The 2016 NFL Draft was a particularly interesting one, with 10 trades involving first-round picks, including the top two overall. The Browns traded down twice, the Eagles traded up twice, the Titans traded down from one to 15, and then back up to eight, and only 19 teams used their original first-round selection.
It looks like we could potentially see a repeat of that on April 27.
Four teams already own some other teams' first-round pick. The draft class is historically unpredictable and every expert seems to have a different opinion on almost every player in the draft, except for Myles Garrett. There are varying orders of rankings on all the quarterbacks, the top three receivers, the top offensive linemen, and there's no telling how many defensive backs could go in the top 64 (but most people are expecting it to be a record high). This mock draft attempts to identify the teams most likely to trade down and who would be most likely to move up, given their needs, trade history and available players.
An asterisk (*) means that the pick was the result of a real-life swap, not one we made up.
1. Cleveland Browns -- likelihood to trade down: low
The Browns could move down and add some extra picks, but it will be harder to justify that now given that Myles Garrett is considered by many to be a generational talent who could transform their defense immediately. In the scenario where they trade down, is an extra second-round pick worth the loss of a prospect like this? That's the decision they have to make, but my decision would be: No way.
Browns' pick: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
2. San Francisco 49ers -- likelihood to trade down: high
John Lynch says the 49ers are "open for business" with the No. 2 pick. There could be a number of different suitors, but the Panthers are perhaps going to be the hungriest to move up so they can select a running back.
Deal: 49ers send picks 2, 161 to Panthers for picks 8, 40
Per the Football Perspective trade value chart, these picks come out to nearly identical values. Carolina can select Leonard Fournette (or Christian McCaffrey, if you want to get really spicy) and San Francisco can move down, and will still have its pick of a safety, defensive lineman (or other), while adding a third pick in the top 40. Most experts agree that the talent drop-off from 10 to 40 isn't large at all, if it even exists.
Panthers' pick: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
3. Chicago Bears -- likelihood to trade down: moderately high
The Bears are also rumored to be very keen on moving down, and are less likely to take a quarterback here after signing Mike Glennon. That doesn't mean this wouldn't be a good spot for a quarterback, however. Three of the next four teams on the board could want a QB, and perhaps that sparks a bidding war to move up. I'm going to say that new Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn finds his successor to Philip Rivers.
Deal: Bears send picks 3, 111 to Chargers for picks 7, 38
In March, Lynn told reporters: "I think we do have to get a young quarterback on campus … I would love for a young quarterback to get in here and learn from Philip. Philip is the ultimate pro in my opinion. We have a good situation for a young quarterback that doesn't have to come in and play right now. He can sit, watch and learn." So is that something you do with a second- or third-round pick, or is that something that Lynn starts doing now with a premium prospect? Which quarterback will they target? Based on comments from Lynn about "taking care of the football" being priority number one, I think Trubisky is the play here in this scenario.
Chargers' pick: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
4. Jacksonville Jaguars -- likelihood to trade down: low
No matter how the board falls, there will be a player who seems an obvious fit for Jacksonville, a team that has a chance at winning the division next year and wants to stay above division rival Tennessee at pick No. 5.
Jaguars' pick: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
5. Tennessee Titans (from Rams*) -- likelihood to trade down: high
GM Jon Robinson was not shy about trading last year, trading down from No. 1 and then moving back up for Jack Conklin. Robinson lost his 2017 second-round pick in the latter move and has said he's open to moving down to acquire more picks again. Like the Jags, the Titans are in position to win the division, but they are also a better overall team and could stand to move down and take what comes later. Who would be the player to target at No. 5 and which team wants him? Why not just another Browns-Titans swap.
Deal: Titans send picks 5, 100 to Browns for picks 12, 52, 185
In this move, Tennessee re-acquires their original second-round pick, plus adds a sixth rounder, while giving up a compensatory third rounder. According to the trade value chart, this is a 100 percent even swap. The Browns could then secure themselves Watson, the quarterback who already seemed like the best fit for Hue Jackson's offense.
