As we continue to look ahead to the NFL draft, a question worth considering is not just whether the Broncos might want to move up or down the draft board, but whether other teams may want to do the same.
The ability of a team to move up the draft board may depend on how many draft picks the team has available. Having a low number of picks doesn’t mean the team won’t move up the board, but it is something to consider. Meanwhile, a team that doesn’t have that many picks might consider moving down if it wants to gain additional picks.
I will examine each of the teams, the number of picks they have and the possibility that this team may move up or down the board.
Each team is listed with its total number of picks. Most of them are listed by individual round, and those that are, I indicated whether a pick was obtained from another team (which can be traded) or a compensatory pick (which cannot be traded this year). A few are not, though, and those that are not are teams who either have their original pick in each round or those teams who do not have a pick in a particular round and did not acquire any additional picks.
Total picks: Six (first, third, fourth, fifth, fifth-comp, sixth)
The Cardinals are coming off their second straight playoff trip and are a team that may be looking for its final pieces to push for a trip to the Super Bowl. But with just six picks and one of them a compensatory pick, the Cardinals don’t have much draft capital left to make a move up the board.
Total picks: Five (no fifth- or sixth-round pick)
The Falcons appear, on the surface, to be a team that would like to move down the draft board to pick up an extra pick or two. Their picks fall in the middle of each round, so they are in good position to work trades if certain players tumble down the board that other teams covet.
Total picks: Eight (first, second, third, fourth, fourth-Den, fourth-comp, sixth, sixth-comp)
Historically, the Ravens have done a good job moving up and down the draft board. The team struggled last year in large part because of injuries, so I wouldn’t expect them to make a panic move. If they make any draft-day moves, they appear more likely to trade down than move up.
Total picks: Eight (first, second, third, fourth, fourth-comp, fifth, sixth, sixth-comp)
After the recent move up the board to draft Sammy Watkins, I think the Bills are better off not moving up the board. But a move down the board could be useful.
Total picks: Six (first, second, third, fourth, fifth, seventh)
The Panthers might be interested in trading out of the first round because they don’t have pressing needs that they must fill with a first-round pick. Doing that allows them to gain additional draft capital.
Total picks: Nine (first, second, third, fourth, fourth-NE, fifth, sixth, sixth-Car, seventh)
The Bears are in good position, because they have plenty of picks to work with to either fill needs or perhaps make a move up the board in the later rounds.
Total picks: Seven
The Bengals are one of the few teams that will have all of their original picks. They typically allow any free agent who prices himself too high to depart, which has left them with a few holes to fill. But it would appear to me they will be content to stand pat rather than move up the board.
Total picks: Ten (first, second, third, fourth, fourth-comp, fifth, fifth-comp, fifth-comp, sixth, seventh)
Although two of Cleveland’s picks can’t be traded, that still gives the Browns eight picks that could be used as bargaining chips to move up the board later in the draft. But I wouldn’t anticipate that happening, given the Browns are trying to take a different approach to building the team. So they are more likely to want to trade down, given that they have so many needs to address.
Total picks: Nine (first, second, third, fourth, fourth-comp, sixth-Oak, sixth-comp, sixth-comp, sixth-comp)
The Cowboys have gotten better with roster management, as evidenced by the four compensatory picks they gained. But that leaves them with just five picks that they can trade. On the other hand, their struggles last season can be chalked up to key injuries, so I wouldn’t expect them to trade up and more likely to trade down.
Total picks: Ten (first, second, third, third-comp, fourth-comp, fifth-Bal, sixth-comp, seventh-SF, seventh-StL-via-Hou, seventh)
We’ve discussed the Broncos many times over. To sum up: This is another year in which John Elway could make a move up the board if a player he likes slides down and he’s worth trading up for, given that he has seven picks that can be traded and at least one player (Ryan Clady) who he is trying to trade.
Total picks: Ten (first, second, third-comp, fourth, fifth, fifth-Den, sixth, sixth-Sea, sixth-comp, seventh)
The Lions have plenty of picks (eight) that they could trade, so they are in position to move up the board if they wish. I could see such a move happening, given that the Lions are hoping to get back to the playoffs this season.
Total picks: Nine (first, second, third, fourth, fourth-comp, fourth-comp, fifth, sixth, seventh)
The Packers have made moves up the board in the past and the compensatory picks they received in the fourth round mean they could feel comfortable moving up a few spots in one of the earlier rounds.
Total picks: Seven (first, second, third, fourth, fifth, fifth-NE, sixth-NYJ)
The Texans appear to have a mindset that they need to make the playoffs this year or the regime could change. Whether that makes the Texans aggressive in draft-day moves up the board remains to be seen, but it’s possible they could move one of their late-round picks.
