NFL: Likely Trades During the First Round of the NFL Draft

Every year, during the NFL Draft, teams make trades. Sometimes these trades happen before the Draft, as teams acquire pieces for help during the season. Ultimately, this is what all trades are about – improving the team. And the first round is usually the most exciting and surprising.

Every year, a number of mock drafts are presented. All mock drafts are different scenarios and predictions. It’s all about strong possibilities that can happen in the Draft, especially in the first round. Here are some trades that have a high chance of happening during Round 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Cincinnati Bengals Trade Down from First Overall

The widely held belief is that the Bengals are drafting Quarterback Joe Burrow with the first overall pick. But the team has many needs on their roster, and there is speculation Burrow doesn’t want to play in Cincinnati. Trading out of the spot, adding extra picks, and avoiding a messy situation with Burrow is a win-win for the Bengals. Moreover, moving down a few spots would potentially keep the Bengals in the race for one of the remaining top QBs, such as Tua Tagovailoa or Jordan Love.

The Bengals won’t want to drop too far. But if an offer is too good to refuse is made – such as Miami Dolphins offering their three first-round picks – can the Bengals really say no? This would let them pick up multiple top-level talents and jumpstart their rebuild.

Equally, the Bengals could potentially drop down several spots and trade back up to still land Tagovailoa. With incumbent QB Andy Dalton under contract, the Bengals could afford to let Tagovailoa sit for a year as he recovers from injury and write off 2020 with Dalton as the starter. Ultimately, the Bengals are staying within the top five picks no matter what happens.

Washington Redskins Trade Down from Second Overall

The Redskins have been projected to pick Defensive End Chase Young, despite it being one of the best positions on their roster. With QB sweepstakes every year driving the value of the top ten selections up, Washington could choose to cash in. As teams vie for Burrow and Tagovailoa, the Redskins hold all the cards and can ask for a king’s ransom.

Trading down makes more sense than just acquiring extra picks too. As stated, Young would make the DL a loaded position group for Washington. But sliding down a few spots would help the Redskins target Offensive Linemen or Wide Receivers instead, both bigger needs for the team. There’s even a chance the Redskins could drop two or three spots and still land Young if they really wanted him.

Detroit Lions Trade Down from Third Overall

If the first two spots both see QBs get taken, the Lions have many options on their plate. Alternatively, if nobody wants to jump up for Tagovailoa, Detroit also could field calls for the QB. Staying where they are would allow them to draft Young, but like Cincinnati, they have many needs on their roster. Acquiring additional picks would greatly benefit the Lions. If the Draft starts with Burrow and Young as the first two picks, the Lions can look at Cornerback Jeffrey Okudah or an OL.

However, they can still get Okudah or a top OL if they don’t slide too far. With teams like Miami, Carolina Panthers, and Los Angeles Chargers looking to pounce, Detroit doesn’t have to leave the top ten. Dropping back a few spots, landing Okudah and an additional first-rounder (potentially in 2021) would be a victory for the Lions.

Miami Dolphins Trade Up

As covered above, the Dolphins are clearly gunning for a QB in the Draft. With three Round 1 picks, they can afford to pay whatever the cost to get their guy. Although they could be patient and see if anyone else moves up, they have the ammunition to trade into one of the few spots above them at fifth overall.

The question really is what will it take for the Dolphins to land their prey? Moving up to third overall may take two Round 1 picks and an additional one in a later round. Alternatively, second overall could cost all three Round 1 picks, depending on how competitive other teams want to be.

Even if they stay at fifth, the Dolphins could flip their other picks to get their top targets. Potentially they could move up or down from the eighteenth pick, depending on how the Draft goes. Likewise, their pick at twenty-six could also be used to move around if they need to. With the most picks in the entire Draft with twelve, the Dolphins control the Draft and will force other teams to react to their strategy.

New England Patriots Trade Down from Twenty-Third Overall

Although they have plenty of picks in the late rounds of the Draft, the Patriots have just two picks until Round 4. Picking in the late part of Round 1, New England could look to move down for a team trying to jump back into Round 1. The Patriots have needs across the roster but will want starter talent, not the backups they’ll largely get on Day 3 of the Draft.

New England could potentially also be looking to load up for a final tilt with Tom Brady at QB. Teams like the Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks, who have multiple Round 2 picks, could be potential trade partners for the Patriots. With the Colts, the Patriots would only drop eleven spots, and with Seattle, four spots if they swap first-rounders. Both would be worthwhile for New England if it means an additional pick on Day 2.

Baltimore Ravens Trade Down from Twenty-Eighth Overall

The Ravens have been synonymous with trades during the Draft for years. Although they are desperate for pass-rushing talent, they will be keeping an eye on how the Draft is forming and will look to move down if it isn’t looking friendly for them. If a top pass rusher isn’t going to be available, or they’ll have to reach for one, Baltimore will seek more suitable value for the pick.

Although they won’t want to move down too far, the Ravens should have plenty of willing trade partners. Depending on who is still looking for a QB, Baltimore could slide into the first several picks of Round 2 and get the same player they would have taken anyway. Similar to their own trade up for Lamar Jackson in 2018, the Ravens could see teams make a move to try and jump ahead of someone else targeting the second tier of QBs. The Colts, Chargers, Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars each pick in the top ten of Round 2. They are likely to try and edge each other out by getting into the back end of Round 1 for a QB such as Jacob Eason.

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