Browns' pick: DeShaun Watson, QB, Clemson
6. New York Jets -- likelihood to trade down: moderately High
If the board goes in a way in which the top two quarterbacks are gone, New York may be even likelier to trade down. There should still be some really great prospects available at No. 6 -- it's just a matter of one team falling in love with one prospect.
Deal: Jets send picks 6, 107 to Cardinals for picks 13, 45
This ends up as a really fair deal for both sides. The Jets move down seven spots in the first, but improve their third-round comp pick to a mid-second. Arizona, meanwhile, goes up to secure additional help for what could be Carson Palmer's final season. The Cardinals could absolutely make a move like this for the secondary, but I think they've done a nice enough job of building the defense through low-risk moves that they have to secure some sort of future at receiver. Take your pick of any of the top three receivers. I did.
Cardinals' pick: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
7. Chicago Bears (from Chargers)
They could keep moving down -- there are still a lot of great defensive players on the board -- but doing so would only make sense if they didn't fall out of the top 12 or so.
Bears' pick: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
8. San Francisco 49ers (from Panthers)
Th Niners made their move and acquired extra picks. Now is the time to stay put and acquire an actually-good football player. The team is still high on Carlos Hyde, but he's set to be a free agent next year and even if he wasn't, he doesn't block someone like local college product McCaffrey from getting on the field a ton next season.
49ers' pick: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
9. Cincinnati Bengals -- likelihood to trade down: low
Since 2004, the Bengals have made just one trade involving a first-round pick.
Bengals' pick: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
10. Buffalo Bills -- likelihood to trade down: good
Many have suggested that the Bills will look to trade down this year, which is opposite of the direction they went a few years ago to select Sammy Watkins, a regrettable decision in hindsight. Another possibility that some have suggested is a move up for Trubisky.
The key is asking, "Who will the Saints be targeting at 11?" And the biggest likelihood here is a defensive back or pass rusher. In that case, which team could be looking to move up and take one of those positions?
Deal: Bills send picks 10, 156 to Eagles for picks 14, 99
In moving down four picks in round one, Buffalo moves up 57 picks later on in the draft. This allows Philly to solidify its cornerback position by taking the highest rated corner in this class. The Eagles are an active front office and could definitely be looking to solidify their secondary here.
Eagles' pick: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
11. New Orleans Saints -- likelihood to trade down: low
GM Mickey Loomis has traded up for Brandin Cooks, Mark Ingram and Sedrick Ellis; he has never traded down in round one. It's possible that New Orleans moves up if Loomis is in love with someone, but down is unlikely.
Saints' pick: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
12. Tennessee Titans (from Browns, from Eagles*)
The Titans got back their second-round pick and that's probably enough for now.
Titans' pick: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
13. New York Jets (from Cardinals)
This is potentially enough trading down for the Jets, so who could they be targeting in this position? Yes, some interesting quarterbacks are on the board, but Todd Bowles would be more interested in a premier safety prospect to champion the secondary.
Jets' pick: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
14. Buffalo Bills (from Eagles, from Vikings*)
The Bills are always a threat to keep moving, but this may be the spot where they stay put. Time to add a piece to the secondary with Stephon Gilmore now in New England.
Bills' pick: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
15. Indianapolis Colts -- likelihood to trade down: high
The question isn't "What do the Colts do?" as much as it is "What would new GM Chris Ballard do?" Ballard's been very open about his desire to move back and acquire more picks for a talent-barren roster. In that case, a team may be looking to move up for one of the lightest commodities in this class: offensive line help.
Deal: Colts send picks 15, 158 to Giants for picks 23, 87, 140
New York hasn't moved up in the first round since Eli Manning in 2004, but now might be the time. The Giants did an excellent job of rebuilding the defense, but the o-line is a mess. The Colts add a third-rounder (Ballard specifically mentions wanting more picks in the first five rounds), though they might need to include a 2018 conditional pick to make this deal final.
