Today I’m going to do something I’ve never done before. A mock draft with trades.
Considering the fruitless nature of trying to predict 32 picks anyway, I thought I might as well throw in a few deals to change the angle of the debate.
There’s a good chance we’ll see 8-10 trades in the first round this year, giving the whole thing a completely different feel. There’s no fear factor over acquiring early picks since the new CBA was installed. Teams are more than happy to move up. And I think we’ll see a few significant moves in 2013.
Let’s put it this way — there are no obvious elite picks this year. No Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Jadeveon Clowney or even Cam Newton. So what we could see are teams with needs at the premium positions moving up in cheap(ish) deals to make sure they don’t leave empty handed. Teams who are comfortable at quarterback or left tackle could conceivably be willing to move down given the defensive depth in this draft.
Below you’ll find today’s mock including all the deals (trades are highlighted by ** after the players name). At the bottom of the piece I’ve listed the nine different trades I included with a short blurb for each.
|#1 Dion Jordan (DE, Oregon)
They try and trade down, but why would you need to get ahead of Jacksonville? Dion Jordan + Tamba Hali = a way to stop Peyton Manning.
|#2 Geno Smith (QB, West Virginia) **
Buddy Nix said his team might have to move up this year to get their guy. They trade ahead of Oakland to secure Geno Smith.
|#3 Sharrif Floyd (DT, Florida)
With Geno Smith off the board they take the best defensive lineman available.
|#4 Dee Milliner (CB, Alabama) **
Martin Mayhew makes sure he gets a complete cornerback by swapping picks with Philly.
|#5 Eric Fisher (T, Central Michigan) **
It’s easy to forget what a shambles Philly’s offensive line was last year. Having convinced Detroit to swap picks, they take Fisher at #5.
|#6 Luke Joeckel (T, Texas A&M) **
Sensing an opportunity, San Diego trades up to nail the left tackle position indefinitely.
|#7 Matt Barkley (QB, USC)
After the fiasco of 2012, don’t expect Arizona to do anything but draft a quarterback here.
|#8 Star Lotulelei (DT, Utah) **
Assuming he checks out medically, Lotulelei could play the one or five technique in Gus Bradley’s defense.
|#9 Chance Warmack (G, Alabama)
The Jets might play it safe with the long term future of Rex Ryan unclear. Go back to the run on offense. Start by drafting Warmack.
|#10 Jonathan Cooper (G, North Carolina)
Not the flashiest pick but Tennessee’s pass rush isn’t as bad as people think.
|#11 Ziggy Ansah (DE, BYU) **
They could’ve taken him at #6 but they still get their guy despite moving down.
|#12 Bjoern Werner (DE, Florida State)
Werner won’t fall too far. He makes a nice partner for Cameron Wake.
|#13 Sheldon Richardson (DT, Missouri) **
Monte Kiffin loves this guy, so the always-aggressive Jerry Jones moves up again.
|#14 Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, Tennessee)
Disappointed that Richardson is off the board, they address a different need at receiver instead.
|#15 Lane Johnson (T, Oklahoma) **
Unless they sign Jake Long, they need to be aggressive to get a blind-side blocker. They have to consider trading up.
|#16 Tavon Austin (WR, West Virginia)
They want weapons on offense. Here’s a weapon.
|#17 Kenny Vaccaro (S, Texas)
This is a nice fit for player and team.
|#18 Xavier Rhodes (CB, Florida State) **
They can move down a few spots and still get a cornerback.
|#19 Alec Ogletree (LB, Georgia)
Some team will bite on Ogletree in the top-20
|#20 Barkevious Mingo (DE, LSU) **
Trading down five spots doesn’t hurt the Saints — they still get an edge rusher for the 3-4.
|#21 D.J. Fluker (T, Alabama)
I’m not a fan personally, but then I was never really a fan of Andre Smith either.
|#22 Eddie Lacy (RB, Alabama)
If they’re losing Steven Jackson, then they’ll need a big, physical runner to compete in the NFC West.
|#23 Manti Te’o (LB, Notre Dame)
Rick Spielman has already hit on two other Notre Dame players. Will he try and make it a hat-trick?
|#24 Datone Jones (DT, UCLA) **
They have enough picks to target a defensive lineman and move up.
|#25 Justin Hunter (WR, Tennessee) **
With the pick they got from Atlanta for trading Revis, the Jets trade above Green Bay to get a much needed receiver.
|#26 Tyler Eifert (TE, Notre Dame)
Donald Driver’s retired, Jermichael Finley might be cut and Greg Jennings is a free agent. They could go for a pass catcher here.
|#27 Kevin Minter (LB, LSU)
Solid, productive inside linebacker.
|#28 Desmond Trufant (CB, Washington)
After a horror show in the playoffs, Denver needs to re-boot that secondary.
|#29 Menelik Watson (T, Florida State) **
They need a tackle almost as much as they need a quarterback. Trading up to address the gaping hole at left tackle is a must.
|#30 Jarvis Jones (DE, Georgia) **
Stenosis could lead to a fall. Working out where he goes is like trying to finish a Rubik’s cube.
|#31 Travis Frederick (G, Wisconsin) **
They need to bulk up the interior offensive line.
|#32 Corey Lemonier (DE, Auburn)
Should they lose Paul Kruger in free agency, finding an edge rusher will become a priority.
