addressing key needs in free agency, picking up Trey Flowers, Justin Coleman and Jesse James but also several solid players up and down the roster. But the positions that make the most sense addressing with their first pick would be reaches for any of the talent available. Do they grab secondary help? Well, many don't project any defensive backs to go in the top 20. Do they lock in another guard to boost the offensive line? That's a reach in the top 10 as well. Adding a defensive lineman like Montez Sweat or Rashan Gary seems like the most likely scenario if they stay put, but that also means a lesser role for Romeo Okwara after amassing 7.5 sacks and signing an extension this offseason.
So I would expect the Lions to be working the phones to engineer a move back. It could be with the Bengals (as covered above), or with the Falcons if they're in love with Ed Oliver. But I'd set my sights even further down in the first round. Getting No. 24 and 35 from the Raiders so Oakland can come up and get a second impact defender would be solid value. So would getting No. 26 and 34 from the Colts, who could also use a difference maker like Oliver or Sweat. And that's a much better range for the Lions to grab a corner like Byron Murphy plus add a top guard at the top of the second round. Add a safety with their original second-round pick (and there should be good value at the position at that point) and this will be an A-grade draft for Detroit.
6. Ravens move back to recoup picks
The Ravens made a big move up the boards last year, trading back into the first round to select Lamar Jackson at No. 32. After reinventing the offense on the fly during the season, the team is left with plenty of needs following an offseason that saw C.J. Mosley and Za'Darius Smith leave on defense as well as nothing having been done to shore up the depth chart at receiver.
Even if they were to get lucky and have a talent like Devin Bush slip to them at No. 22, how much of a difference is he going to make in the wins column? This team isn't one player away, and they should be in the market to move down at least once, potentially out of the first round altogether, to get multiple players on Day 2 who can contribute. If they can get the Patriots to give up No. 32 and either No. 64 or 73, that's a start. The Eagles, Texans and Colts all have multiple second-round picks and could be trade partners as well.
If I were the Ravens, I'd be looking to move down twice and end up with seven picks in the first four rounds, which would go a long way to rebuilding their depth. And this is an absurdly deep receiver class where I think difference makers will be available with those extra picks in Rounds 3 and 4.
5. Patriots use draft wealth to move up
Like the Giants, the Patriots own 12 picks in this year's draft. The Patriots won't make 12 picks in this year's draft, because how are that many players going to make their roster? Even when you account for three of their picks being late seventh-rounders, they still have more picks than they can probably fit onto their roster, including five on Day 2.
As you can see elsewhere in this article, there should be plenty of teams interested in trading down and amassing those Day 2 picks to help beef up their rosters. No. 32 and 64 should be enough to get the Patriots to No. 21 or 22, where they might be able to snag a receiving weapon at tight end in Noah Fant or a pass-rusher like Clelin Ferrell. Add one of their third-round comp picks and all of a sudden you're talking about a pick in the 15-18 range where an impact pass-rusher could be available, or possibly even a quarterback if the team wants to nail down a successor for Tom Brady now that can be developed. That last option is probably the longest of longshots, but the point is the Patriots don't have to sit at the end of Round 1 if they don't want to.
4. Redskins jump up the board for a quarterback
The Redskins have done plenty of work on the quarterbacks in this class as they try and recover from the brutal injury to Alex Smith. Case Keenum shouldn't be seen as anything more than a stopgap, and we know that Daniel Snyder will make a bold move for a quarterback he's sold on if the opportunity is there.
At No. 15, Washington has to know that it's more than likely their preferred quarterback will be long gone, unless it happens to be Daniel Jones and their intel leads them to believe he's not an option for teams like the Bengals and Dolphins. So they need to be ready to make a move up. If their 2020 first-round pick is on the table -- and considering this is Dan Snyder we're talking about, I don't see why it wouldn't be -- I think it's possible to build a package to get all the way to No. 3 and assure that you're getting the QB you want, unless it's Kyler Murray. If they don't want to be as bold, there should be an opportunity to at least get into the top 10 ahead of the Broncos, and I'd be shocked if they didn't take it.