Giants' pick: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
16. Baltimore Ravens -- likelihood to trade down: moderate
GM Ozzie Newsome hasn't moved up in the first round since a deal to secure Michael Oher in 2009. He also did the same thing in 2008 for Joe Flacco. But right now it seems plausible that the Ravens will either stay put or field calls to move down.
Ravens pick: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
17. Washington Redskins -- likelihood to trade down: unknown
Washington's melee with Scot McCloughan is a great example of why its draft day moves will be completely unpredictable. That said, this could be an easy spot for Washington to stay and take the football player it feels would best help its offense.
Redskins' pick: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
18. Tennessee Titans -- likelihood to trade down: low
The Titans added Howard and re-acquired their original second-round pick. What more do they need? The option to trade down is of course on the table but perhaps their best move is to stay put and upgrade the defense with a guy who many have projected as a top-10 pick.
Titans' pick: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- likelihood to trade down: medium
Last year, Tampa traded down from No. 9 to No. 11 and acquired a fourth-rounder. The Bucs are primed to surprise people next season, and I think that's a good reason to expect them to look to trade down because they're confident in their current roster.
Deal: Bucs send picks 19, 162 to Chiefs for picks 27, 104
Tampa Bay moves down eight spots in the first but improves 58 spots with a later pick. The Chiefs add a defensive player who could truly become a dynamic player and they've been linked to him a few times; KC's defensive line coach used to coach him at Temple.
Chiefs' pick: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
20. Denver Broncos -- likelihood to trade down: low
John Elway has been more aggressive in dealing up than dealing down, but he's probably content with the top 20 in this class. If he moves up, it would probably be for Ramczyk or Bolles. This may be surprising, but the Broncos best solution (for now) to the quarterback position might be getting another big-time playmaker on offense for Paxton Lynch.
Broncos' pick: John Ross, WR, Washington
21. Detroit Lions -- likelihood to trade down: moderate
Detroit traded down in round one as recently as 2015. This is a good spot for the Lions to move down and convince the Texans to draft a quarterback before letting it go to some other team.
Deal: Lions send pick 21 to Texans for picks 25, 142
The Lions move down four picks and add a fourth-round pick because Houston is desperate. The one they are rumored to be most interested in is the local kid.
Texans' pick: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
22. Miami Dolphins -- likelihood to trade down: moderate
The Dolphins could look for a trade partner and would probably like to do so since they traded their original third- and fourth-round picks to the Vikings, but it may be too hard to pass up on the best guard in this class.
Dolphins' pick: Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky
23. Indianapolis Colts (from Giants)
In my original trade, the Colts lost quite a bit of draft position in the first round but did add a third-round pick because they have lots of needs. They could potentially keep moving down in a draft that is deep and doesn't have a big drop off in talent from 23 to 50, but this is also a spot where they could get a solid defensive player.
Colts' pick: Jabrill Peppers, S/LB/RS, Michigan
24. Oakland Raiders -- Likelihood to trade down: moderate
Reggie McKenzie has only made one draft day trade involving a first, and that was when the Raiders moved down in 2013 after the Dolphins felt they needed Dion Jordan. All McKenzie could do with his returns was D.J. Hayden and Menelik Watson though.
Raiders' pick: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
25. Detroit Lions (from Texans)
This is Bob Quinn's second season as GM, so we don't know yet what his tendencies could be. He comes from the Bill Belichick tree, so it would be smart to lean toward "he likes to add more picks." Also, there's a safety the Seahawks are in love with that could also be a fit for some other teams with the pick just before Seattle.
Deal: Lions send picks 25 to Cowboys for picks 27, 211
If John Schneider really wants this player, he may need to get unusually aggressive and use a third-rounder to move up for him, but for now Obi Melifonwu goes to the Cowboys, who just two years ago selected the other premier safety at UConn, Byron Jones.
