Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

26 Feb 2010

Who Can Justify Trading Up?

There's the usual chatter about the teams with the top few picks this year being willing to trade down.

Of course, there are obvious reasons why St. Louis and Detroit would want to trade down -- they need a lot more than one player -- but who would want to trade up? Why? And what would be a fair deal?

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 26 Feb 2010

35 replies , Last at 30 Mar 2010, 12:40am by Roy

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by BigDerf :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 3:44pm

Are we talking about up to the top five? Or just trading up in general? The Giants have a glaring hole at middle linebacker so trading up a few spots to grab McClain makes sense.

Moving up to the top five for anyone is probably going to cost too much. I liked the idea of the Bucs trading up for Suh. That trade made sense.... didn't cost too much for the Bucs and let the Rams get a QB cheaper a few picks later.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by loneweasel (not verified) :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 3:58pm

Anyone who wants a quarterback? Which is about most of the teams in the top-13 or so sans Det and Tampa. The bottom half of the league is filled with uninspiring quarterback play ranging from biblical disaster to Garard.

If St. Louis is really dumb enough to pick a spread monkey first overall, the only good pro-style quarterback this year would be available. You can make a case for Washington, KC (Cassel sucks; Weis connection), Seattle, Cleveland, Buffalo, JAX, Denver, SF to pick Clausen. Someone is swinging a trade unless Shanny ends the suspense early.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 5:32pm

I would think Seattle might make a move for a QB, if they're particularly enamored of Bradford or Clausen. Tampa's not trading up; that would cost more money and, by all appearances, not spending money is job #1.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by Sander :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 8:52pm

And again that contention, unsupported by actual evidence, pops up. They offered Haynesworth more money than the Redskins did, gave Michael Clayton a huge contract, signed Kellen Winslow Jr. to the biggest TE contract in the league, drafted a first-round QB (expensive). They went after Jay Cutler and Brett Favre the year before that. They are paying Gruden to not coach the team. None of these are signs of a cheap franchise.

There's a better reason why Tampa won't trade up: it will cost draft picks, and they can use every draft pick to fill as many holes as possible. Add to that that it's likely McCoy drops to them anyway who is arguably a better fit for the Bucs than Suh, and there's less reason to trade up.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by Paul A (not verified) :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 5:32pm

Here I am hoping that the Skins trade down to the teens to get one of the high quality OTs that will still be there-or Spiller-and you go and harsh my buzz by giving Shanny such ideas. Please stop. I beg you.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by loneweasel (not verified) :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 6:37pm

If your wet dream consists of going to war against Romo, Eli and McNabb with Jason Campbell, who's really to judge.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by UMD Dangle (not verified) :: Sun, 02/28/2010 - 10:15am

The Redskins can win enough battles with Campbell at QB if he can get consistent ownership and coaching. Also having more than the equivalent of well-cooked spaghetti noodles as your offensive line helps too.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by Roy (not verified) :: Sun, 03/28/2010 - 9:33pm

"consistent ownership"

I am sure there has to be some pillar of virtue out there that is the baseline..."consistent ownership"..

I'd sure like to know what that idealouge eats for breakfast..but until then I'd like to thank Mr Snyder for two trips to the playoffs over the past five seasons and hope those percentages improve the next five...

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by Clamslayer (not verified) :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 5:34pm

Seattle for Ndamakong Suh - they can swap first round picks with STL, which as a small market team with a new owner on the way would likely be willing to do to get out of the expensive first overall pick, that Seattle won't mind to pay with Paul Allen as the owner. They can sugar it up with this year's second round or next year's first straight up. STL knows they can still get a good tackle at Seattle's slot so they might as well get some extra compensation to move down.

