Cleveland Browns – Target: Quarterback
Of all the teams in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft that have the means and the motive to move up, it’s the Cleveland Browns. They currently hold two first round picks, the 4th overall and another from Indianapolis. Additionally they have two third round choices. That given them plenty of ammunition to move up as high as they want to go after a player of their choosing. Both the Houston Texans and St. Louis Rams are interested in moving down, and the Browns are in sore need of a quarterback. Whether it’s Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel the Browns can best gauge where each player would likely land and make their move accordingly.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Target: Pass Rusher
This will be one of the more interesting teams to watch. On paper the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a very strong roster in place. New head coach Lovie Smith should work wonders for their talented defense but is lacking one very noticeable thing: a pass rusher. Defensive end is a weak point for the Bucs and was a big reason why their strong secondary led by Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson failed to make more impact plays. Holding the #7 pick, TampaBay is in good position to make a run at South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney who would be a perfect fit for the Tampa 2 defense Smith will install. Putting him next to Gerald McCoy could give them one of the most dominant defensive fronts in football, something that is demanded in Smith’s scheme. Since they don’t have many other holes to fill, they could sell out their 2014 draft to get Clowney.
New York Jets – Target: Wide Receiver
The 2014 NFL draft is rich in quality wide receivers but three names really stand alone at the top in Sammy Watkins, Marqise Lee and Mike Evans. Geno Smith is in desperate need of better weapons for the New York Jets and getting a dynamic playmaker in the first round is the obvious course of action. The issue is New York doesn’t select until 18th. By that point all three could be gone. Luckily some lasting fruits of the Revis trade may help. The Jets possess two third round picks that help add up to a total of 12. They wouldn’t have to move too far up to get one of those receiver, perhaps to St. Louis at #13 or Chicago at #14 at the cost of a third and maybe a fifth or sixth rounder. In return Smith gets his go-to guy who can take advantage of the attention heaped on the Jets ground game.
San Francisco 49ers – Target: Defensive Line
It’s hard to know whether the San Francisco 49ers have reason to trade up. Their roster is among the strongest in the league yet they still hold two second and two third round picks along with a host of seventh rounders. So if they have desire to move up it would have to be for a can’t-miss player. On the other hand, the team does lack explosiveness at wide receiver despite the success of Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin. They also can’t ignore defensive stalwart Justin Smith is getting old and it would really give them insurance if they could add a high end defensive line prospect to the pipeline. Perhaps an aggressive push for Stephon Tuitt out of Notre Dame or even an all-out rush to get Sammy Watkins aren’t out of the question with this team. Much may depend on how things go for them in the playoffs.