There are a couple of early trades this year that make a ton of sense.
Last year we experimented with ‘trade’ mocks and it’s something I intend to do again. Why not have a play around instead of churning out the same thing over and over again?
This week I’ve included just a couple of moves — right at the top.
Houston and St. Louis have both made it abundantly clear they want to deal down.
It shouldn’t be a big surprise.
The Texans don’t have a pressing need for a brilliant pass rusher like Jadeveon Clowney — they already have the best in the league. They do need a quarterback, but theoretically they could trade down and still get the QB they really want.
The Rams say they’re sticking with Sam Bradford. They also don’t need a pass rusher with Robert Quinn and Chris Long two of the best around. They can move down and still get an offensive tackle — the position most people expect them to target.
It really does make absolute sense for both teams to find a trade partner — and this year there could be some takers.
I can see three or four teams talking themselves into needing Johnny Manziel. He’s the best playmaker in the draft, the most exciting quarterback available and even if he defies convention — teams shouldn’t be scared off by that any more.
(see: Russell Wilson)
Would Houston take Manziel at #1? Very possible. But I just get the sense Bill O’Brien wants a more orthodox passer. It’s what he’s used to working with. Big, tall quarterbacks who can sling it from the pocket.
Maybe I’m wrong there? I’m just guessing. But I think a lot of people believe Blake Bortles will be O’Brien’s guy. It just seems like a good fit. And he’s well aware of him after UCF’s 34-31 victory at Penn State in September, where Bortles completed 74% of his passes and scored three touchdowns.
If a team like the Browns, for example, are pining for Manziel — it’s time to make a trade. It might not include the two first rounders owned by Cleveland, but some sort of package makes sense and probably suits both teams.
That way Houston gets the player they want at #4 with some extra draft stock included for good measure. Cleveland leapfrogs not only the Jaguars — who could show interest in Manziel — but also the Rams, who would almost certainly be fielding calls from teams looking to draft Manziel.
After firing the old front office for failing to make a deal for Robert Griffin III, Cleveland’s brain trust might be a bit more aggressive here.
If Jadeveon Clowney is still on the board at #2 — St. Louis suddenly is in a strong position. We have to assume he won’t get past Jacksonville at #3.
Teams like Atlanta at #6 and Minnesota at #8 are likely to be in the market for a pass rusher. Oakland, Tampa Bay and Tennessee could also be interested.
If any of them want Clowney badly enough, they’ll pick up the phone.
The Rams could move down a few spots, grab some stock (let’s say an extra second rounder) and still land an offensive tackle like Jake Matthews or Greg Robinson.
In both scenarios it’s win-win.
Since the new CBA kicked in we haven’t seen quite as much movement as we expected, aside from the blockbuster RGIII deal.
This might be the year where it really takes off.
Who knows? Maybe we’ll see the #1 pick dealt for the first time in a long time?
It’s something worth discussing anyway.
|TRADE #1 Johnny Manziel (QB, Cleveland)
The Browns trade places with Houston and get the best playmaker in the draft.
|TRADE #2 Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina)
The Falcons need a stud on defense. They’re also no stranger to a big trade. This makes a ton of sense.
|#3 Anthony Barr (DE, UCLA)
Gus Bradley could use a great edge rusher. I have my doubts about Barr, but physically he has a ton of upside.
|#4 Blake Bortles (QB, UCF)
After trading down a few spots, Bill O’Brien gets the quarterback that best suits his offensive scheme.
|#5 Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson)
He could shoot up boards after the combine. Oakland also needs a quarterback and should target one at the top of round two.
|#6 Jake Matthews (T, Texas A&M)
The Rams can afford to move down and still get one of the top offensive tackles on the board.
|#7 Greg Robinson (T, Auburn)
Fantastic prospect. Elite athletic qualities. Looks like a complete stud. He’s a better prospect than Matthews for me.
|#8 Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Louisville)
The Vikings will be pretty fortunate if one of the top three quarterbacks falls into their lap.
|#9 Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M)
The more I watch Evans, the more convinced I am he’s a top ten pick and a true #1 receiver.
|#10 Marqise Lee (WR, USC)
Just a really good, competitive football player. Would look great alongside Megatron.
|#11 Cyrus Kouandjio (T, Alabama)
Kouandjio and Robinson are the top two tackles for me. If he lasts this long it’d be a steal.
|#12 Tyler Lewan (T, Michigan)
Solid if unspectacular tackle prospect. Just a good, honest football player.
|#13 Darqueze Dennard (CB, Michigan State)
The Rams could use another corner and Dennard looks like the best in this class.
|#14 Ra’Shede Hageman (DT, Minnesota)
He will dominate at the Senior Bowl and secure a place in the top-20 next May.
|#15 Antonio Richardson (T, Tennessee)
Massive tackle prospect. Could be the next Anthony Davis, minus the outspoken Tweets.
|#16 Khalil Mack (LB, Buffalo)
I’m not completely sold on Mack, but the Ravens have a lot of needs including adding another pass rusher.
|#17 Louis Nix (DT, Notre Dame)
He’s not dominated in 2013 and it’s a concern. Has he added too much bad weight?
|#18 Eric Ebron (TE, North Carolina)
Modern day tight end. Would provide a much needed weapon for the Jets offense.
|#19 Cedric Ogbuehi (T, Texas A&M)
Reports say he’ll stay at A&M for another year. If he chooses to declare he’ll likely be a first rounder.
|#20 Cameron Erving (T, Florida State)
Converted defensive lineman. Having a good year. Might not turn pro this year but we’ll wait and see.
|#21 C.J. Mosley (LB, Alabama)
Green Bay’s defense badly needs an upgrade. Mosley would be a nice presence at inside linebacker.
|#22 Brent Urban (DE, Virginia)
Chip Kelly likes defenders with length and speed.
|#23 Jace Amaro (TE, Texas Tech)
A difficult one to work out. Just how athletic is he? There’s no doubting his reliable hands.
|#24 Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma State)
He’s had a productive year. I’ve only seen one of his games but came away impressed
|#25 Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio State)
Roby didn’t have a great 2013 season but I’m a believer.
|#26 Odell Beckham Jr (WR, LSU)
Could provide a dynamic double threat with Josh Gordon.
|#27 Xavier Su’a-Filo (G, UCLA)
Big upside prospect with his best years ahead.
|#28 Brandon Coleman (WR, Rutgers)
Huge upside, could be another Josh Gordon. Bill Belichick loves to draft Rutgers’ players.
|#29 Kelvin Benjamin (WR, Florida State)
I’m not a huge fan. Too inconsistent. But he’s the big bodied wide out Carolina currently lacks.
|#30 Zack Martin (T/G, Notre Dame)
I really, really like this guy. He can play tackle in the NFL for me. Top-20 grade.
|#31 Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE, Washington)
Earlier this week I wrote about why this could be an option. Big, orthodox tight end who can make plays.
|#32 Vic Beasley (DE, Clemson)
Underrated speed rusher who can cause havoc in the backfield. Huge production in the last two years.