Posted March 29, 2013

2013 NFL Draft: First-round trades you may see

NFL Draft
Elite playmaker Tavon Austin could be a hot commodity early in the first round. (Rich Graessle/Icon SMI)

Elite playmaker Tavon Austin could be a hot commodity early in the first round. (Rich Graessle/Icon SMI)

During the run-up to the 2012 draft, much of the attention centered on the No. 2 overall pick. The Rams dangled that selection for the rest of the league, with Robert Griffin III as the bait, before the Redskins dealt away three first-round picks and a second-rounder to claim it.

There does not appear to be such drama in store this year, at least at the top of the draft. The main reason: The 2013 draft, while bereft of obvious superstars, is as deep as any in recent memory. So many of those trade talks may occur in Rounds 2, 3 and beyond.

But that does not mean that Round 1 will be a stick-to-the-script affair. Which teams might try to move up the draft board? We take a look at some candidates:

Arizona Cardinals (No. 7), Buffalo Bills (No. 8)
Target Player: QB Matt Barkley
Where He’s Expected to Go: Top 10

The quarterback situation at the top of this draft is a tough one to peg. Are the Jaguars or Raiders going to take a QB with the No. 2 or No. 3 pick, respectively? If not, then Geno Smith could be around when Cleveland goes on the clock at No. 6 … unless one of these two teams jumps.

And what’s the quarterback pecking order? The general consensus is that Smith is the top prospect available at that position, but there are definitely arguments to be made after that for Barkley, Ryan Nassib, Mike Glennon and others.

Keep an eye on Philadelphia (No. 4) and Detroit (No. 5). Should Arizona or Buffalo decide it’s time to get aggressive for a new quarterback, those would be the targeted picks. The Eagles or Lions might agree to slide down for a swap of first-rounders plus an additional pick later in the draft.

San Diego Chargers (No. 11)
Target Player: OT Lane Johnson
Where He’s Expected to Go: Shortly after Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher

While there’s uncertainty atop the quarterback draft board, the standing at offensive tackle is pretty clear. Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel and Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher represent the top two players there, in some order, with Johnson a not-too-distant third.

So, if Joeckel and Fisher come off the board within the first five or six picks, as is expected, that would put a premium on the Oklahoma product. San Diego, sitting at No. 11 in the first round, badly needs to upgrade along the offensive line and Johnson could be a great fit. But it might require the Chargers to make a move — both to leapfrog any other interested teams and to ensure that no other franchise can do the same.

St. Louis Rams (Nos. 16 and 22), Minnesota Vikings (Nos. 23 and 25), San Francisco 49ers (No. 31)
Target Player: WR Tavon Austin
Where He’s Expected to Go: Top 12

Austin continues to pick up steam as the draft approaches, with more and more teams becoming intrigued by the possibility of adding him to their offense.

The floor for Austin might be that No. 16 pick of St. Louis’. With the Rams holding two first-rounders and in need of receiver help (and, specifically, slot receiver help with Danny Amendola departing), Austin is a natural fit there. But that reality also gives several other teams a baseline from where to start their trade talks, while St. Louis could feel the pressure to climb even higher if Austin is the goal.

Minnesota, also with two first-rounders, is an obvious candidate to move. So, too, is San Francisco, which worked out Austin this week and has 15 draft picks with which to orchestrate a deal.

Chasing Austin could require a big move, though, as teams like Tampa Bay (13), New Orleans (15) and Pittsburgh (17) would at least toy with the idea of drafting the West Virginia WR. The aim here, then? Let’s set it at the Jets’ No. 9 selection.

Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 17)
Target Player: OLB Jarvis Jones
Where He’s Expected to Go: ????

Jones is one of the draft’s biggest wild cards. He has the talent of a top-five pick, but health concerns and so-so workouts left his draft stock in flux.

That could work to the Steelers’ benefit. Pittsburgh has lost more than its fair share of veterans lately, thanks to salary cap issues, with OLB James Harrison among the more recent cuts. While Pittsburgh may prefer to stay put and play it safe in this draft, the prospect of adding Jones might be too tantalizing to ignore, even if the Steelers think he’s going to be off the board before they pick.

Pittsburgh is not a team known for wheeling and dealing come the draft, but its needs on defense could shift the plan.

Chicago Bears (No. 20)
Target Player: G Jonathan Cooper
Where He’s Expected to Go: Top 20

The Bears hold the final selection in the top 20, so one of the draft’s two elite guards — Chance Warmack or Cooper — could fall into their laps. However, for a team that’s badly in need of an upgrade on the O-line, there will be some nervous moments should one of those two (likely Warmack) hear his name called early.

Chicago doesn’t figure to put all its chips on the table to move up a few spots, but a swap with, say, Miami at 12 or Carolina at 14 could be mutually beneficial.

