In drafts there are always a flurry of deals made, especially in recent history since they made it more even finance-wise to trade up into the Top 5 or 10 to get yourself a stud. It has become such a largely consistent trend, that even mock drafts regularly predict trades. But I've got some thoughts on what teams may be wanting to trade this year to go up or down.
When these teams are on the clock, you'll need to be fully aware they'll take all the time they can, whether they trade out or make a selection of the best player available.
Down: Tennessee Titans
This team is in that #2 position, one coveted by a ton of organizations. It's a great place to trade up for your franchise quarterback. Just ask the St. Louis Rams. The trade happened many weeks before, but the Washington Redskins gave up so many draft picks for one guy who they believed to be their future, Robert Griffin III.
If Winston slips to #2, I see no doubt in my mind that the Titans take him. If the unexpected doesn't happen, teams will look to trade up ahead of the Redskins and the Jets to grab Mariota, and teams will pay a fortune to do so if they believe Mariota is their franchise's cornerstone.
I wouldn't even rule out if a team is in love with one of these receivers, trying to trade up ahead of Jacksonville or Oakland.
Up: San Diego Chargers
The Chargers are one of the teams who may want to trade up for Marcus Mariota, but they can also be a team on the hunt for Todd Gurley.
All of his medicals checked out so Gurley's knee is okay, and the Chargers have three heads in the backfield with Branden Oliver, Danny Woodhead, and Donald Brown; but they need that guy to set the Chargers' backfield apart. Perhaps getting Gurley could allow him to have limited carries in San Diego with that backfield.
San Diego has quite a bit to offer if they indeed plan on cutting ties with Philip Rivers. Giving up Rivers for a shot at Mariota (or Gurley) would save them the cap space to re-sign Eric Weddle, and Rivers would be worth it to the Titans, Redskins, or Jets, allowing the Chargers to retain either their 2nd round pick this year, or their 1st rounder next year.
They can grab a quarterback like Bryce Petty in the 2nd round, or try getting a good draft pick next season to get a QB.
Down: Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have dominated the mainstream media with the possibility of them trading their star running back Adrian Peterson. If they don't go through with that long stretch, they could be a real candidate to trade down.
If you remember, they traded up to 32 and back into the first round in a deal with the Seahawks last year to get Teddy Bridgewater. If the top pass rushers are off the board and they don't need Gurley or Gordon, they can trade down to accumulate picks to help in numerous areas on this team.
There's going to be teams who want to get ahead of Cleveland at #12 to get DeVante Parker from Louisville. It's expected to see Amari Cooper and Kevin White off the board in the first ten picks, but the team who trades up for a guy like DeVante Parker, I believe won't regret it.
Up: Pittsburgh Steelers
If you were aware, the stellar Steeler defense that once was, is no more.
So many of the great defensive players that brought them their NFL record-setting sixth Super Bowl, is no longer sporting the yellow and black (or the bumblebee unis) on the field. Between the pass rush and the secondary, the Steelers organization could draft a great defensive player this year.
The AFC North is about who can play the better ball against the opposing offense, and Pittsburgh's about to lose that identity. They have Big Ben, Antonio Brown, and after the first month of the season, Le'Veon Bell, but they'll need a defense if they want to see a repeat as division champs. You could see them trade up for a pass rusher to get after Manziel, Dalton, and Flacco, or they could take a defensive back.
If the Steelers trade up, they're going all out.
They'll go for Trae Waynes of Michigan State or nobody at all. Though they could have success with drafting Peters, if they can't get into the Top 10. Plus, if they're confident that Landon Collins can fill some of the hole Polamalu's retirement dug, they can trade ahead of the in-state Eagles and draft the safety from Alabama, the most prized safety this draft.
Down: New York Giants
Not many look at the Giants as a team to trade down, and I'm not sure why. They have holes to fill on the interior and on the offensive line, but you can't rule out the team trading down to get an extra pick or two to help both of the lines, or even something in the secondary.
The Giants defense was actually scary before injuries deflated their season, and their offense was and still is scary with Eli, Odell, Larry Donnell, and Andre Williams headed into his sophomore year in the NFL in the backfield -- not to mention Victor Cruz returning from a devastating injury.
You may want to look at the Giants as a team to make a smart front office move; to trade down and fill an extra hole to get them into serious contention for the division crown.
Up: Detroit Lions
Hear me out here. The Lions have one of the better offensive passing attacks with Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and Golden Tate. They also had a formidable defense last season. However, they lost Ndamukong Suh to the Dolphins in one of the most lucrative deals we've seen for a defensive player in the history of the game.
But, Suh didn't matter much to their win-loss totals, and they were smart to not overspend to keep Suh. But on the other hand, they lost Nick Fairley inside.
They've spent a lot of years on the defensive line with the drafting of Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, and Ezekiel Ansah, but they've now lost two of those and it's in the interior. They made a trade with the Ravens to get Haloti Ngata to fill some of the void but he's 31 years old. Also, despite how consistent Ngata has been, there's something the Ravens know to trade Ngata. Haloti hasn't played a full season since 2011 and his numbers are dropping. Over 10 sacks in 2010 and 2011, only 8.5 since.
If they don't trade up for a defensive linemen, they can go offensive linemen in the first and possibly get Lake Tomlinson from Duke on Day 2. The Lions must live by the mantra that you win or lose games in the trenches.
Down: Dallas Cowboys
I felt I would end on this, considering that BlueStarTimes.com is originally a Dallas Cowboys blog, even if I write articles on some other NFL happenings.
This is a very easy decision to make.
If the Cowboys aren't high enough on a guy they're willing to take at pick #27, I suggest they find someone willing to trade up in the first round, or perhaps a team wanting to trade back into the second round to revive hope within their fan base.
