It has been no secret that Gene Smith and the Jaguars wish to trade down come draft day and acquire more picks, specifically a 2nd rounder to replace the one lost for Derek Cox. To trade down, obviously there must be a team to trade up and there lies the problem. Unless a highly rated player on another team's board is available come draft day, the Jaguars will be stuck with their #10 pick and will be unable to trade it away.
There are certain criteria that a team must have in order to consider them a candidate to want to trade up. Most importantly, the team must feel that they are only a few players, if not one, away from being a Super Bowl contender. Do not expect the Lions to trade away the entire back half of their draft and their second round pick to acquire pick #10, because that just wouldn't make sense under any circumstance.
The exception to this rule is the quarterback position. If the price is right, teams that might still require rebuilding may consider trading up for a quarterback that they consider to be a guy that can be a franchise guy for them and lead them into a new era.
The option for the Jaguars to trade back will be largely dependent on the prospects on the board when it comes time for them to pick. How the first 9 picks fall will decide whether or not certain teams will be interested in trading to acquire the #10 pick. So we'll take a look at what teams may be interested in trading up if certain prospects are available.
Target #1: C.J. Spiller - RB - Clemson
Trade Candidate: San Diego Chargers (28th)
While it would cost a lot for the Chargers to move from 28th to 10th, their need for a RB is obvious. The 2009 season consisted of Philip Rivers carrying the Chargers through the regular season and into the playoffs with hardly any help from a running game. San Diego quickly addressed this issue by releasing both of their only two running backs with starting experience, Ladainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles. While they will probably address the need in free agency, the need for a solid future at the position wont be found in free agency and needs to be addressed in the draft.
At their current draft position they will likely have the decision to draft Ryan Mathews or Jonathan Dwyer with the 29th overall pick. They will have to decide if the difference between either of those backs and Spiller is worth the amount it would cost to jump 18 spots to #10. Spiller did the Jaguars a favor by running a blazing 4.37 40 yard dash which could only boost his stock and value. In the Chargers offense, they value pass-catching running backs and Spiller is without a doubt the best in the draft class at that.
Target #2: Dez Bryant - WR - Oklahoma State
One pick behind the Jaguars at 11th in this year's draft are the Denver Broncos. A team that in all likelihood could be without #1 receiver Brandon Marshall who they are looking to trade. Many believe that the Broncos will be interested in acquiring another talented receiver to take over the #1 receiving spot. It appears that Dez Bryant can be that guy. Any team that would wish to draft Dez Bryant would likely need to trade past the Broncos at 11 to ensure picking him.
The Dolphins cannot be happy with the wide receiver position. Davone Bess has been plus for them offensively, but he's not a #1 receiver and Ted Ginn Jr. isn't even close. The position will need to be addressed again and Dez Bryant is one that can come in right away and contribute a lot to their offense. The cost to move up two spots would be relatively inexpensive for the Dolphins and could net them with the most talented receiver in the draft.
The Bengals are another team in need of a playmaking WR to provide a threat in the passing game for Carson Palmer. With the loss of T.J. Houshmandzadeh in free agency and the tragic loss of Chris Henry, Cincinnati has been left with only one starting-quality receiver and no playmaking tight ends worth noting. The Bengals were even so desperate as to sign former Jaguar Matt Jones even after what some in the organization believe was one of the worst workouts they've seen. Golden Tate is a possibility for the Bengals, but Dez Bryant is the top talent at the position and as for character issues, we all know that doesn't matter to them.
Target #3: Joe Haden - CB - Florida
The Texans and Titans are teams within the division so the odds that the Jaguars would be willing to give Haden to them and the odds that either team would give up the draft picks to the Jaguars are both doubtful. The need is there though. Dunta Robinson will be gone from the Texan secondary next year and they will need to draft to replace him, while the Titans have to be sick of watching Nick Harper get torched. Secondary is the most pressing need for the Texans and Haden would have a huge impact on their defense. Haden would also have a huge impact for the Tennessee defense, but defensive end may be a higher priority.
Historically the Steelers haven't been a team very willing to trade up in the draft. But with cornerback as one of their most pressing needs this offseason, they might consider Haden to be worth the costs to trade up and acquire him.
At 19th, the Falcons need to find a #1 corner in the draft. In 2009 they largely relied on rookies Chris Owens and Brent Grimes and neither played well enough to believe they will be the future starting corners for the team. With Mike Smith as a friend of the Jaguars this isn't an unfathomable trade and maybe Gene Smith could hook him up with a discount.
For the Vikings to move all the way to 10th, the price would be staggering, but the need is definitely there. The Vikings were needy at the position even before starter Cedric Griffin tore his ACL which will likely hold him off the field until sometime during the 2010 season. They will address the position and have to think that they are only a piece or two away from a championship, especially if Brett Favre decides to return for his 35th season in the NFL. A team in that mindset is the most likely to want to get the best player at their position of need rather than settle with the pick available at their spot in the draft.
Target #4: Rolando McClain - LB - Alabama
Trade Candidates: Miami Dolphins (12th); New York Giants (15th); Pittsburgh Steelers (18th)
The Dolphins and Steelers both have a need for a 3-4 ILB and Rolando McClain is a perfect candidate. According to McClain himself, he is better suited for a 3-4 system and he believes he will be more successful in that system. The price tag for moving up isn't too ridiculous considering both teams are within 10 picks from the Jaguars.
The Giants have released Antonio Pierce and are now missing a central piece to their defense. The MLB needs to be filled and McClain would be the best person to fill the spot. I don't know how much of a connection remains between Tom Coughlin and the Jaguars, but you have to imagine that Tom knows the phone number.
Target #5: Jimmy Clausen - QB - Notre Dame
If Clausen lasts until the 10th pick, which is doubtful due to the fact that he is a QB and that is always overdrafted, he will probably be a hot trade commodity. The Broncos traded away their franchise quarterback to Chicago and need to find another one before they can truly be considered a Super Bowl contender. A one spot trade with Jacksonville would ensure that the Jaguars don't keep Clausen to themselves.
The 49ers claim to be set with Alex Smith, but a part of me believes that they would jump at the opportunity to get in front of the Broncos and take Clausen. The 49ers know better than anyone how valuable the QB position can be for a franchise after winning many championships on the backs of Steve Young and Joe Montana.
The Seahawks probably wont pass on Jimmy Clausen if he is available at #6, but if they do they might pull a Cleveland Browns move and trade up to get a player they passed on earlier in the first round.