Baltimore Ravens (No. 32)
Target Player: LB Kevin Minter or Manti Te’o
Where They’re Expected to Go: Late in Round 1

If Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome has taught us anything this offseason, it’s that he is more than happy to let the market come to him. Given that, maybe it’s unrealistic to consider Newsome packaging a couple picks for a small leap in Round 1.

And yet …

The Ravens remain in a relatively dire situation up the middle, where both Dannell Ellerbe (free agency) and Ray Lewis (retirement) are gone off last year’s Super Bowl team. Either Minter or Te’o — plus someone like Kansas State’s Arthur Brown — would greatly ease the transition into 2013.

If Minter and Te’o linger on the board deep into Round 1, then Baltimore can just sit tight and decide. Should one or the other land elsewhere (like Chicago at 20), the Ravens might attempt to parlay the No. 32 pick and a second- or third-rounder into a top-25 selection.

19 comments
joshwolff221
joshwolff221

Another article with little research. The Bears have five draft picks total, there is no way they can MOVE UP in the draft. 

Corey123
Corey123

I'm praying Jets trade #9 to Steelers for #17 and #50.  Then if we get #13 from TB we can potentially have picks #13, #17, #39, #50, #72, & #106.  

RamDurand
RamDurand

"Nine teams that may trade INTO the first round"

Um...sorry, guys. But your headline didn't match the article.

KCCOMO
KCCOMO

If the Cards draft Barkley after drafting Lienart and trading for Palmer...

RS1022
RS1022

I can see a team like Buffalo or the Cardinals trading into the end of the 1st round (pick 27 to 32) for Barkley. I'm sure New England and Denver will be the prime trade partners.

KravenMoorehead1
KravenMoorehead1

I am truly surprised here. Baltimore has only 1 glaring need that they will be pressed to fill and that position is Left OT. I could see Baltimore moving up to grab one of the top 4 OT's. With 12 Picks Ozzie could trade three of them away and still be likely to pull in several quality LB's and Safety's in the middle to late rounds. The Draft is full of decent LB's all the way through and Safety's are a low pay position.

jdbolick
jdbolick

No one is trading up for Geno Smith and Matt Barkley doesn't have a prayer of going in the top 10.  People like the author only remember the last two years, but it's more common for only one QB to be selected in the first ten picks.  Remember Jimmy Clausen, Joe Flacco, Brady Quinn, Aaron Rodgers, and Drew Brees?  Also, Tavon Austin won't be selected in the top 12 either.  He's actually shorter than Steve Smith and has limited experience running routes.  WVU mostly got him the ball close to the line of scrimmage and let him use his explosiveness from there.  He's a better version of Dexter McCluster.

Cougarblue
Cougarblue

Arizona takes Matt Barkley? Simply Idiotic, won't happen. USC QB's have been accross the board busts and the Cards have already learned a very hard and expensive lesson with Silly Axx, check-off artist Leinart. Name me just one USC QB to really reach their perceived potential? Don't bother with the Raisers Palmer, mental midget with a weak arm.

Delegator
Delegator

Buffalo has too many needs to trade up -- so, they will probably do exactly that, and then pick a player they could have had at 8 anyway.

DeeEmm1
DeeEmm1

I mentioned the possibility of the Saints taking a 2014 pick and leapfrogging San Diego for Lane Johnson on Reddit yesterday. My team isn't the only team that needs a left tackle, I expect someone to trade up to nab him, whether it's my Saints, the Chargers, or another team. I think Lane has a chance to be the best O-lineman to come out of this draft class, and no, I'm not a Sooner fan. No matter where he goes I'll keep an eye out on him, to me he looks like a perennial All-Pro, he's got the experience on both tackle spots and the measureables to be a beast for years.

MaxPower0102
MaxPower0102

I have liked the idea of the Cowboys trading the #18 pick to the Bengals for their 2 Second Round picks. By the "Value of a pick" chart, that is a dead-even deal. And it gives the Cowboys an extra body to throw at the changing D (from 3-4 to 4-3) or the O-Line. But since the Cowboys don't have any $$$ to sign anyone, much less additional people, not sure this still fits.

DeeEmm1
DeeEmm1

 @joshwolff221 They have draft picks in future drafts they can use to move up in this year's draft.

Thomas8
Thomas8

 @Cougarblue Weak arm? Maybe after the elbow surgery it's mediocre, but he had one of the strongest arms in the NFL before that.

Troll
Troll

 @DeeEmm1 I wonder what the likelyhood is of Philly trying to move LT Jason Peters after they nab Fisher @ #4? I'm not sure of cap situation but given that and his injury history the Saints could get a very solid OT (if healthy) for probably only a 4th or 5th rounder.

John4
John4

 @MaxPower0102 You don't need a lot of money to sign draft picks after the new agreement limiting rookies' salaries.  The Cowboys have plenty of money to sign an 18 overall pick.