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10 NFL teams most likely to make a draft day trade

Larry Brown Sports logo Larry Brown Sports 4/22/2018 Dan Benton
Feb 28, 2018; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Denver Broncos general manager John Elway speaks to the media during the 2018 NFL Combine at the Indianapolis Convention Center. © Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports Feb 28, 2018; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Denver Broncos general manager John Elway speaks to the media during the 2018 NFL Combine at the Indianapolis Convention Center.

The NFL trade market has been unusually active this offseason, and there’s no reason to believe that’s going to change during the 2018 NFL Draft. In fact, there is already an abundance of speculation regarding a series of potential trades that may or may not come to fruition.

Most of the trade rumors orbit around two or three teams, but as we’ve seen in draft’s of the past, just about anyone is capable of making a shocking deal to either move up, move down or acquire an unexpected talent.

Here’s a look at 10 teams most likely to make a trade during the 2018 NFL Draft.

10. Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks represent an interesting potential trade partner given that they have no picks in rounds two or three. They do however, have the No. 18 overall pick in Round 1, which could be used to move back and acquire additional Day 2 picks. And given the complete overhaul in Seattle this offseason, there are more than a handful of needs that require immediate attention. And it’s not as if Pete Carroll & Co. are shy about trading down, having done exactly that in the past. But there is also the added element of safety Earl Thomas, who is currently skipping voluntary workouts and could be targeted by the Dallas Cowboys. There are any number of possibilities for the Seahawks, and the likelihood is that they won’t sit on their hands.

9. San Francisco 49ers

Last April, 49ers general manager John Lynch made four separate draft day trades, so it’s clear he’s not shy about making something happen if he feels the right deal is on the table. Does that mean he’ll do the same in 2018? Not necessarily, but San Francisco holds some prime real estate at No. 9 overall, and there are undoubtedly a handful of teams that would love to move into the top 10. If Lynch doesn’t have his optimal target on the board when the 49ers are put on the clock, they could very easily move back in Round 1 to acquire additional Day 2 picks.

8. Indianapolis Colts

The Colts believe in Andrew Luck despite the fact that he’s still not throwing, which is why they’ve already moved back in Round 1 in a trade with the New York Jets (from No. 3 overall to No. 6 overall). They aren’t in the hunt for one of the top quarterback prospects and therefore they’re open for business. Making a trade more likely is that the Colts sport a plethora of picks — nine in total and three within the first 37. If they’re not targeting a quarterback and their perceived top three — Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, N.C. State defensive end Bradley Chubb and Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson — are already off the board, it becomes far more likely they trade back and stock up.

7. Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals are in a precarious position sitting at No. 15 overall. They’d like a chance to snag one of the draft’s top quarterback prospects, but moving up into the top five would cost them at least their first three picks and, quite possibly, a first-round pick in 2019 as well. Considering they have also invested heavily in Sam Bradford and have Mike Glennon backing him up, they may not be quite as inclined to give up such a haul. However, if someone like UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen or Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield begins to slip down near pick 10 or so, the Cardinals could very well make some calls in an effort to move up and snag a gunslinger.

6. Miami Dolphins

Similar to the Cardinals, the Dolphins are on the outside of the top 10 looking in, currently sitting with the No. 11 overall pick. And while they have quarterback Ryan Tannehill for at least one more season, they’ll be keeping a watchful eye on the best four quarterback prospects available in the NFL Draft. And should one or more of those players begin to slide, Miami could ultimately battle it out with the aforementioned Cardinals to move up. The one benefit Miami has is the draft pick value chart, which puts them in better range to move up than some of the other quarterback-needy teams behind them. It would still be costly, but they’re in much better striking range.

5. New England Patriots

The Patriots could very well top this list because it seems like each time the draft rolls around, they’re wheeling and dealing more than any other team in the league. They repeatedly pull off remarkable draft day trades to stock up on picks and build through depth, but in 2018, they could very well find themselves trading up instead. After trading Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers, New England has no long-term plan or player in place behind Tom Brady, who has reportedly not committed to playing this season. And while that will undoubtedly end with Brady vying for another MVP award, the truth remains that the Patriots may need to attempt to land a quarterback. With the Nos. 23 and 31 picks in Round 1 to go along with two second-round picks, they have the ammo needed to move up and steal a quarterback should they truly desire to do so. If not, expect a series of draft day trades anyway.

4. Cleveland Browns

The Brown are in perhaps the most unique position in the NFL Draft. They hold picks Nos. 1, 4, 33, 35 and 64. There’s no denying they have the ammo to do literally whatever they’d like. For teams desperate to move up and select a quarterback, the Browns could secure an obscene amount for No. 1 overall. If not, they could still walk away with quite a haul for No. 4 overall. If they opt to stick with both of those picks, they then have enough to trade up later and target a specific player in the middle of Round 1. Either way, the Browns will likely be the center of the trade world come Thursday.

3. New York Giants

Giants general manager Dave Gettleman never traded down while in charge of the Carolina Panthers, but that’s because he never felt the right offer was on the table. He’s already stated numerous times he’d be open to trading back if the price is right, and acknowledged quite a few calls have already come in for the No. 2 overall pick. There have also been lingering rumors about a potential trade with the Denver Broncos or Buffalo Bills, and possibly even a three-team trade. Some reports have gone as far as to suggest the Giants and Bills have a potential agreement in place should they opt to go that route come Thursday, but that remains nothing but hearsay. Either way, the Giants will be fielding a ton of calls come Thursday. If Cleveland opts to pick Penn State running back Saquon Barkley at No. 1 overall, the Giants may be inclined to trade back a few spots and target someone like N.C. State defensive end Bradley Chubb or Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson.

2. Denver Broncos

Sitting at No. 5 overall, the Broncos are in an enviable position. They have enough to move up a few spots — possibly with the Giants — should they desire to do so, but depending on how things shape up in front of them, they could just as easily trade day with someone like the Buffalo Bills. If they decide to go for a quarterback, they’re in good position to do so. If there’s a run on quarterbacks ahead of them, they could still trade back and focus on other quality targets. Ultimately, like some of the other teams that top this list, the Broncos will receive a lot of calls and remain one of the teams most likely to make a draft day trade.

1. Buffalo Bills

The Bills have maneuvered their way up to the No. 12 overall pick ahead of the 2018 NFL Draft, and it’s clear they’re not yet satisfied. They’ve made no secrets about their desire to land a potential franchise quarterback and are now in striking distance to do just that. But do they have enough to climb the remainder of the ladder and draft one of the top four prospects? They’ve been repeatedly connected to the Giants at No. 2 overall with some reports suggesting a deal is already in place if the two sides decide to pull the trigger, but they won’t rest on that hope. Whether or not they ultimately land their next quarterback, the Bills will continue to wheel-and-deal until the very last second.


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