Thursday, April 18, 2019 at 9:43 PM (NFL Draft)
10. Dallas Cowboys- Does anyone reasonably expect Jerry Jones and the Cowboys to sit patiently until their first selection at 58th overall? The Cowboys traded for Amari Cooper because they are trying to win now. Dallas knows that an impact player is cheaper through the draft than free agency (Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper will be signing lucrative extensions soon), so it wouldn't be the least bit surprising if the Cowboys traded a future first round pick to move into the first round this year.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers- The AFC North is wide open, and the Steelers have to feel good about their chances. With first time head coaches taking over in Cleveland and Cincinatti, and with additional game film increasing the likelihood of a sophomore slump for Lamar Jackson in Baltimore, Pittsburgh is surprisingly the division's most reliable team. LeVeon Bell's departure is accounted for by James Connor, but it wouldn't be outlandish to think that the Steelers may package their own 1st round pick with some combination of its two 3rd or 6th round picks nab a top flight Antonio Brown replacement.
8. Kansas City Chiefs- Armed with the 29th, 61st, and 63rd picks, the Chiefs have plenty of ammunition to grab their running back of choice to replace Kareem Hunt, or to move up for a more quality pass rusher to replace Dee Ford and Justin Houston. The Chiefs don't have many holes, so they have the luxury of prioritizing quality over quantity via trade.
7. Philadelphia Eagles- The Eagles have two first round picks and not many pressing needs. As owners of the 23rd and 25th picks, I expect the Philadelphia to move up few spots in the first round to ensure they get their preferred defensive back. They would likely receive a 2nd or 3rd round pick in return, which they could either use directly on a running back or package with the 57th pick to move up for a higher rated running back prospect.
6. Houston Texans- The Texans possess 3 of the draft's first 55 selections, so they have the flexibility to maneuver around for an offensive lineman or a running back (i.e. Josh Jacobs?) should they so desire. Houston likely already feels good about their chances of competing in the AFC South, ans would feel even better about the possibility of a super bowl run if they can add two top rookies to a now fully healthy J.J. Watt and DeAndre Hopkins.
5. Indianapolis Colts- With Andrew Luck's nagging injuries behind him, and more seasoning on a young but already stingy defense, the Colts are in prime position to advance deeper than last year's divisional round. Indianapolis' window is now, and with all of their own picks and multiple 2nd and 4th round selections, the Colts may very well move up for a stud wide receiver or defensive tackle to get them over the hump.
4. New York Giants- With the 6th, 17th, and 37th picks, the Giants hold all the cards to be able to manipulate the draft and select whomever they want to build around. For New York, selecting the right two players as franchise cornerstones might be more important than three dart throws. Therefore, I expect the Giants to trade up rather than hope that their targets fall to them.
3. Green Bay Packers- The Packers have to feel good about their chances to reclaim the NFC North and contend in the NFC with Aaron Rodgers at full strength, a modern offense under new head coach Matt LaFleur, and a year of seasoning on the young receiving corps and defense. Green Bay has all seven of its own picks, as well an additional 1st, 4th, and 6th round selection. The Packers are especially motivated to capitalize on Aaron Rodgers' prime, so look for Green Bay to trade up if they fall in love with someone who they think might not be there at 12th or 30th overall. Packers' General Manager Brian Gutekunst proved last year that he isn't afraid to move up for a player he loves. Expect him to do it again.
2. Oakland Raiders- The Raiders, owners of three 1st round picks thanks to the Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper trades, have been rumored to have interest in trading up to #1 overall to draft Kyler Murray. While that is certainly possible, perhaps even more likely is the Raiders packaging some combination of the 24th, 27th, and 35th picks to move into the teens for a defensive lineman that enamors them. Although the Raiders have 4 of the draft's first 35 picks, they have none between 36-105. Look for them to use their flexibility to move up for a future star in the middle of the first round.
1. New England Patriots- The Patriots are usually prime candidates to trade down and acquire more picks, as they seem to do so almost every year. However, this year New England has the most picks (12) of any team in the draft. Six of those picks are in the first 3 rounds, yet none are higher than 32nd overall. Additionally, the Patriots have four 7th round picks, and I'd be shocked if they used all of them. The departures of Kevin Hogan and Gronk leave New England with major holes in the passing game, so expect the Patriots to package several of their 12 picks to move up for player Bill Belichick just cannot pass on.