There is little chance that this year's NFL draft will match its trade-heavy results of 2012, when six of the top seven picks were dealt, including one of them twice.
This is despite the fact that the top four teams and a bunch of others are trying like crazy to move around.
The Kansas City Chiefs at No. 1, followed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles have all expressed an interest in moving out of the top four spots. As of Saturday, none of them were finding much interest. However, only one of the deals involving six of the top seven picks last year (the Washington Redskins moving up to the No. 2 spot) occurred before the first round officially started.
"Last year was special because it was the first time under the new system for rookie contracts that teams could trade," said Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, who is one of a handful of GMs interested in moving up in the first round. "I think that opened things up a lot. I also think there were some situations that just lined up right that don't necessarily line up this year the same way."
That doesn't mean that there won't be significant action involving first-round picks this week. Starting with Sunday's trade of cornerback Darrelle Revis from the New York Jets to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there are projected to be five to eight trades that impact the first round one way or another.
Here's a look at the moves expected to be done:
1. Branden Albert to Miami – This is only going to happen if the price on Albert – particularly the $8 million-$9 million a year it's believed he's seeking in a long-term deal – comes down significantly. Albert is a franchise player, which comes with a one-year, $9.8 million base. Kansas City would love to get a second-round pick for him, clearing the way for the Chiefs to take Luke Joeckel at No. 1 overall and then get another player rather than take Joeckel and then lose Albert to free agency after the season. The problem for the Chiefs is that this move is actually counterintuitive for the Dolphins, who already let Jake Long leave for less than what Albert is looking to make. While Long has a longer laundry list of injuries (knee, elbow, biceps, back), Albert has also dealt with a back problem. To overpay for Albert and give up a second-round pick to get him would be pretty questionable for the Dolphins. Then again, the idea of having Jonathan Martin at left tackle could force the Dolphins to panic.
2. San Francisco will be busy – The 49ers are at No. 31 overall, have 13 draft picks, including two selections each in Rounds 2-5. It's believed by at least one GM that the Niners are interested in moving up to the 13th or 14th overall pick. There is no way that the 49ers can keep more than five or six new draft picks with the way the team is structured right now. Expect GM Trent Baalke to either trade up or trade out for picks in the future. The talk around the league is that the 49ers would like to get a defensive lineman who can eventually step in for veteran Justin Smith. The team also needs a safety, No. 2 tight end and could use an impact corner. All of that is possible.
3. Atlanta on the move – Dimitroff danced around the idea of trading up from No. 30. If you look at the Falcons' roster and the way the team played on defense in the playoffs, it's clear the team needs an impact defender at cornerback after cutting Dunta Robinson and losing Brent Grimes in free agency. The Falcons' pass rush has been mediocre outside of John Abraham over the past three years. Abraham is gone now and has been replaced by Osi Umenyiora, but the Falcons could use another pass rusher, particularly a younger one. Ultimately, the prospects that could be targeted by the Falcons are cornerbacks Desmond Trufant or Xavier Rhodes, and defensive ends Bjoern Werner, Barkevious Mingo and Tank Carradine.
4. Wide receiver chase –
Wide receivers are going to be popular starting at roughly No. 16, where St. Louis is likely to take Tavon Austin or DeAndre Hopkins. Keenan Allen and Cordarrelle Patterson are also looking like possible first-rounders with St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Houston, New England, Minnesota and Baltimore being teams that would be interested.
5. Moving around for a quarterback – Several teams are trying to read the market for quarterbacks, starting with where top prospect Geno Smith will end up. Smith could easily fall out of the top 10. Where his slide ends up from there will likely impact where quarterbacks such as Matt Barkley, E.J. Manuel, Ryan Nassib and Mike Glennon land. Several teams at the top of the second round, such as Arizona, Buffalo and Oakland, could move up to the end of the first round to grab a prospect.
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