The West Coast D needs a playmaker on the front line and he's the perfect penetrating, upfield DT for that small and quick defense. The whole unit would key off of aggressive DT play. He'd pair up extremely well with Mebane and tie up blockers to make the DEs look better.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by GoVikes (not verified) :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 7:38pm

Suh would make sense for Seattle but trading the 2011 first-rounder would not be wise, as the 'Hawks are likely to still be bad next year and could be giving away a top-10 pick. Suh paired up with Tatupu and Curry would make a very stout interior, and would address the pass rush issues that plagued Seattle last season.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by Sander :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 8:48pm

If Seattle traded up I'd expect them to do it to nab a QB, not a DT. Especially because the DT class is so deep.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by UMD DangleU (not verified) :: Sun, 02/28/2010 - 10:23am

Seattle needs to address safety, OT and a young RB before they take a DT. Agree the pass rush is an issue of theirs but the pass rush should improve if their defense can remain healthy this year. Carroll wants a more consistent run game and I think he builds his team starting there. Most of this is all speculation though because you have to believe Seattle will again be a big player in free agency so let's hold off on Seahawks predictions for the draft.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by Roy (not verified) :: Tue, 03/30/2010 - 12:40am

West Coast Defense??? now I have heard it all...

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by Romo 2 Austin (not verified) :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 5:50pm

The Dallas Cowboys can.

Our biggest hole is depth so trading up for a McClain to take over at ILB next year for Brooking makes sense, or trading up a few spots to grab Iupati to take over the LG position from Koiser in 2011 makes sense aswell.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by James-London :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 6:23pm

I'm not a Cowboy's expert, but isn't OT a bigger need than "depth"?

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by JIPanick :: Sun, 02/28/2010 - 12:19am

Not in the short term; Minnesota game notwithstanding, Flozell, Columbo, and Free all played adequately last year. We need some youth to be ready when our older linemen start leaving/dropping off, but that falls under 'depth' itself.

That said, the Cowboys do NOT need to move up. We have plenty of playmakers; we need rotational depth, injury insurance, and heir apparents on the O-line and the front 7 on defense more than anything else. We could use better safeties, but we don't need to trade up and overpay for one; we could use a better WR2, but we have too much money sunk into that position to afford a high first rounder there in any case.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by Quality Control (not verified) :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 2:10am

Lack of depth seems like the best reason NOT to consider trading up. As a Colts fan, I feel like it makes sense to trade up because depth is not so much a problem as is the glaring hole at left tackle. One natural left-tackle would allow a lot of other guys to move to positions for which they're better suited. Besides the left tackle problem, the Colts are really only pressed to find some special teams help.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by ChicagoRaider :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 6:24pm

I hate to say it, but maybe the Raiders. They need DT. Why not Suh?

As I recall, KC Joyner did a study in which very few DT high draft picks end up making a real difference. It is either trade up for Suh, or wait quite a while. Long enough that they have to keep going with Kelly and Warren. Ugh.

And Al likes freaks.

I would rather Al get one pick right, than blow 3 picks.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by mjb :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 7:39pm

By looking at the draft order I would think that the most likely to be traded picks are 7-10 (Cleveland, Oakland, Buffalo, Jacksonville). As each team holding these picks could see the financial incentive by trading down.

So who could trade up? My best guesses are: San Francisco, New York Giants, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and the New England. The 49ers have the ammunition to trade up (package the 23 13th or 17th pick with a 3rd this year or 2nd next), to add a player like OT Russell Okung, CB Joe Haden, or even QB Jimmy Clausen. As for the Giants and the Steelers they could swap 1st this year and offer a 2nd or 3rd this year to move up, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them do so to add a player like CB Joe Haden. As for the Eagles to trade up would cost them the 24th a 2nd and third this year, and possibly a 2nd next year as well. If the Eagles do this I would look for them to be trading up for a DE like Carlos Dunlap, or Jason Pierre-Paul, or even for G Mike Iupati, not to mention a stud S like Eric Berry. And the Patriots would have to make a similar deal to the one I outlined for the Eagles, with them looking to draft a top DB (like Haden or Berry), or a ILB (Rolando McClain).

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by JasonK :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 8:49pm

In addition to the draft order, you should look at the salary levels that precedent dictates go with each pick. The 7-11 area is where 2009 rookie salaries dropped off from "silly overpaid" to "not bad if he isn't a total bust." Also, because of the large negotiating gap this dropoff creates, only one player selected between 6th and 12th last year was signed in time for the start of training camp. (It was Heyward-Bey, who settled for a salary below what the 7th pick got in 2008.)

(Sidenote: The smartest trade of the draft in the last few years was New England moving back from 7 to 10 in 2008-- getting out of the "silly overpaid" zone and taking Mayo.)