3. Dolphins move down, hoard assets for rebuild
The Dolphins are in a bit of no man's land at No. 13. It's not high enough to get them in range for a top QB, unless something weird happens on draft day, and one impact player isn't going to make a difference with the team at the beginning of a rebuild. If I'm the Dolphins, I'm looking to turn No. 13 into as many premium picks as I can, and the 23-25 range looks like a great one to target.
The Texans should be interested in coming up for one of the top offensive lineman and have two second-round picks to make a move. The Eagles should be open to jumping up if one of the top two linebackers makes it out of the top 12, and they also have a pair of second-round picks.
If the Dolphins go down to the 20s and don't trade back any further, I think going with an elite talent like Jeffery Simmons who isn't going to make an early impact for a contender makes perfect sense. If they trade down more than once, there will be quality offensive linemen and cornerbacks early in Round 2. If they can turn No. 13 into two second-round picks and an additional third to go with the two picks they already own on Day 2, that's going to help their roster rebuild a lot more than one better talent in the middle of the first round.
2. Jets move back to help recoup Darnold picks
The Jets knew they had to do something to address their quarterback situation last year, and that involved sending three second-round picks to the Colts for the right to move from No. 6 to No. 3. The move paid off as the Giants let Sam Darnold slip by them, allowing the Jets to land their new franchise quarterback.
But the move left the Jets without a second-round pick this year, and with them near the bottom of the NFL again in 2018, that means they sacrificed a valuable selection in 2019 to get Darnold, a move I'm sure they'd make again 100 times out of 100. But now they have the opportunity to get some of that draft capital back, letting someone else move up for a quarterback or even one of the two blue-chip defenders in this class.
Moving back to the 6-10 range should net the Jets at least a second-round pick and probably more. If they're willing to go all the way back to No. 15, I think they could grab the Redskins' first-rounder next year in addition to at least one more Day 2 pick in this draft. And that would still keep them in range for some edge rush or offensive line help. Sounds like a win-win if Washington falls in love with a quarterback.
1. Seahawks move down yet again
Last year, the Seahawks moved down from No. 18 to 27 in order to get extra picks. In 2017, the Seahawks moved down from No. 26 to 31 to 34 to 35 in order to get extra picks. In 2016, the Seahawks traded down from No. 26 to No. 31 to get an extra pick. The Seahawks traded their 2015 first-round pick as part of the package for Jimmy Graham. In 2014, they moved down from No. 32 to 40 to 45 for extra picks. Their 2013 first-round pick was part of the Percy Harvin trade. In 2012, they moved down from No. 12 to 15 for extra picks.
The Seahawks have traded their first-round picks either in a package for a player or multiple picks in every single year since Russell Wilson was drafted. What do you think they're going to do this year?
The thing is, the strategy has worked for them, time and again, at least in the deals for extra picks. The pick they traded in 2012 ended up being used on Fletcher Cox, but they still got a key pass rusher in Bruce Irvin at No. 15 and used one of the later picks acquired in the deal to get Jeremy Lane, who recorded a goal-line interception in Super Bowl XLIX. Paul Richardson was that No. 45 pick in 2014, and he was a quality deep threat for the team during his time in Seattle. The extra pick in 2016 brought tight end Nick Vannett, another solid player for the Seahawks. Two of the extra Day 3 picks in 2017 landed Tedric Thompson and Chris Carson.
So above all else, count on the Seahawks trading down from No. 21 rather than making the pick. With only four picks in their cache for the 2019 draft, I actually expect them to move down multiple times, possibly not even making their first pick until the second round in the 35-50 range, unless there's a prospect on the board they didn't expect after their first trade-down and feel like they can't risk losing him by moving down again.
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