One thing that has made the pro football drafts so exciting is the ever possible occurrence of trades, adding spice and sizzle to a frenzied atmosphere. Which teams can be expected to do some wheeling and dealing in the 2014 NFL draft?
Cleveland Browns – Trade Direction: Up
If any team is likely to make an aggressive move up the board, and has the picks to do it, then the Cleveland Browns rank at the top. Thanks to their trading of Trent Richardson, they have two picks in the first round along with two third and two fourth rounders as well. Sitting at #6 in the current order, they would be ideally positioned to make a move for a quarterback, by far their biggest needs. Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr both are expected to go in that area and they’ll have other teams like Minnesota, Houston and Jacksonville seeking them as well. If the Browns are intent on getting their franchise quarterback early, then they may have to climb to the top to get him.
St. Louis Rams – Trade Direction: Down
Trading is something St. Louis Rams GM Les Snead loves to do. After all, the talented young roster he has put together comes courtesy of a blockbuster deal he made with the Washington Redskins for the rights to Robert Griffin III. Current projections have the Rams holding the #3 and #11 picks. Knowing Snead and his preferences, it’s likely he will try to move down from one of those spots, more likely the 11th in order to collect picks for later or for the 2015 draft. Much can change over the next three weeks but at present in looks like the Rams could have teams interested in their picks if the players fall right.
Chicago Bears – Trade Direction: Down
If any team would prefer to move down in the 2014 NFL draft, it’s the Chicago Bears. The reasoning is simple. They have 30 players scheduled to become free agents. While that doesn’t mean they’ll all be gone, it does mean GM Phil Emery would love to fill some of those vacancies with some talented, young, cheap players from college. That will require more picks than the seven they currently have. As of the moment they hold the 17th pick, which isn’t ideal territory unless the right player draws interest from another team. Jumping up a few spots would help the cause, and give Emery a real chance to reshape the roster and rebuild an aging defense.
San Francisco 49ers – Trade Direction: Up
With their roster deepened by a cornucopia of picks in 2013, the San Francisco 49ers can feel a little more confident in being aggressive next May. They have two second and two third round picks at their disposal and a clear need for help at wide receiver. Rather than settling for a late first round option, they could go after a bigger prize such as Marqise Lee of USC or the big Mike Evans out of Texas A&M. Such targets would lend a huge hand to Colin Kaepernick in the fierce battles with those NFC West defenses. There may also be other players who could drop the 49ers may have eyes for.
Atlanta Falcons – Trade Direction: Down
There is a very good chance the Atlanta Falcons can draft Jadeveon Clowney, in which case they would be stupid to move down considering how poor their pass rush is. However, if the situation doesn’t fall their way, GM Mike Dimitroff must think about moving down. Atlanta sacrificed a lot of currency in recent drafts, most notably to acquire star receiver Julio Jones. Besides that they have more than one position that needs attention in order to get their Super Bowl aspirations back on track. Having a top five pick certainly allows for cashing in on a deal.