The NFL trade market has been hot in recent weeks and that has changed how team needs are perceived. Although Kansas City and Green Bay had been noted as having interest in wide receivers prior to the Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams trades, respectively, the level of interest has now reached DEFCON 1. In today's thought exercise, we explore what those teams may do as well as the teams that were unable to land a quarterback during the off-season carousel.
Without further ado, let's kick this thing off!
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Round 1 - Pick 1
Aidan Hutchinson EDGE
Michigan • Soph • 6'7" / 268 lbs
Although I would not rule out Jacksonville taking an offensive lineman, it is very obvious that momentum is moving in the direction of the edge rusher. The Jaguars would then pair Hutchinson with Josh Allen to form arguably the best edge rush duo in the AFC South. Tennessee might want a word.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Notre Dame • Soph • 6'4" / 220 lbs
Detroit jumps out as a team that desperately wants to trade down. The question is whether or not a team is willing to move up for an offensive lineman. If a trade does happen, they will have to settle for less in terms of compensation. As it stands, I think they stick and pick. It would not surprise me to see them take Travon Walker, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Kyle Hamilton or Ahmad Gardner. In this scenario, I have them taking Hamilton.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Evan Neal OL
Alabama • Soph • 6'7" / 350 lbs
Houston is keeping Laremy Tunsil but I still think it would be wise to invest in the offensive line. Neal played right tackle at Alabama before making the transition to the left side. Tunsil and Neal would be a fantastic pairing for quite some time. Those caliber of offensive linemen are not easy to find.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Ikem Ekwonu OL
NC State • Soph • 6'4" / 320 lbs
There has been a lot of buzz linking the Jets and Ekwonu. Would they be interested in playing him at right tackle long-term or would they move Mekhi Becton to the other side? Is there a scenario in which general manager Joe Douglas would move on from his first draft pick? Is it all a smokescreen for New York to draft an edge rusher?
Round 1 - Pick 5
Georgia • Soph • 6'5" / 272 lbs
If New York wants to add an edge rusher, their choice comes down to Kayvon Thibodeaux and Walker. Walker's size is reminiscent of Myles Garrett but he does not have the pass rush plan that Garrett had coming out of Texas A&M. The idea is that any team who selects the Bulldog would be comfortable with his run stopping ability and give him time to develop as a pass rusher.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Pittsburgh • Soph • 6'3" / 220 lbs
Carolina struck out on Deshaun Watson. They could still be in the mix for Baker Mayfield but it is also possible that the Panthers move forward with a rookie. I think they are poised to take a chance on a rookie quarterback.
From Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 7
Mississippi State • Soph • 6'5" / 311 lbs
If the Giants want to walk away with an offensive tackle, then Cross is their final shot inside the top ten. Any other prospect at the position would be too rich for my blood. Cross is great in pass protection but may need some time if asked to transition to right tackle.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Ohio State • Soph • 6'0" / 192 lbs
It feels as though Atlanta is going to ride the season out with Marcus Mariota and then re-evaluate its quarterback options next offseason. Calvin Ridley may or may not be back in 2023 so the Falcons are going to need someone catching passes other than Kyle Pitts. Wilson is a fast wide receiver with great body control.
From Denver Broncos
Round 1 - Pick 9
Cincinnati • Soph • 6'3" / 200 lbs
Seattle has always valued length at the cornerback position. I would imagine they are ecstatic to find him on the board as they come on the clock. Gardner has a case to be the top overall prospect in the class and the Seahawks are able to add him with the pick acquired in the Russell Wilson trade. I still think they are the favorite to trade for Baker Mayfield as well.
From Seattle Seahawks
Round 1 - Pick 10
Drake London WR
USC • Soph • 6'4" / 213 lbs
New York was involved in trade conversations for Tyreek Hill so there intentions of adding a wide receiver are clear and obvious. They may be looking for more speed at the position but London would be a great compliment to what they are aiming to do on offense. He serves as a quality replacement for Corey Davis whenever that time comes.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Malik Willis QB
Liberty • Soph • 6'1" / 219 lbs
Willis is the second quarterback off the board in this scenario after Kenny Pickett. It is hard to envision Carson Wentz being in the nation's capital for more than a year. Willis is a mobile quarterback that gives them a long-term option at the position. It may take him some time to develop as a passer but Wentz buys them some time.
Round 1 - Pick 12
LSU • Soph • 6'0" / 190 lbs
Minnesota signed Za'Darius Smith to pair with Danielle Hunter so that opens the door for them to address another critical defensive position. Stingley was once regarded as an eventual top three overall selection but injuries and COVID jarred that plan. The Vikings are taking a bit of a risk but, who isn't? Stingley could be the lockdown man coverage cornerback that they have been chasing for years.
From Cleveland Browns
Round 1 - Pick 13
Kayvon Thibodeaux EDGE
Oregon • Soph • 6'5" / 258 lbs
After adding a foundational piece to the offensive line, Houston adds a dynamic edge rusher that could develop into the best in the AFC South. There is not enough high end talent in this draft class to justify teams overthinking Thibodeaux's talent over some of the concerns that have been floating around.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Jordan Davis DL
Georgia • Soph • 6'6" / 336 lbs
Baltimore may have more of a need at the edge rusher position after losing out on Za'Darius Smith but Davis is that big body up the middle that they have deployed in their defense previously. He would free up Patrick Queen to make more plays in space.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Jermaine Johnson II EDGE
Florida State • Soph • 6'5" / 262 lbs
Philadelphia added Haason Reddick but those are two different roles and Johnson should end up on one end of the line opposite Josh Sweat. Johnson lacks high end athletic traits but is a sound player that should hold that role for quite some time.
