The Houston Texans are presented with a golden opportunity to add foundational pieces within the top 10 as a result of the Deshaun Watson trade. The Seattle Seahawks are also in position to get a top-10 pick back as part of the Russell Wilson trade, but their own does not come until much later in the round. In today's thought exercise, we examine how those franchises can benefit by trading away a franchise quarterback.
The draft order below was determined using SportsLine's Super Bowl odds, but in reverse order. These are your team's betting odds of winning a Lombardi Trophy this season. Miami's selection at No. 25 overall was forfeited.
Without further ado, let's kick this off!
Round 1 - Pick 2
Round 1 - Pick 3
Will Levis QB
Kentucky • Sr • 6'3" / 232 lbs
Carolina is expected to move on from Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield after the season. Levis is not a finished product, but he possesses the size, arm strength and mobility to be a high-level quarterback in the NFL. The Panthers need to make the right head-coaching hire to support a young quarterback.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Jalen Carter DL
Georgia • Jr • 6'3" / 300 lbs
Quality interior defensive linemen are both high in demand and low in supply. Pittsburgh may have bigger needs, but it can not bypass a talent like Carter if it sticks and picks. It could be a destination for a team trading up to select C.J. Stroud. The Steelers should absolutely evaluate all quarterbacks and compare them to what they have in Kenny Pickett before making a decision.
From Denver Broncos
Round 1 - Pick 5
C.J. Stroud QB
Ohio State • Jr • 6'3" / 218 lbs
Geno Smith is playing at a high level, but opting out of taking a top quarterback talent in favor of a signal-caller having his best season at 32 years old is not a strategy I can get behind. Smith may do enough to be the team's starter for another year, but it is unreasonable to think he can play at this level for five more years. Plan for the future.
Round 1 - Pick 7
TCU • Jr • 6'4" / 215 lbs
Jacksonville adds size to the wide receiver room to support Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars can gain some financial flexibility in the coming years by parting with veteran contracts at the position.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Penn State • Soph • 6'6" / 321 lbs
Indianapolis has already swapped out head coach Frank Reich for Jeff Saturday. The Colts are in a less-than-ideal position needing four of the most important positions on the field: left tackle, quarterback, edge rusher and cornerback. One of those spots is filled here with Fashanu sliding in on the left side.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Ohio State • Jr • 6'6" / 310 lbs
Las Vegas does not have its starting right tackle solution on the roster. It is not simple making the transition from left to right tackle, but Johnson can do it in one offseason. It would be the third position in as many years for the ex-Buckeye.
From Cleveland Browns
Round 1 - Pick 10
Round 1 - Pick 11
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 12
From New Orleans Saints
Round 1 - Pick 13
Northwestern • Jr • 6'4" / 315 lbs
Skoronski is a bit of a luxury pick, but he has the flexibility to play any one of the five starting offensive line positions. There is value in having one player capable of fulfilling so many roles while taking up just one roster spot.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Texas • Jr • 6'0" / 220 lbs
Atlanta is not a Super Bowl contender and it is leaning on soon-to-be 32-year-old Cordarrelle Patterson at running back. There are more important positions to fill, but if the Falcons lean into building a difficult to defend offense, then at least it will be fun for fans until they do get a long-term quarterback in place.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Cam Smith CB
South Carolina • Jr • 6'0" / 188 lbs
Washington moved on from Dre Kirkpatrick at the NFL trade deadline, which created a hole on the defense. The Commanders defense has played well this season, but they could use an upgrade at the position.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Georgia • Soph • 6'4" / 310 lbs
Buzz about the Jets moving on from former first-round pick Mekhi Becton was rampant last offseason so the injury likely did not help the situation. New York may need to upgrade both offensive tackle spots in the not-too-distant future, and the need to do that in the same offseason can be daunting. Jones solidifies one of those roles.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Round 1 - Pick 19
Ohio State • Jr • 6'1" / 200 lbs
Ohio State wide receivers have come into the league ready to contribute, from Michael Thomas to Terry McLaurin to Garrett Wilson to Chris Olave. New England has been pulling wide receivers out of the bargain bin in recent years. If the Patriots want to give Mac Jones a fair chance, then he needs some players capable of making an impact.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Georgia • Jr • 6'7" / 270 lbs
Los Angeles adds a big-bodied pass catcher who can make an impact in both the run and pass games. Defenses will have a hard time defending the length of the Chargers offense with Mike Williams, Keenan Allen and now Washington.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Tyree Wilson EDGE
Texas Tech • Sr • 6'6" / 275 lbs
Bud Dupree and Harold Landry have played a combined 203 defensive snaps this season. Without a long-term answer on the roster, the Titans bring in Wilson to provide length while creating long-term financial flexibility.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Texas A&M • Jr • 6'3" / 195 lbs
Safety Mike Edwards is scheduled to hit free agency this offseason. If Tampa Bay does not retain him, then it creates a void in the secondary. Johnson is not the ideal complement to Antoine Winfield Jr. but his talent justifies being taken in this range.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Round 1 - Pick 27
Illinois • Jr • 6'0" / 180 lbs
Injuries have hampered the Baltimore secondary in recent years. Peters is in the final year of his contract and will turn 30 years old by the end of the season. Witherspoon is a savvy, productive player for the Illini.
From San Francisco 49ers
Round 1 - Pick 29
Jared Verse EDGE
Florida State • Soph • 6'4" / 248 lbs
Denver will evaluate a trio of young pass rushers -- Jonathon Cooper, Baron Browning and Nik Bonitto -- through the remainder of the season. Veteran Randy Gregory will turn 31 next season and it becomes more feasible for the team to get out of his contract each year.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Jahmyr Gibbs RB
Alabama • Jr • 5'11" / 200 lbs
While Kansas City may have lost a lot in wide receiver Tyreek Hill, it can supplement the roster as a whole by adding multiple players capable of matching that lost production. Gibbs has an Alvin Kamara-like skill set that Andy Reid should have no problem maximizing.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Brian Branch CB
Alabama • Jr • 6'0" / 193 lbs
Versatility is the theme for Philadelphia in this draft class. The Eagles added Peter Skoronski earlier in the round and he is capable of playing every position up and down the offensive line. Branch is similarly flexible and can fulfill a variety of roles in that Philadelphia secondary.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Florida • Jr • 6'5" / 347 lbs
Buffalo continues its investment in Josh Allen by adding a plug-and-play offensive guard. Torrence is a bully who has benefitted from having another year of tutelage under his current (and former at Louisiana) offensive line coach, Rob Sale.