So, I agree that the teams in the 7-10 range will certainly have the financial incentive to move down. But the value is going to have to be very very good for them to find a trading partner, especially among the teams you mention, which, with the conspicuous exception of the 49ers, are among the best-managed clubs in the League.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by ChicagoRaider :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 9:53pm

Well, if the Raiders can trade down they should. They can wait for a player who will address a need. The only reason to pick at #8 is to get Okung if he happened to still be on the board. Other than that, trade down and pick from among OT/MLB/DT. Gosh knows, one of Trent Williams, Rolando McClain or Brian Price. That means they can trade down to about #20 and still get one of those players. Which one really does not matter.

The additional pick should help a lot. By the end of the third round (assuming at least a third, or a swap for a third, for trading down to #18-#20) they could have filled OT, OT/OG, DT, ILB, OLB.

But Al will NEVER trade down like that. I don't know who from that range would want to trade up.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by GoVikes (not verified) :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 7:44pm

Am I the only one unimpressed by the top-tier QB's in the draft? I personally think Clausen reeks of Brady Quinn 2.0 - impressive stats in a pass-happy offense, but no signature wins and he didn't perform as well against top-ranked opponents. Bradford had basically one good season - his only one as a starter - but busted his shoulder twice in the last year and hasn't played a full game since January 2009. Tebow is...Tebow. McCoy sustained that injury in the title game and no one knows how badly it hurt him, plus he also had a bad tendency to disappear in UT's biggest games. While the need for QB is huge, this year's draft just looks like a landmine of busts if you dare to take them in the 1st round. Hell, even Dan LeFevour has been getting attention because of the lackluster top picks. I could one day be proven wrong, but there's not a single QB that I would want to take with a high to midlevel first round pick in this draft.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by Mr Shush :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 9:40pm

I absolutely love what I've seen of Bradford - he reminds me of Brees, but with better physical tools. He could be an incredible player. Trouble is, of course, that neither I nor anyone else has really seen all that much of him, which makes him a huge risk. Regardless of whether I'm right about his eventual performance (and I'm quite ready to be wrong) I think it would be madness to start him as a rookie behind anything short of a great offensive line. If he somehow falls to Denver, ok, maybe. Otherwise, forget about it.

Clausen I feel reasonably confident in predicting will be a good but not great player, somewhere in the Kerry Collins-Drew Bledsoe range of achievement. I suppose it's possible he could be better than that, but I would be a little surprised. He probably could be a reasonably serviceable starter as a rookie on anything short of a catastrophic offense. Not Matt Ryan, but probably better than either Stafford or Sanchez managed.

Tebow is not an NFL QB, unless you want to run the college option or the single wing or something.

McCoy I'm really not a massive fan of. I'm not saying he's a guaranteed bust by any means, but I'm not sure he belongs in the first round. He could turn into a decent enough player, with time, but I think his absolute upside probably looks a bit like Romo, and he's far from guaranteed to get there.

Of the lesser prospects, I'm moderately partial to Pike.

Long story short, this isn't 2004, but I really don't think it's a terrible QB class a la 2007 either.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by oznog :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 8:16pm

The most difficult-to-fill need for the Chargers is at nose tackle, where Jamal Williams is at the end of the road. If AJ Smith thinks Dan Williams is the guy to fill that hole, he should make the move. Terence Cody will likely be available at the Chargers' current spot, but I don't think Smtih would trust Cody to stay in shape.

With the second pick, the Arizona Cardinals select...
by Gold_Star_for_R... :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 8:32pm

AZ wouldn't trade with a divisional rival, but could swing a deal with Detroit. The Lions already have Calvin Johnson, but wouldn't Anquan Boldin be a nice No. 2 for Stafford?

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by JW (not verified) :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 8:42pm

How about the Pats trade up to the 13 to take CJ Spiller? They have plenty of extra second round picks and could definitely use an explosive playmaker to take the pressure off Tom Brady.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by Kal :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 9:09pm

I can't realistically see Seattle trading up; they simply have too many holes and need too much to want to sacrifice any draft picks, and I think that Carroll is going to want to put his stamp on this team via draft as quickly as he can. Sure, they could go with Suh, but they still need a QB, every position on their line, good secondary and a defensive line that can pass rush.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by Venger :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 1:31am

One thing that could drastically improve the Eagles defense would be a high-quality Free Safety to replace Brian Dawkins. That doesn't mean they need to go out and grab a Brian Dawkins look-alike like Taylor Mays, though- Quinton Mikell fills that "run-stuffing aggressive safety" spot rather nicely.

