Trade talk heating up around league with draft a week away
Mock drafts are likely to be run through the wringer with NFL trade talk heating up on a number of fronts.
With the draft a week away, trade action will continue to pick up, and plenty of scenarios are under review.
The Dolphins are exploring a trade for Chiefs tackle Branden Albert, sources say; the Jets are still considering a move for Saints restricted free-agent running back Chris Ivory; and the Bucs are shopping running back LeGarrette Blount.
Oh, and Tampa Bay is still well-positioned to deal its first-round pick and more to the Jets for corner Darrelle Revis. Many teams, when doing their mock drafts, are doing versions with the Jets already holding that 13th pick, given the ongoing Revis talks.
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If New York ends up getting Tampa Bay's pick to go with its ninth overall pick, some execs believe the team could end up taking two West Virginia offensive stars -- quarterback Geno Smith and receiver Tavon Austin, if they were available at those spots.
Several teams are open to dropping down, including the Raiders (third overall) and the Lions (fifth overall), and, as Sports Illustrated reported, the Falcons are considering making a massive leap to the top of the first round, similar to jumping up to select Julio Jones a few years ago. The Lions, according to sources, are particularly open to falling back into the 20s. At this point, Atlanta seems to be targeting teams in the top five, sources said.
The Falcons are high on pass rusher Dion Jordan from Oregon and cornerback Dee Milliner from Alabama, sources said. Both are seen as the best at their position by many -- with a considerable drop-off -- and both are acute needs for the Falcons, who believe they are on the cusp of a title and are operating as if they are a player or two away (as the Jones trade evidenced).
The Falcons are also keeping cap room available and budget for the eventual extension coming for quarterback Matt Ryan. But under this new CBA, even top-five picks are huge bargains if they pan out. Atlanta cut starting right tackle Tyson Clabo recently to help create more room, and Clabo is an option for Miami, if it doesn't land Albert, and Dallas is also exploring tackle options as well, with Doug Free still a potential cut there.
Tackle Eric Winston is seeking around $4 million a year and has been unable to land that, though teams are monitoring him as well.
Overall, teams are bracing for a host of trades during the draft, which can obviously cause mock projections to change greatly as the order of teams selecting changes on the fly.
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