There are nine trades in this week’s mock:
1 – Atlanta trades #30 and a conditional 2014 pick to New York for Darrelle Revis
Thomas Dimitroff is no stranger to big moves (see: Julio Jones). Long before the draft they win the Revis sweepstakes by giving the Jets a first round pick this year and throwing in a conditional second rounder for 2014.
2 – Buffalo trades up from #8 to #2 with Jacksonville (estimated compensation – second round pick)
With Oakland speculated to be showing interest in Geno Smith, the Bills could be pro-active to make sure they get their man. GM Buddy Nix has openly admitted this might be the year to make it happen at the quarterback position. Jacksonville can afford to move down and still improve their pass rush. They have a lot of needs, so acquiring the #41 pick to go with the #33 in round two makes sense.
3 – Detroit trades up from #5 to #4 with Philadelphia (estimated compensation, late round pick)
The Lions make sure they get Milliner by flipping picks with the Eagles for minimal compensation. Philly could use a cornerback, but they might have their eye on other needs. That won’t stop them attempting to lull the Lions into a deal. Minnesota successfully scared Cleveland into swapping picks last year for Trent Richardson. It’s a small price to pay to get your guy.
4 – San Diego trades up from #11 to #6 with Cleveland (estimated compensation, third round pick plus)
With Luke Joeckel still on the board and the Chargers wondering what Arizona will do, they move up to secure a much needed left tackle. Cleveland hasn’t got a second round selection so accumulating another pick in round three makes sense. This would be a good deal for both parties, win-win.
5 – Dallas trades up from #18 to #13 with Tampa Bay (estimated compensation, mid rounder)
Jerry Jones is always willing to be aggressive on draft day. Monte Kiffin was equally aggressive in trying to get Sheldon Richardson to de-commit from Missouri and switch to USC. They need to get the right players to make this switch to a 4-3 work. Richardson surely won’t get past Carolina at #14? Tampa Bay can still get a corner at #18 while also hurting a division rival if the Panthers are targeting Richardson. It could make for a cheap trade with Dallas.
6 – Chicago trades up from #20 to #15 with New Orleans (estimated compensation, mid/late round package)
Unless they want to make a move for Jake Long next week, the Bears are running out of options to protect Jay Cutler. If they see Fisher, Joeckel, Warmack and Cooper leave the board in the top ten, they better get ready to move up. The Saints are down on picks due to the bounty scandal so might be willing to talk about a trade. St. Louis could take Johnson at #16 while other teams (Cincinnati?) may also show interest. Trading up eliminates the competition for Chicago.
7 – San Francisco trades up from #31 to #24 with Indianapolis (estimated compensation, mid rounder)
The 49ers know they need to bolster their defensive front and have enough picks to make a deal. Datone Jones could have a big impact at the five technique and might be the heir apparent for Justin Smith. San Francisco will suspect interest from Seattle, and you just know Harbaugh would love to get one over the Seahawks here. If Indianapolis is looking seriously at Travis Frederick, they can probably afford to trade down first.
8 – New York trades up from #30 to #25 with Seattle (estimated compensation, late rounder)
John Idzik rings his old buddies in Seattle and works out a ‘mates rates’ trade. The Jets need a pass rusher, but they also need to kick start a rank bad offense. Justin Hunter is trending upwards after the combine and could be a target for Green Bay. The Jets swoop in first. Without much competition for pass rushers in the late first round, the Seahawks can afford to move down even if the deal isn’t great (eg, 4th or 5th rounder).
9 Arizona trades up from #38 to #29 with New England (estimated compensation, mid round pick plus)
The Cardinals know they have to get a left tackle and the options remaining are running thin. Similar to Tampa Bay going up to get Doug Martin last year, Arizona takes no chances here and makes a move at the end of day one. Menelik Watson is the best option available and they get the job done so they can relax over night. New England — despite moving up twice in round one last year — always appear willing to move down.
So what about the Seattle’s first pick?
In this scenario, I’m projecting they would’ve shown serious interest in Datone Jones until San Francisco moved up to get him. Accessing that there are still plenty of options at defensive end, tackle, tight end and receiver, the opportunity to move down appears attractive. The new-found connections in New York help things along.
It really came down to two players at #30 — Jarvis Jones and Corey Lemonier.
For the last few weeks, I’ve had Jones dropping out of the first round. This isn’t a wishful attempt to give the Seahawks one of biggest names in the draft. I think we’ve gone through enough different options so far to make that a moot point.
I do believe he’ll suffer a fall on draft day. Stenosis is a bad word in the NFL. While some teams will be willing to take a chance (they always are) others will be wary of the condition making it a short-term investment. Teams picking in the top-20 will have alternatives. It’s just a case of which team is going to take the chance and at what point in the draft.
If he falls into the late first, the Seahawks might be the team. Yes — Pete Carroll has the whole USC history with Jones. And I still think there’s an extremely good chance that’ll stop Seattle considering Jones in round one. However, as discussed in yesterday’s piece — he’s a grown man and nobody is forcing him to pursue a career in the NFL. I think it comes down to the percentage risk of a life threatening injury. If the stenosis is always liable to end his career prematurely, that’s one thing. If it’s liable to ruin his life forever, that’s quite another. I’m not a doctor, I don’t understand the full consequences here. The player himself could fall, but he’s also good enough to be named among 2013’s top prospects. So how do you balance everything out? And will he even be a part of Seattle’s draft board to begin with?
There’s a lot’s of things at stake here that’ll determine whether he’s part of Seattle’s plans. Availability, diagnosis, need. Again, it’s something we discussed at length yesterday. Could it happen? Only another 50 days to find out.