If the Eagles were to trade up, it would be for the purpose of grabbing Eric Berry. A roving, Ed Reed-type ballhawk with great instincts and play diagnosis abilities wouldn't just fit right into the Philly defense- he'd probably transform it. To that end, they could unload Mcnabb as part of the deal. A veteran, high-quality QB and a 2nd or third round pick for a struggling franchise like the Rams? That's a deal that would appeal far more than dumping cash into Suh or Mccoy and hoping for the best.

It wouldn't surprise me if they waited and hoped for Mays to drop to them at 24, since that's always been their custom. But I think a Berry-Mikell tandem would work out much better for the Eagles than Mays-Mikell. The only way they're going to get that is by pulling the trigger and trading up.

It all depends on McNabb. If the Eagles decide to give him another year, they'll probably go "Business as usual", perhaps even looking to trade down themselves, since they value 2nd-round picks more than 1st-rounders. If they go with Kobb, it'll signal "The future is now", and they may be more willing to take some gambles.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by Lebo (not verified) :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 11:49am

I can't see the Eagles, or anyone else, drafting a safety first overall. No matter how good Berry is, you'll struggle to justify paying him $10m a year as the first overall pick when the franchise tag for safeties is only $6.5m.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by Monkey Business (not verified) :: Sun, 02/28/2010 - 1:00pm

The Colts made a ton of sense for trading up into the 20s, instead of picking in the 30s. Their two biggest needs, returner and offensive tackle, are probably going to be gone by the time they pick at 31. In a draft that seems stocked with future franchise left tackles, now would be the time to draft the guy to keep Peyton Manning's blindside clean. Also, giving the Colts an A+ returner that's a threat to take it to the house, and at least consistently nets them significantly better field position, would be almost unfair.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by Jared (not verified) :: Mon, 03/01/2010 - 12:17pm

If the Vikings love one of the top 2 QB's and one starts to fall to the low teens, I could see them trading up and having him sit behind Favre for a year (assuming he comes back)

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by commissionerleaf :: Mon, 03/01/2010 - 2:31pm

Titans: Suh or McCoy would each be a good replacement for Haynesworth, the lack of which buried their defense.

Colts: A franchise LT would allow Manning to throw deep again, Eric Berry would be a nice addition to the defense, and CJ Spiller would be fun (but a mistake...).

Minnesota: Moving up to the middle of the first round to take a falling Clausen, McCoy or Bradford would make sense.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by jbrown (not verified) :: Mon, 03/01/2010 - 4:32pm

I doubt this would happen, but would love to see it: Texans swap 1st's with Det or Stl, along with sending Amobi Okoye and a future pick (next years 1st or 2nd?).

Why? Both Stl and Det need a DT with some pass rush ability, and they both have money issues. This would allow them to still grab a need pick later in the first, get a much cheaper, young DT (Okoye is still about the same age as Suh and McCoy because he started so young) and a future pick. It would give the Texans some much needed help on the D-line to go with Mario Williams and Antonio Smith and possibly push them into the playoffs (finally...).

The Texans have money to spend, and just saved a decent amount by letting Dunta Robinson walk, which would help offset the increase in salary from Okoye to Suh/McCoy.

What I think makes it somewhat feasible is that both Stl and Det are in similar positions, so I could see one of them making a deal to get out of that high pick depending on who wants to do so more. I don't know if they'll pull it off, but it seems to me that this year is more likely than in the past to have one of the top 2 teams trade down.

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by Phil Osopher :: Thu, 03/25/2010 - 8:47pm

Browns could trade up to number 2 or 3, if for some crazy reason Sam Bradford falls out of the first overall.

I would guess it would take a 2nd and third round pick plus some useless player

or next years first and this years fourth.....

Aside from him, I actually see the Browns trading down for picks next year or active veterans if one of their DB's they covet aren't there.

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”
-Albert Einstein

"Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers"

Re: Who Can Justify Trading Up?
by Roy (not verified) :: Sun, 03/28/2010 - 9:20pm

J.Campbell and the #4 pick to the Rams...Rams save 7 million by slot alone get their Tackle and a competent QB...Redskins get Bradford

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