The Cowboys could use two second rounders, spending one on a running back and another on a defender. I think it's a very real possibility.
Many fans won't be too fond of sitting for hours on Thursday night just for the Cowboys to leave with no new Cowboys, but believe me when I say that Stephen Jones will be looking at the bigger picture. If you're not sold, what would you rather have? Draft Day 1 excitement with a bust? Or two second rounders who provide that jump to a sixth Super Bowl? If you're a true Cowboys fan, you'll have no problem with the latter.
So I just gave you some teams who may be looking to trade up or down next week. Watch for these trades to go down and don't be disappointed if they don't. The draft is unpredictable, yet holds very likely events.
If you believe I left out a team who could trade up or down, tell us in the comments down below.
Report: Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch Visiting Cowboys
As the 2018 NFL Draft draws closer, teams are beginning to hold their official visits with prospects of their own choosing. The Cowboys have already met with a few different prospects thus far, and they've reportedly added a linebacker to that list this week.
Multiple reports are saying the Cowboys will meet with Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch this week, adding him to the list of 30 potential visits.
BoiseState LB Leighton Vander Esch will be a pre-draft visitor for the #Cowboys. Add him to your list of 30, per Tony Pauline.
Vander Esch is a bit of a controversial prospect in the draft world. As I've stated before, he tested like a freak athletically, and his combine profile alone would put him in the discussion on day one. The problems I have with Vander Esch have nothing to do with his athleticism, however, and everything to do with his actual football-playing ability.
On film, I see a player who struggles to get off blocks and will have trouble finding a home with the Cowboys. Still, I wouldn't mind the Cowboys drafting Vander Esch - that pick cannot come in the first round though.
Vander Esch is a long, rangy, and athletic linebacker who is at his best playing laterally and tracking down plays. As a blitzer, Vander Esch has some rather clear issues. He often runs directly into blocks and is unable to shed at the point of attack. I also don't think he is as instinctual a player as some of the other linebackers in this class, such as BYU's Fred Warner or Alabama's Rashaan Evans.
The way things are looking, however, Vander Esch is going to be a first round pick. And if not, he'll almost certainly be a top 50 pick. I wouldn't be very comfortable taking him at 19, and I'd have to think twice before even taking him at 50 for that matter.
2018 NFL Draft: Dallas Cowboys Meeting with Texas Safety DeShon Elliott
With more pressing needs on offense at guard and wide receiver, and defensively at DE or LB, the Cowboys' concerning lack of proven ability at safety has taken a backseat in this offseason's roster build. With the expectation that new Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard will elevate the play of the entire Cowboys' secondary, the team is doing their due diligence on safeties available in the 2018 NFL Draft - starting with Texas' DeShon Elliott.
It appears Texas S DeShon Elliott is visiting the #Cowboys today
With 63 tackles and six interceptions in his final season at Texas, Elliott took full advantage of being a starter in the Big 12 for the first time in his career, flying onto the NFL Draft scene.
Elliott is a well-balanced, average athlete with the upside to be targeted late in April's draft and make a difference.
If they had to play a game tomorrow, the Cowboys would be rolling with Jeff Heath, Xavier Woods, and Kavon Frazier at safety.
Finding an expanded role this season for Frazier should be a priority in Dallas, as should supplementing Heath and Woods with additional talent. DeShon Elliott would fit this group well, along with the Cowboys' scheme, given his range and disruptive ability.
Should Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown, and now Byron Jones help the Cowboys reach their full potential at CB, the Cowboys safeties will not be tested in single coverage up the field often. This is an area that Elliott was exploited in at Texas plenty of times, performing better as a true free safety or second-level player.
Continuing to add young talent at the right price is key to the Cowboys' ongoing rebuild on defense, now visiting with a local safety prospect that should be available to them in the later rounds. Texas' DeShon Elliott is officially a name to consider come draft week in Dallas.
Cowboys Draft: PSU WR DaeSean Hamilton Fits Cowboys’ “Type”
Last week, I detailed what the Cowboys tend to look for when drafting a wide receiver. In terms of a combine profile, Dallas clearly has a "type" of wide-out they like to target.
The Cowboys certainly need to upgrade their receiving corps, but with the plethora of other holes to fill, they may not be able to do so until the 3rd or 4th round. Luckily for the Cowboys, there is at least one receiver which both fits their profile and should be available early on day three.
That player is Penn State wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton.
Working on something for @InsideTheStarDC... here's the height, weight, 40 time, and 3 cone for every WR DAL has taken since 2010.
First, let's re-examine what the Cowboys like to look for. As you can see from the above graphic, the Cowboys draft targets all seem to fit a similar profile. If we treat Dez Bryant as their "ideal" draft pick, the trends become even clearer. Dallas wants to find a wide-out who is about 6'1" 205 pounds, runs nearly a 4.5 40 yard dash, and about a 6.9 three come time.
DeaSean Hamilton, coincidentally, is 6'1" 203 pounds, ran a 4.47 40 yard dash at the Penn State pro day, and ran a 6.84 three cone at the combine. Penn State's all time receptions leader stole the show at the 2018 Senior Bowl, putting all of "Draft Twitter" on notice to his talent.
An efficient and smooth route runner, Hamilton looks natural coming in and out of breaks, creating separation with his precise routes. The Cowboys don't have many receivers on their roster who can win with their route running, and adding a player like Hamilton would greatly help third year quarterback Dak Prescott moving forward.
With the ability to play in the slot, as well as potentially being a Z receiver for the Cowboys and a replacement for Terrance Williams, Hamilton would be an excellent draft target in the third or fourth round. And, keeping in mind how nicely he fits their typical draft profile, I'd expect Dallas to target Hamilton during the 2018 NFL Draft.
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