Cowboys' pick: Obi Melifonwu, SS, UConn
26. Seattle Seahawks -- likelihood to trade down: high
The Seahawks have not used their original first-round pick since selecting James Carpenter in 2011. If Melifonwu and the top three linemen are off the board, a move down is even likelier.
Deal: Seahawks send pick 26 to Browns for picks 33, 2018 third-round pick
Why would Seattle move out of the first round just for an extra pick next year? Schneider has gone on record in that he doesn't love this class, so it wouldn't make sense for him to target an extra fourth-rounder. He could even push for the 2018 second-rounder Cleveland received from the Texans in the Brock Osweiler trade. The Browns get a first-rounder with a fifth-year option.
Browns' pick: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Chiefs)
The Bucs moved down and can still pick a premier tight end prospect.
Bucs' pick: David Njoku, TE, Miami
28. Detroit Lions (from Cowboys)
Detroit has now moved down twice in this draft and that's probably enough. It can take the best player available, which for me lands somewhere between Kevin King and Mike Williams.
Lions' pick: Kevin King, CB, Washington
29. Green Bay Packers -- likelihood to trade down: low
Ted Thompson hasn't traded a first-round pick since 2008. He also usually likes to target defense on Day 1 and there's plenty of that available here. Almost any position makes sense but one guy just feels more like a Green Bay Packer than any other.
Packers' pick: T.J. Watt, LB, Wisconsin
30. Pittsburgh Steelers -- likelihood to trade down: low
Kevin Colbert laughs at the idea of not trading a first since 2008, as he hasn't done it since 2006. One report says that the Steelers will target the best available defensive back with the 30th overall pick, so I'll do that too.
Steelers' pick: Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU
31. Atlanta Falcons -- likelihood to trade up: moderate
Thomas Dimitroff has traded up recently for Desmond Trufant and Julio Jones. Those worked out pretty well. He could look to move up this year, but the cards don't seem to line up. That doesn't mean they won't on draft day.
Falcons' pick: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
32. New Orleans Saints (from Patriots*) -- likelihood to trade down: Moderate
The last pick of round one is an interesting selection, because if there's an intriguing quarterback available, it's your last chance to pick him with a fifth-year option. DeShone Kizer, Davis Webb and Nathan Peterman all remain available.
The 49ers, Jaguars, Bears and Jets are still in need. That could definitely add gasoline to the fire for a potential bidding war in the back of round one.
Deal: Saints send pick 32 to Bears for picks 36, 111
A nice add of a fourth-round pick for the Saints, while Chicago tries to "Osweiler-proof" the Glennon signing by adding a QBOTF. New Orleans could also decide to stay put and take a QB.
Bears' pick: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
Browns: Myles Garrett
Panthers: Leonard Fournette
Chargers: Mitch Trubisky
Jaguars: Solomon Thomas
Browns: DeShaun Watson
Cardinals: Corey Davis
Bears: Jamal Adams
49ers: Christian McCaffrey
Bengals: Garett Bolles
Eagles: Marshon Lattimore
Saints: Jonathan Allen
Titans: O.J. Howard
Jets: Malik Hooker
Bills: Gareon Conley
Giants: Ryan Ramczyk
Ravens: Derek Barnett
Redskins: Dalvin Cook
Titans: Reuben Foster
Chiefs: Haason Reddick
Broncos: John Ross
Texans: Pat Mahomes
Dolphins: Forrest Lamp
Colts: Jabrill Peppers
Raiders: Zach Cunningham
Cowboys: Obi Melifonwu
Browns: Taco Charlton
Bucs: David Njoku
Lions: Kevin King
Packers: T.J. Watt
Steelers: Tre'Davious White
Falcons: Jarrad Davis
Bears: DeShone Kizer