The 2017 NFL Draft is less than two weeks away and things have gotten awful quiet on that front. That usually means we’re going to see an explosion of moves once teams finally get on the clock.
Here’s a look at five trades we think should happen during the first round of this year’s draft.
1. Cleveland Browns trade 12th and 52nd picks to New England Patriots for Jimmy Garoppolo and the 72nd pick
With the 12th pick the Patriots select Temple linebacker Haason Reddick.
Unless you believe Tom Brady is retiring after the 2017 season, Jimmy Garoppolo is expendable. The Browns need a quarterback badly and the Patriots need a first-round pick after sending the 32nd selection to the Saints for Brandin Cooks. The Pats also wind up getting a second-rounder in this deal, something they don’t have in this year’s draft.
Reddick is a perfect Patriots player. He’s a guy who could play all over the field in various fronts and despite being smallish (6’1″ and 237 pounds) he’s fast (4.52 40), and athletic (36.5-inch vertical, 11’1″ broad jump). He also finished the 2016 season with 22.5 tackles for loss. He’s the kind of hard working playmaker New England needs to add to its front.
2. Buffalo Bills trade 10th pick, 75th pick (3rd round) and 2018 2nd round pick to San Francisco 49ers for No. 2 pick
With the second pick the Buffalo Bills select North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
If the Bills truly are in love with Trubisky, they should go all-in and get him. They may have to trade up to land him and going all the way to No. 2 would ensure no one jumps head of them to do it. The 49ers have so many needs to fill that trading down and stockpiling picks makes the most sense here.
This move would give the Bills stability at quarterback. Clearly they no longer believe in Tyrod Taylor and drafting Trubisky could lead to a subsequent trade that sends Taylor packing.
3. New Orleans Saints trade 11th pick and 42nd pick to Tennessee Titans for No. 5 pick
With the fifth pick, the Saints select Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore.
The Saints desperately need help in the secondary and there’s no better cornerback in this draft better than Lattimore. In fact, he’s easily worth the picks it would take to get him. The Titans could use Lattimore as well, but the opportunity to move down just a few spots and add a second-rounder is too tempting to pass up.
The Saints can afford to make this deal because, despite having a ton of holes, they have a second first-rounder (No. 32) as a result of the Brandin Cooks trade. They need help along the defensive line but this draft is deep there and the Saints can look for help up front later. Lattimore would be a huge upgrade over what they have at cornerback right now.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers trade 30th pick, 135th pick and 2018 second-round pick to Detroit Lions for 21st pick
With the 21st pick, the Steelers select Missouri defensive end Charles Harris.
The Steelers are in win-now mode, so trading picks to fill an important need won’t be a big deal. James Harrison is back but he’ll be 39 this year and the team recorded just 38 sacks in 2016. Pittsburgh needs a pass rusher. Enter Harris, an edge rusher with size (6’3″ and 253 pounds), good short-area quickness and a nose for making plays in the backfield (30.5 tackles for loss last two seasons). His 37.5-inch vertical and 9’10” broad jump suggest there’s more athleticism to his game than he showed in an average combine performance.
Harris is a great tackler, is physical at the point of attack and while he needs polish as a pass-rusher, he’s got all the tools to be a three-down edge guy in the NFL.
The Lions get three solid picks out of this deal and the chance to add depth to a roster that needs help along its front and at wide receiver.
5. Philadelphia Eagles trade 14th pick, 43rd pick and 139th pick to Cincinnati Bengals for No. 9 pick and 176th pick
With the ninth pick the Eagles select Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey.
Darren Sproles turns 34 this summer and has to be close to the end of his career. McCaffrey is a young playmaker who can come out of the backfield or immediately play the slot as a receiver. Not to mention the boost he’ll give the Eagles on special teams.
Philadelphia needs to surround Carson Wentz with more weapons and the addition of McCaffrey would take plenty of pressure off him. McCaffrey showed he can carry the load as a full-time running back at Stanford, but his ability in space is what makes him exciting.
The Bengals wind up scoring a solid haul of picks to move down just five spots.