With the 2020 NFL Draft around the corner, it is inevitable that we will see trades during the draft. It happens every year. Trades are exciting for fans, whether they are predictable or not. There is always a sense of mystery of what teams are going to do with their picks. What strategy are they using? What tricks do they have up their sleeves? What is their thinking or direction for the team? And, of course, why and was it worth it? The why is answered in the following moments when the selection is revealed. However, the was it worth it question is only answered through time and play. Regardless of the outcome, trades during the draft is one of the things that make the event so dramatic, compelling, and thrilling; whether it is for better or worse. For example, in 2017, the Buffalo Bills traded their 10th overall pick to the Kansas City Chiefs for their 2017 first round pick, third round pick, and the Chief’s first round pick in 2018. In return, the Chiefs picked Patrick Mahomes 10th overall. Enough said. Great trade for Kansas City, not so much for Buffalo. Turn back time to 1985, the New England Patriots had the 16th overall pick. They traded the 16th pick and their 75th pick to San Francisco 49ers. In return, the Patriots received picks 28, 56, and 84. Anyone remember what San Francisco did with their new 16th overall pick? They got some guy named Jerry Rice. You may have heard of him. The following will be trades I thought would be interesting, and whom would be selected as a result.
Miami Dolphins Trade Up To No. 1
Miami Dolphins have an arsenal of picks at their disposal (14). It would be a shame to not see some trades come out of that!
The Trade: Miami trades their 5th, 26th, and 39th picks to receive Bengals’ 1st overall pick.
In doing so, Miami selects Joe Burrow (QB). Miami NEEDS a sure-fire franchise quarterback, so they are not going to gamble on Tua, or want to see how Herbert develops in the NFL. Despite them having interest in Herbert, Burrow is a start-now, win-now quarterback. Might as well use some ammo to hit a bull’s-eye in Burrow.
At 5th overall, the Bengals select Justin Herbert (QB). During the Senior Bowl, Herbert was named MVP after completing 9/12 for 83 yards and rushed for 22 yards. Why is this relevant? Cincinnati head coach, Zac Taylor, was on the sidelines coaching him all week. The Bengals have intimate experience that other teams did not have the luxury of having. They were able to coach and familiarize themselves with Herbert. Furthermore, see Herbert in action and win the Senior Bowl.
With the 26th pick, the Bengals select A.J. Epenesa (Edge). This is Cincinnati’s second most needed position, and by accepting this trade, they are able to have another first round pick. Epenesa is a highly skilled, sack happy pass rusher. This would be a great trade for both teams.
Jacksonville Jaguars Trade Up To No. 3
The Trade: Jaguars trade their 9th and 20th picks to receive the Detroit Lions’ 3rd overall pick.
In doing so, the Jaguars select Jeffrey Okudah (CB). I addressed how the Jaguars select a corner with their 20th pick in my mock draft, but no corner compares to the athleticism of Jeffrey Okudah in this draft. Okudah is the kind of player that can replace former players like Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. I like the duo of Tre Herndon and Jeffrey Okudah as the Jaguars corners. Together, they will bring back their defenses to elite level.
With the 9th pick, the Lions select Jedrick Wills (OT). Matthew Stafford has experienced durability issues in his career. In 2019, the Lions were playing musical chairs with their quarterbacks, and between the three of them, they totaled 43 sacks. The Lions offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, said, “Keeping the quarterback safe and protected is number one. Those guys are really hard to find. We’ve got a good one and we want to protect that guy.” The Lions have addressed this in free agency by bringing in Halapoulivaati Vaital from Philadelphia for a 5yr/$50 million contract. They can double down by trading up and selecting an anchor like Jedrick Wills. I recommend moving left tackle Taylor Decker to left guard, and have Wills take over at left tackle.
With the 20th pick, the Lions select K’Lavon Chaisson (Edge). This trade scenario is ideal for Detroit because the edge position is Detroit’s third most needed position. On the left side, Da’Shawn Hand only tallied four tackles all season, and is ‘questionable’ for injury, according to ESPN. Chaisson will be a solid replacement on the left side, while Trey Flowers will be on the right side. Flowers had a productive season with 33 tackles, 7 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. I believe they will be a disruptive duo together.
Denver Broncos Trade Up To No. 10
The Trade: Denver Broncos trade their 15th and 77th picks to receive Cleveland Browns’ 10th overall pick.
In doing so, the Broncos select CeeDee Lamb (WR). Denver really needs a WR to be competitive in their division. Why not move up and grab the best receiver in the draft? Furthermore, this trade would really shake up the WR drama. With division rivals, Las Vegas Raiders, selecting at 12, and San Francisco at 13, this makes good entertainment!
With the 15th pick, the Cleveland Browns select Patrick Queen (LB). This makes sense for the Browns because they are in need for a linebacker, and at 15, that is Queen’s projected range. The Browns addressed their other needs by acquiring Jack Conklin (OT), and Karl Joseph (S) in free agency. This is a great scenario where the Browns can land a dominant and impactful player in Queen.
San Francisco Trades Down
The Trade: San Francisco trade their 31st pick to receive Baltimore Ravens’ 55th and 60th pick.
With the 31st overall pick, the Baltimore Ravens select Cesar Ruiz (C). The Ravens are in need of lineman, in fact, they only have eight total to fill 4 positions. Furthermore, center Matt Skura went down with a season ending injury in 2019. Skura’s ACL, MCL, and PCL got severed when the Ravens played against the Los Angeles Rams. Baltimore has an opportunity to jump back into the first round to have almost back-to-back picks, and lock down an extremely consistent and physical lineman in Ruiz.
For the 49ers, they trade down because they need more draft capital. As of now, they have two first round picks, but they don’t select again until the 5th round. I suspect the Niners rather have picks 13, 55, and 60 before starting again in the 5th round at 156, compared to, picks 13, 31 and 156 (from not trading). I’ve done a lot of mock drafts, and simulations on who the 49ers can draft at 31. Sometimes they get their guy, and sometimes they don’t. I concluded trading down is the best option for San Francisco (depending on who’s left on the board). Receiving the potential picks of 55 and 60, the Niners have the chance to select needed position players like Jeff Gladney (CB), Damon Arnette (CB), Bryce Hall (CB), Isaiah Wilson (OT), Tyler Biadaz (OT), Prince Tega Wanaoho (OT), K.J. Hamler (WR), or Jalen Reagor (WR). So, you’re telling me there’s a chance?