2012 NFL Draft: Is It Time to Trade Down Yet?

When a draft day trade is struck, there doesn't necessarily have to be a winner and a loser. Generally, the team trading up is usually one of the better teams in the league looking for top flight players to help them take the extra step needed to be a Super Bowl contender while the team trading down is looking to maximize the value they can find in the draft to help their team long-term.

In many cases, both teams get exactly what they're looking for, but the draft is an unpredictable thing and often times one team will end up looking like the poor decision makers of the two. Trading up is a risky move that will leave a team looking dumb if they pick a draft bust (*cough cough* Derrick Harvey) or smart if they pick a winner. It is a move that sometimes works, but trading down is a move that usually works.

A good example of a blockbuster trade in the first round came in the 2011 NFL Draft when the Falcons jumped from 27th overall to 6th overall to pick wide receiver Julio Jones. Following a 13-3 season, Atlanta felt that they were a single playmaking receiver away from being a Super Bowl contender. With nearly 1,000 yards receiving in his rookie year and rave reviews from teammates including Tony Gonzalez who called Jones "the best incoming receiver [he's] ever played with" in training camp, it's fair to say that the Falcons can feel good about their decision as the early returns suggest they got what they were looking for.

That doesn't mean that the Browns who fell from 6th to 27th have to feel bad about their situation, though, as they essentially acquired four other draft picks and coupled the 27th pick with their 70th overall section to move up to 21st to pick defensive tackle Phil Taylor. Altogether they lost the 6th and 70th picks to get the 21st (Phil Taylor), 59th (Greg Little) and 124th (Owen Marecic) selections along with 1st and 4th round picks in the 2012 NFL Draft.

While the Falcons appear to have found what they were looking for in Jones, the Browns did pretty well for themselves.

And that brings it back to the Jaguars. They are in line to pick in the top 10 for a fifth consecutive season, but could be in the driver's seat to finally pull the trigger on a trade that would allow them to move back in the first round.

Free agency will go a long way towards revealing the Jaguars' options in the draft and if they can eliminate their need to find starters at premium positions like cornerback and defensive ends, they will be completely free to pursue such a trade.

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