Total picks: Seven
Another team that has all of its original picks, and given that the trade for Trent Richardson didn’t work out and that the Colts have plenty of holes to fill, they are better off not moving up the board. They should consider moving down, though.
Total picks: Eight (first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, sixth-Pit, seventh)
Given that Jacksonville is drafting early in each round, the Jaguars are a better candidate for trading down than moving up.
Total picks: Seven (first, second, fourth, fifth-Sea, fifth, sixth, seventh)
The Chiefs have no third-round pick but the slate of picks they have would make it difficult to put together a good offer to jump into that round. Still, it’s a possibility given that the Chiefs likely have their eyes on the AFC West title.
Total pick: Six (first, second-Phi, second, third, fourth, sixth)
The Rams might be wanting to make that final push into the playoffs, which would suggest they’d like to move up the board. But they have just six picks, so doing so would be difficult.
Total picks: Eight (first-Phi, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh-Bal, seventh)
The Dolphins have already moved down in the first round thanks to the Byron Maxwell trade. That would suggest they aren’t likely to move back up in the first round. In later rounds, though, who knows. Mike Tannenbaum has shown a willingness to move up the board during his time with the Jets, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they try trading up in later rounds.
Total picks: Eight (first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth-SF, seventh-Buf, seventh)
The Vikings are another team that is in position to make a move up the board. If a player they like starts sliding down the board, I could see a move happening.
Total picks: Eleven (second, second-Ari, third, third-comp, sixth-Hou, sixth-Chi, sixth-comp, sixth-comp, sixth-comp, seventh-Hou, seventh)
The Patriots have traded up before and have two sixth-round picks that can be traded. They really aren’t in a position to trade into the first round (not that I would expect them to) but a move up in the second or third round would make sense.
Total picks: Seven
Another team with its original slate of seven draft picks. If I were the Saints, I would avoid trading up, but who knows if that’s what they’ll do.
New York Giants
Total picks: Six (no seventh-round pick)
The Giants pick early in most rounds, so a move down the board would make sense. They don’t have the draft capital to move up.
New York Jets
Total picks: Six (no sixth-round pick)
The Jets don’t have the picks to move up the board and the current regime doesn’t strike me as one that is prepared to make a bold move. I imagine they might want to trade down.
Total picks: Eight (first, second, third, fourth, fifth-Dal, fifth, sixth-Ind, seventh)
The Raiders have plenty of draft capital to fill remaining needs and this could be a good year for Reggie McKenzie to move up the board a few spots, given that he has an extra fifth-round pick.
Total picks: Nine (first-Mia, third-Det, third, fourth-Ten, fifth, fifth-Pit, sixth, seventh, seventh-Ari)
The Eagles have already moved around the board thanks to a pair of trades. The lack of a second-round pick, but with two third-round picks, makes me wonder if they will try to move up into the second round at some point.
Total picks: Seven (first, second, third, fourth, sixth-comp, seventh-NYG, seventh)
Since the Steelers can’t trade their sixth-round pick, I imagine the only way they could move up the board is if they are moving up a spot or two in the third or fourth round. Otherwise, they are more likely to consider trading down.
Total picks: Eight (first, second, third, fourth, fifth-comp, sixth, sixth-Min, seventh)
The extra sixth-round pick the Chargers have might tempt them to move up the draft board in the second or third round.
Total picks: Twelve (first, second, third, fourth, fourth-comp, fifth-SD, fifth, fifth-comp, sixth-Dal, sixth-Den, sixth-comp, sixth-comp)
Trent Baalke has generally preferred to stockpile picks. Considering the Niners have a lot of needs to address, I wouldn’t expect too many trades up the board, but it could happen in the third or fourth round.
Total picks: Nine (first, second, third, third-comp, fourth, fifth-comp, sixth-comp, seventh-Dal, seventh)
Having nine picks is good, but with three that can’t be traded, I don’t believe the Seahawks will make a move up the draft board.
Total picks: Seven (first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, sixth-Was)
On one hand, having an extra sixth-round pick could make the Buccaneers a candidate to move up the board. On the other hand, they have many needs to address, so I think they may be more interested in trading down.
Total picks: Eight (first, second, third, fourth-Phi, fifth, sixth, sixth-Atl, seventh)
The Titans still have a lot of needs to address, so they strike me as a team that may want to trade down with others.
Total picks: Eight (first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth-NO, seventh-TB, seventh)
Given the slate of picks Washington has, I’m thinking they might try to move up the board in the fourth or fifth round.