From Indianapolis Colts
Round 1 - Pick 16
Georgia • Soph • 6'3" / 304 lbs
Philadelphia believes in building through the line of scrimmage. The hope is that Jermaine Johnson and Wyatt are the next Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox. The Eagles are not done with their first round makeover, however.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Alabama • Soph • 6'1" / 180 lbs
Williams is coming off an injury. Otherwise, he would have been taken higher. His speed will unlock that offense for Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. The league saw the impact of giving Joe Burrow three big-time wide receivers and now Los Angeles does the same for Justin Herbert.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Northern Iowa • Soph • 6'7" / 325 lbs
Terron Armstead has now officially moved on to the Dolphins and that leaves a void in New Orleans' offensive line. Rookie Landon Young performed well before getting injured in his debut so maybe they place more confidence in him this season but the addition of Penning would give them some insurance.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Devin Lloyd LB
Utah • Soph • 6'3" / 235 lbs
The Eagles add to the front seven with the addition of Lloyd. It is a unit with talent and depth following off-season additions of Haason Reddick, Devonte Wyatt and Jermaine Johnson. More importantly than the upcoming season, Philadelphia now has the future addressed.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Cincinnati • Soph • 6'3" / 207 lbs
By signing Mitchell Trubisky, Pittsburgh can draft a quarterback without the pressure of throwing him into the starting lineup immediately. When Trubisky was drafted by the Bears, it was a little over a month after the team had signed Mike Glennon in free agency. He could be experiencing that situation in reverse. The contract he received in free agency does not suggest long-term faith.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Chris Olave WR
Ohio State • Soph • 6'0" / 187 lbs
New England adds Olave as an outlet for Mac Jones. The Ohio State product is a trustworthy pass catcher that has been productive in the red zone. It will be interesting to see how the Patriots offense moves forward without Josh McDaniels but the transition is made easier with the addition of Olave.
From Las Vegas Raiders
Round 1 - Pick 22
Arkansas • Soph • 6'2" / 225 lbs
Green Bay is potentially replacing Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Randall Cobb, Amari Rodgers and Allen Lazard is not going to be enough for that team. Olave would have been a great addition but the Packers are able to retain some horsepower with the addition of Burks. Although his combine testing was not as expected, film shows a player capable of winning with speed and power.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Kaiir Elam CB
Florida • Soph • 6'1" / 191 lbs
Arizona is still working through its situation with Kyler Murray but plans for the upcoming season must continue. The group as a whole was very disappointing last season and the signing of Jeff Gladney does not necessarily wash away all concerns. Elam is a big, physical cornerback that offers stability at what has been a volatile position in recent years.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Iowa • Soph • 6'2" / 305 lbs
Dallas' offensive line is undergoing changes this offseason and it remains a work in progress. They have been cycling through options at center but Linderbaum could lock down that position for over a decade.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Washington • Soph • 5'11" / 193 lbs
Buffalo adds McDuffie, who is capable of playing on the boundary or in a nickelback role. The return of Tre'Davious White will be like getting a second first-round pick in that room. The Bills secondary should be in good shape despite the loss of Levi Wallace.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Nakobe Dean LB
Georgia • Soph • 5'11" / 231 lbs
Some NFL head coaches value physicality as a way of building a culture in the locker room. Dean is willing to do the dirty work while also working freely sideline to sideline. The defensive line was a strength last season and a healthy Bud Dupree, Harold Landry and Dean allows that strength to transition to the second level.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Zion Johnson OL
Boston College • Soph • 6'3" / 316 lbs
Tampa Bay has lost Alex Cappa and Ali Marpet this off-season. They countered by trading for Shaq Mason but the re-construction will be complete with the selection of Johnson. It is a physical group from left to right with Donovan Smith, Ryan Jensen and Tristan Wirfs joining Mason and Johnson.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Central Michigan • Soph • 6'6" / 303 lbs
After selecting Treylon Burks with the earlier first round pick, Green Bay adds Raimann to move into a starting role at right tackle. Billy Turner was brought in to replace Bryan Bulaga but that experiment ended in March. Raimann will be making a transition from left tackle but he has only been playing the position sine 2020 so it is different than taking a player that had been playing the position for 10 years.
From Miami Dolphins
Round 1 - Pick 29
Georgia • Soph • 6'3" / 200 lbs
Since Tyreek Hill has been traded, Kansas City has been looking for replacements. Marquez Valdes-Scantling could be added for speed but Pickens would give that offense a player capable of winning downfield alongside Travis Kelce.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Logan Hall DL
Houston • Soph • 6'6" / 283 lbs
Kansas City retained Frank Clark but the pass rush is still a concern. By adding Hall, the Chiefs would have two pass rushers capable of pushing the pocket from the interior. The athleticism of Chris Jones and Hall gives them ample opportunity to be creative with stunts.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Clemson • Soph • 6'0" / 194 lbs
Cincinnati did a great job of shopping for value additions to its defense last season but the goal should be to elevate the level of talent like they have done on the offensive side of the ball. Through offseason additions, the offensive line is in a much better place and that allows the team to use more assets on the other side of the ball.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 32
George Karlaftis EDGE
Purdue • Soph • 6'4" / 263 lbs
After taking Kyle Hamilton No. 2 overall, Detroit closes out the night with Karlaftis. He is a mature pass rusher that embodies the spirit Dan Campbell is looking for on that side of the ball. The combination of Romeo Okwara and Karlaftis, saddled with reserves Julian Okwara and Charles Harris, the Lions pass rush is in good shape to rotate and keep players fresh.