Teams most likely to trade up and down in the NFL Draft

4/9/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Part of what makes the NFL Draft so unpredictable is that there are often big-time trades that can change the entire landscape of the event. Last year, the Redskins traded a plethora of picks to move up and draft Robert Griffin III. The year before, the Falcons made a bold move by sending several picks to Cleveland for the chance to draft Julio Jones. Despite this year's balanced draft class, there is still a good chance that there will be an aggressive team that will do whatever it takes to get a particular player. Here are a few of the most likely teams to be involved in trades during this year's NFL Draft:

Arizona Cardinals (7th overall pick): The Cardinals' defense was solid last year, they have an elite receiver in Larry Fitzgerald, and they addressed quarterback and running back by acquiring Carson Palmer and Rashard Mendenhall this offseason. What they really need with their first pick in this draft is an offensive lineman. There are three top-flight prospects at the left tackle position (Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher, Lane Johnson), but there is a legitimate chance that they won't make it to the 7th pick. A quality lineman is really a must for the Cardinals in this draft, and they may be willing to trade up to guarantee they get one that they're happy with.
Blog Photo - Teams most likely to trade up and down in the NFL Draft
Miami Dolphins (12th overall pick): The Dolphins went wild in free agency this year, signing players left and right to fill holes, as well as retaining several players that contributed well in 2012. One player they could not retain, however, was Jake Long, who signed with the St. Louis Rams. As of now, the Dolphins' projected 2013 depth chart has a major question mark at left tackle in Jonathan Martin, with a converted tight end who has never made a start on the offensive line at right tackle in Will Yeatman. Tackle is certainly one of the Dolphins' biggest needs, but it is also a huge need of several teams in front of them. I've heard they are targeting Lane Johnson, and they will undoubtedly need to trade up if they want a shot at getting him. With two picks in both the second and third rounds, they have the ammo to make a move.

San Francisco 49ers (31st overall pick): The 49ers don't have a particular need that makes me think they will trade up, but they have a massive stash of draft picks (13 - most in this draft) and very few holes on their roster. As a result, they are a prime candidate to turn several of those picks into one better pick. Positions they could target include safety (they just lost Dashon Goldson to free agency), wide receiver (second leading wide receiver posted only 42 catches, 449 yards in 2012), or defensive tackle/end (Justin Smith is 33 years old and entering the final year of his contract).

Those are three teams that very well may trade up, but which teams will be willing to trade down? Here are a few candidates...

Oakland Raiders (3rd overall): The Raiders are in an all-out rebuilding mode, and they have quite a few areas of need on their roster. Currently without a second-round pick, they would certainly love an opportunity to stockpile a few more selections and round out their roster with some young, quality players. I'd imagine they will be willing to listen to any team that calls to explore the acquisition of that 3rd overall pick, quite possibly a team looking to draft one of the top tackles.

Cleveland Browns (6th overall): Believe it or not, I don't think that there will be anyone worth taking at 6th overall that fills a big need for the Browns. Most of the top players in this draft are defensive linemen, outside linebackers, and offensive linemen. The Browns are pretty well off in those areas. They could very well trade down to go after a cornerback (especially if Dee Milliner is off the board), wide receiver, or tight end. Their 6th overall pick is some prime real estate for teams looking for tackles, as it is one pick before the Cardinals. If Lane Johnson is available at 6, I doubt the Browns would take him, but I am almost positive that the Cardinals would take him at 7. If a team like the Dolphins wants Johnson, they'll likely have to jump the Cardinals to make it happen. I see the Browns as the most likely trade partner.

Buffalo Bills (8th overall): In my opinion, the Bills' biggest needs are at linebacker, wide receiver, and quarterback. I'm not sure that there is a linebacker or receiver worth taking at 8th overall (assuming Dion Jordan is off the board). They could pull the trigger on Geno Smith if he's available, but I have a feeling that the Bills will target Ryan Nassib in the late-first/early-second round. If they trade down with a mid-first round team, they can put themselves in a position to draft a linebacker or receiver, as well as add ammo to move into the late-first and select Nassib.

There will be trades during the draft. Will there be any in the top-ten? We won't know until the time comes, but it is not at all uncommon to see a team get aggressive at the last minute and make a bold move. These are just a few of the teams that I feel are most likely to be involved in trades on draft day. We'll find out if any of these teams pull the trigger on a trade on April 25th.
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