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5 Teams Poised To Trade Back in Round 1

5 Teams Poised To Trade Back in Round 1
Tom Rudawsky is a former NFL scout for the New York Giants who previously worked in football operations for the Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings. He now writes for The 33rd Team among other publications. Find him on Twitter @TRudy831

One of the things that makes the first round of the NFL Draft such an entertaining spectacle every year are the consistent amount of trades we see. Usually first round trades involve one team giving up a future first or second rounder, providing another team and their fan base even more excitement for the following year’s draft.

In the 2021 first round, three trades occurred, with multiple others in the months leading up the draft. Here, we take a look at five teams that could be looking to trade down in the draft in a few weeks, and why they may be looking to make that move.

Detroit Lions

Picking at second overall, the Lions have a prime pick in this year’s draft, as their pick presents an opportunity for another team to select the first quarterback off the board, considering the Jaguars will be taking an edge or offensive tackle with the first pick. It makes a lot of sense for the Lions though, for multiple reasons.

First, one of the strengths of this draft class is the quality of offensive lineman. While the Lions are a rebuilding team devoid of talent, their offensive line is undoubtedly the strength of their team. Most likely, they’d take an edge rusher with that second pick. If the edge-needy Jaguars happen to take the player the Lions covet most, it could further entice them to trade down.

Detroit is still multiple years away from contending, so acquiring a first rounder or two for future years would continue to aid the rebuilding process. At some point, if the Lions want to contend, they’ll need to pivot away from Jared Goff as their starter. Gaining high picks for future years could put them in position to make an aggressive play for a quarterback in 2023, assuming they don’t have a favorite in this year’s class. Regardless, a team like the Lions would welcome more draft ammunition, so it makes sense if they are blown away with an offer.

New York Giants

The Giants are sitting pretty, with the fifth and seventh overall picks after trading back in round one last year and obtaining Chicago’s first rounder. The Giants have two things in common with the Lions: 1) They’re multiple years away from contention, and 2) They could use ammo in next year’s draft to potentially acquire a franchise QB if Daniel Jones doesn’t work out

For these reasons, why wouldn’t they try to trade back and acquire a first rounder for next year? It makes too much sense for first-year General Manager Joe Schoen, who would welcome flexibility in the future. I ultimately expect the Giants to move one of those first round picks and position themselves positively in 2023 in case they are in need of a new signal-caller.

New York Jets

It makes sense for the other New York team to look to trade down as well. Like the Giants, the Jets possess two of the top 10 selections, holding the fourth and 10th overall picks. In my mind, they’d be much more likely to trade that 10th selection than they would No. 4 overall. While the Jets are still a couple years away from contending as well, Joe Douglas needs to start winning games as General Manager, and being able to select one elite talent seems like a wise thing to do.

However, with their second first round pick, it could be prudent to move down and acquire more draft capital to continue stocking up. They’re in a spot where teams would want to trade up to, as well. There are multiple QB-needy teams (Saints, Steelers) that could be looking to come up and select a young QB, and moving up to 10th overall as opposed to within the top five represents an easier price to pay for those teams.

If the Jets come away with one of their top targets at No. 4 (say safety Kyle Hamilton for example), then it positions them to explore all options with their second pick. The Jets are also in a good spot heading into the draft, with the utmost flexibility and options in play for being able to greatly upgrade the talent on their roster.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings are an organization that has had a great deal of stability over the last 10-15 years. This off-season, they parted ways with coach Mike Zimmer and General Manager Rick Spielman, signaling a total reboot in the decision-making chairs. Having recently extended Kirk Cousins, the Vikings will continue into the future with Cousins joining forces with new GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Head Coach Kevin O’Connell at the helm.

Given that it’s a first year regime, trading back seems logical, with Adofo-Mensah putting Minnesota in a fortuitous position in future years to continue retooling what is currently a middling roster. It also makes sense because of where the Vikings are slotted in the draft order, too.

Similar to the Jets 10th overall selection, the Vikings are still high enough for a team looking for a QB to move up and acquire their guy. One of the Vikings main positions of need is cornerback, and moving back a little bit in round one still presents opportunities to select an impact corner, as there are 4-5 first round caliber cornerbacks in my opinion. If given the opportunity, trading down would do the organization a lot of good in their effort to try and get back to the cream of the crop in the NFC.

Kansas City Chiefs

Having two first-round selections is uncharted territory for General Manager Brett Veach and the Kansas City Chiefs. However, picking at the back of round one is not. Kansas City owns the 29th and 30th overall selections in the draft, giving them some flexibility at the back half of the round.

First of all, the end of round one represents a trading hotbed for teams in the front-middle part of round two to come up and add another guy they believe to be an impact player before the round ends. Second, having two picks back to back represents a prime opportunity to shop one of those selections, as the Chiefs will be able to guarantee they come away with a prime target of theirs and can still part ways with their other selection.

Despite losing Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs are still positioned quite well given they have this guy named Patrick Mahomes. They’re in a unique position with back-to-back picks at the end of the round to be able to move back, add a pick or two next year, and keep themselves in a position where they can win today and compete for tomorrow. Given their draft position and where they’re at from a roster-building standpoint, trading down is an intriguing option.