The 2019 NFL Draft should follow in the footsteps of recent drafts and is set up nicely for fans who love to see big trades go down.
It’s a defensive-heavy first round, yet there is a dire need for quarterback help around the league. That dynamic, along with the fact that some teams picking early already have a quarterback, should lead to plenty of trade action.
These are the teams that should trade up, and down, once the action starts on April 25 in Nashville.
Up: New York Giants
The Giants are in a lurch right now with Eli Manning as the only quarterback even remotely worthy of starting on the roster. He’s washed up, and after trading away Odell Beckham Jr., the offense is going to be in even worse shape than it was last year.
It’s time to go all-in on a quarterback at the top of the draft. Arizona looks to be set on taking Kyler Murray at No. 1, but there are three other quarterbacks — Drew Lock, Dwayne Haskins or Daniel Jones — that Big Blue could choose from if it moves up to secure the player it likes.
Down: San Francisco 49ers
No team in the 2019 NFL Draft is as perfectly positioned to rake in an epic haul than the 49ers. With Arizona seemingly eyeing Murray, general manager John Lynch holds the keys to the pick any team desperate for a quarterback will covet.
The best part for San Francisco here is that it should still be able to land a top-10 pick out of any trade scenario given the quarterback-needy teams within that group this year.
One of the biggest dumpster fires around the league on a perennial basis, Washington has been mired in mediocrity for what seems like eons. One of the big reasons the team hasn’t been able to get out of its funk (aside from the front-office dysfunction) is that it hasn’t had a quarterback who can put the offense on his back in a long time.
If things are going to change, Washington cannot continue to sit on its heels and wait for fortune to fall in its lap. It’s time to get aggressive. Case Keenum is not the answer. He never will be. Washington needs a quarterback, and it needs one now.
Down: New York Jets
General manager Mike Maccagnan has already made it clear that his No. 3 overall pick is up for sale. He has his quarterback, and while there are some elite defensive players he could land with that pick, the Jets would be better off trading down to collect more talent across the board.
The big question for the Jets is: Will there be room enough for two big trade-up scenarios, assuming the 49ers dump their No. 2 overall pick?
Up: Denver Broncos
If the Jets can find a trade partner, it might just be John Elway. He has floundered big time in his quest to find a replacement for Peyton Manning. And unless Joe Flacco can turn back time to 2012, that trend is set to continue in 2019.
The Broncos have to land a franchise quarterback. If they don’t, then the recent trend of being just good enough to linger in the middle of the pack will continue. And if that happens, look for Denver to start losing its appeal when it comes to being a desirable destination for top players.
Down: Buffalo Bills
There’s no doubt the Bills can land one of the top defensive talents in the draft if they stand pat at No. 9 overall. However, the first round is going to be absolutely loaded from top to bottom with impact defenders. And while Buffalo has done an outstanding job of filling needs in free agency there is still plenty of work to do.
If Buffalo can find a willing trade partner in the middle or late first round, it should take the deal. Such a trade would come with solid compensation, which would allow general manager Brandon Beane to continue building his roster through the draft.
There is one particular player the Packers should target in a trade-up scenario. That player is LSU linebacker Devin White. He’s quite a bit like Patrick Willis was in the way he reads offenses and then reacts like a jungle cat, utilizing his elite quickness and speed.
Putting a playmaking inside linebacker into Green Bay’s defense would be just what the doctor ordered. However, sitting there at No. 12 overall, the Packers are at risk of seeing this dynamic playmaker fall through their fingertips. Armed with the 30th overall pick, general manager Brian Gutekunst should pounce on the chance to move up.
Down: Jacksonville Jaguars
Tom Coughlin is running the show in Jacksonville, and he seems absolutely set on having Nick Foles be the face of the franchise for the foreseeable future. With that in mind, the logical move for the Jaguars would be to trade down from No. 7 overall to amass draft capital unless they feel like D.K. Metcalf or another receiver is worth taking at that spot.
Already armed with top pass rushers and a rock solid defense, the Jags are in prime position to hook a team looking to move up for a top defender.
One of the teams that could be itching to move up into the top-10 for an impact defender is Indianapolis. In particular, the Colts need to find an elite pass rusher, which is something they’ve been missing since Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis hung up their cleats.
This year’s draft class has some incredibly gifted young pass rushers, but the ones with the most promise are going to be taken off the board early. Trading up for one of them is a smart move.
Down: Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles comes into the 2019 NFL Draft with the No. 31 overall pick, and then doesn’t pick again until late in the third round. The Rams saw some top players leave this winter and have some holes to fill. Trading down from late in the first round to acquire an extra pick or two would give general manager Les Snead the best chance to fill some of those holes.