There are a number of teams interested in trading down in this year’s deep draft class, and there are reports that all of the teams picking in the top three of the 2014 NFL Draft (the Houston Texans, St. Louis Rams, and Jacksonville Jaguars) are interested in trading down. The Rams have always been expected to try as hard as possible to trade down due to their lack of need for a quarterback, Jadeveon Clowney, or Khalil Mack, while the Jaguars and Texans are expected to stockpile picks and take a quarterback later on.
It will be especially interesting to see what happens to the No. 1 overall pick overall, because the prevailing belief is that the Texans will first try to trade a pick before ultimately drafting Clowney (most likely option), Mack, or a quarterback (Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, and Johnny Manziel are the three most likely options at QB).
If the Texans trade down, then their best trade partner is the Atlanta Falcons, as they are the only team with any reported interest in trading up to one of the top picks, as they could really use a player with Clowney’s physical tools and pass rushing skills. According to the MMQB’s Peter King, “momentum is gaining” for the Falcons to trade up for Clowney, and this strengthened buzz increases the chances of Thomas Dimitroff making another aggressive draft-day trade.
King notes that the Falcons would have to part ways with their 2015 first-round pick in order to obtain the first overall pick and guarantee taking Clowney, and I view this as too high of a price. While the Texans would undoubtedly love this to happen, I think the Falcons need to keep their pick and draft a blue-chip tackle like Jake Matthews or Greg Robinson, or even Khalil Mack if he makes it past the Jaguars and Oakland Raiders. I would understand it if the Falcons are feeling bullish and would like to take the best player in the class, so we’ll see if these reports and rumors come true.