Reading some of your comments (yes all three of yours… well that’s not even true. One person commenting. Thanks Nat!), I decided I’d address why I don’t believe there will be trades at the top of the draft.
First the reason people like to talk about these trades.
1. Teams at the top tend to have massive needs that could benefit from more picks
Undoubtedly they do. It’s rarely one person or position that tanks a season for an NFL team. So I won’t deny that this is a reality for many teams that draft in the top 3 picks.
2. New to this season, a rookie wage scale will mean that you wont have to pay an arm and a leg (just an arm) for the top picks.
More and more this looks to be a lock for the new CBA. This is certainly a good thing, and over time I think this will loosen up the top of the draft and make it even more exciting for day 1.
3. There are players on the board that fit better needs and are coveted by teams that draft lower. For instance, the Arizona Cardinals want Blaine Gabbert trade.
This is really the only situation that causes a 1st overall to get moved. See the Ricky Williams deal.
So why won’t this happen. It’s called a draft value chart. If you haven’t seen one, it looks something like this.
You can see the top three picks are the only three over 2,000 points (we’ll call them). Now Arizona wants Blaine Gabbert. They pick at 5 – 1700 hundred points and they need to move up. They’re short 500 points to get to 3rd, which is worth their 2nd round pick (38th overall – 520 points), but the Bills are also very QB needy.
To get to Denver at 2, they’ll need 2600, which is 900 points, i.e. their 2nd and 3rd (and those are only 765 so Denver would have to really want to do it if they value the chart high).
To get to the top spot, it’s almost impossible without selling the future or their entire draft. You’re telling me that any player in this draft is worth an entire draft? I don’t think so.
And that’s the most likely candidate to get to the number 1 spot. These ideas of San Francisco (Thanks Tiki for that gem) moving up are ridiculous until NFL owners stop valuing picks by this system.
Now that day is coming as you can see from draft Guru’s Bill Belichick and Andy Reid (who have made a trade every draft since Belichick has been in New England), but there is still too much adherence to these guidelines than resistance. With a rookie wage cap it might shuffle these around more, and certainly a draft like this should feature more movement without a top dog, but I fully expect the Panthers, Broncos, and Bills to hand in their cards 1,2,3 at the end of April.
From Arizona’s perspective, there’s too much equal talent at the top of this draft to mortgage their future for a player that’s not that much better than anyone they could get at 5. And there’s so much depth at quarterback, as well as mediocrity, that the Cardinals shouldn’t try to send 4 picks to Carolina for the top pick (though it would be Carolina’s dream I imagine).