With four weeks left in the season, the order in the 2014 NFL Draft is certainly not “set in stone.” Some teams, like the Pittsburgh Steelers or Cleveland Browns, could very well play themselves out of a spot in the upper tier. Meanwhile, teams like the New York Jets, New York Giants, and the Aaron Rodger-less Green Bay Packers would very well sneak into the Top 10 with some horrendous end-of-the-year play.
Currently, the Washington Redskins sit somewhere between No.2 and No.3 overall in the draft order, with CBS Sports claiming the ‘Skins and Jacksonville Jaguars spots would be determined by a coin flip due to similar strength of schedules. For ease of talk, let’s assume the Redskins will continue their streak of bad luck (or good luck, in this case), and win the coin toss, getting the No.2 selection in the draft.
Given the history of Les Snead and Jeff Fisher so far in St. Louis, there is little doubt that the Rams will make a heavy effort to trade out of that high spot, still landing one of their “top targets” and stockpiling additional picks in either this year’s or next year’s draft. However, it takes two to
tango trade! So, who are the likely partners for the St. Louis Rams on draft day?
Trading in the NFL is a combination of extreme paranoia from potential tradees and bluffing from teams that want to move down in the order. The key to moving out of this spot will be making the rest of the NFL believe that someone else is willing to move up and take “your player.” The Jaguars are in dire need of a quarterback, and with Marcus Mariota out of the picture, the crop of “franchise” quarterback prospects got narrowed significantly. Should the Houston Texans “pass” on Teddy Bridgewater, the flood gates should open for the St. Louis Rams in the trade market. That could force the Jacksonville Jaguars into paying a king’s ransom to ensure they will get their man…
Players like Fresno State’s Derek Carr and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel will undoubtedly see their stock rise over the next three or four months, possibly into the Top 5 for some quarterback-needy team. The Minnesota Vikings are certainly in that boat, despite the signing of Josh Freeman earlier in the season and the recent “not-below-average” play of Christian Ponder.
Sitting at No.6 in the draft order is a risky spot, with plenty of room for more desperate teams to trade ahead and steal away potential “prized” picks, especially under the new rookie wage scale. If Bridgewater is will sitting on the board at No.2, expect the Vikings to be frantically making a call to Les Snead and Co. Even if Bridgewater is already gone, let’s say to some team swapping with the Texans, the Vikings could certainly still look to trade up to get their quarterback, even if it means “over-drafting” on the No.2 positional player in the draft class.
Depending on how the Browns feel about Brian Hoyer as their “quarterback of the future,” they may be in-line for yet another first-round quarterback. Currently sitting at No.8, the Browns actually may be in a “better” position than both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Minnesota Vikings. Realistically, there should be one of the Top 3 quarterbacks available at this point in the draft, which may suffice for a team with plenty of needs elsewhere on the roster.
However, the Browns are not shy about making bold moves to get the players that they want in the Draft. They were essentially the only team that took a flyer on Josh Gordon in the 2012 Supplemental Draft, traded up to snag Trent Richardson, and took a chance on drafting the 29-year-old Brandon Weeden in the first round. It is certainly not outside the realm of possibility that the Browns would throw both of their 2014 1st-rounders into the pot and move up for a shot at the No.1 quarterback in the class. This would be a dream scenario for the Rams, giving the franchise three first-rounders in the 2014 NFL Draft, including two in the Top 15.