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NFL Draft | 3 first-round trades that should happen

Jon Ledyard

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Jan 31, 2018; Bloomington, MN, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick during a press conference at the Mall of America in advance of Super Bowl LII against the Philadelphia Eagles. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Happy 2018 NFL Draft week, my friends! The long-awaited time is here, and to celebrate, I’m kicking off the week with three trades that should absolutely happen in Round 1. I don’t have the exact compensation here, just the exchange of first-round picks and some likely thoughts as to what other assets the team trading back could garner as a result of such a deal. Expect Thursday night to be full of moving and shaking as teams jockey for position to select the draft’s top quarterbacks.

1. Patriots trade with Buccaneers

The Patriots give up 23 and 31 (and whatever else needed) to get to No. 7, and the Bucs collect additional picks and move down to the 20s, where they can address running back, cornerback, left guard or strong safety.

Tampa Bay made a ton of moves to upgrade their roster in free agency, bringing in C Ryan Jensen, DT Beau Allen, DE Jason Pierre-Paul, DE Vinny Curry and DL Mitch Unrein. They could stay at No. 7 and take a defensive back, Quenton Nelson or Saquon Barkley, but do they really covet anyone there enough to pass up on a plethora of extra picks?

The Bucs’ lack of need at edge pass rusher, defensive line, linebacker and quarterback make No. 7 an unideal place to be, especially if just three quarterbacks go in the top six along with Nelson, Barkley and Bradley Chubb. They should feel comfortable moving back to where players like Jaire Alexander, Isaiah Wynn, Will Hernandez, Frank Ragnow, Derrius Guice, Sony Michel, Justin Reid, Ronnie Harrison and others could make the most sense on their board.

In the meantime, New England gets what they wanted, trading up to No. 7 to grab Josh Rosen and begin building for the future. They shouldn’t have to give away next year’s first, and even if they do, it’s gonna be No. 28 or higher. Not a huge loss if you hit on your quarterback for the next 12-15 years.

2. Chargers trade with Redskins

There have been many reports this offseason that the Chargers have coveted Lamar Jackson as the potential successor to Phillip Rivers, but they may have to get in front of the Cardinals to land their guy. The Chargers don’t have a ton of holes, and if Mike McGlinchey is off the board, they can start gauging where the right spot to jump up might be.

Moving to No. 13 would be fairly affordable and should be high enough, especially when I don’t believe Arizona will be in position to part with many assets given the disastrous current state of their roster. Washington could have their eye on Vita Vea or Derrius Guice at No. 13, and the opportunity to move back and likely still have both players on the board is enticing. Green Bay, Arizona and Baltimore aren’t going to select either player, so it’s a safe bet for the Redskins to scoot back, grab an extra Day 2 pick and still get the guy they wanted all along.

3. Titans trade with Seahawks

The Seahawks have a reputation for trading down in the first round, and Tennessee needs to fill two roster spots desperately: linebacker and edge rusher. If Leighton Vander Esch, Harold Landry and/or Marcus Davenport are still on the board, expect Tennessee to get on the phones and start looking for a partner.

Seattle’s roster is suddenly hurting, and they could really use some extra picks to rebuild the Legion of Boom. I’ve heard they have their eye on a pass rusher themselves in Florida State’s Josh Sweat, a player Seattle should be able to move down and land at No. 25. He’ll start immediately opposite Frank Clark, with Dion Jordan, Marcus Smith and Branden Jackson coming off the bench.

Meanwhile Tennessee would get to the spot they needed to, right in front of Dallas, Detroit, Cincinnati who could sweep the three players they want off the board, not to mention New England and Carolina. If the Titans want one of the consensus top three pass rushers they are going to need to make a move, and with so few holes on their roster, they can afford to give up some picks in the process.

Jon Ledyard has been writing about the NFL draft for several years now, and is thrilled to be bringing creative content and unique analysis to NDT Scouting. He lives with his wife Brittany and four-month old daughter Caylee in mid-western Pennsylvania. Jon is also the host of the Locked on NFL Draft and Breaking the Plane podcasts, while covering the Steelers for scout.com. The Office, LOST, weightlifting, ultimate frisbee, grilling, Duke basketball, and all Pittsburgh pro sports teams are his greatest passions.

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