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Trading down is tough to do in the NFL Draft. Could the Jaguars pull it off this year?
Around this time every year, like clockwork, fans begin to clamor for their team to trade down in the NFL Draft. In recent years, Jaguars fans have been particularly persistent in that opinion.
Ironically enough, in each of the last two drafts, the Jaguars have traded up. First, Jacksonville moved up from No. 17 to No. 10 to draft quarterback Blaine Gabbert in 2011 and a year ago the team moved from No. 7 to No. 5 to select wide receiver Justin Blackmon.
Holding the No. 2 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Jaguars are once again in a position where trading down would be a nice option. The talent in the top five of this draft isn't a whole lot different from what will be available in the 10-15 range.
Of course, the issue with trading down is finding a partner. As yourself, if this draft isn't top heavy, what would entice someone to trade with the Jaguars? A trade down isn't out of the question but could hinge on a select few players being available. Let's take a look at a few possible scenarios.
Player: Luke Joeckel, Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M
Teams potentially interested: Philadelphia, Detroit, Arizona, San Diego
Many have anointed Luke Joeckel as the draft's top overall talent. He's the best offensive tackle in a draft that is light on quarterbacks. Depending on how things play out between Kansas City and Brandon Albert, the Chiefs could be in play for Joeckel with the No. 1 pick.
If, however, the Aggie tackle is still available at No. 2, the Jaguars could be in a position to trade down. Jacksonville is set at left tackle with Eugene Monroe, so the need isn't there. Meanwhile, Philadelphia, Detroit and Arizona could all be potential suitors for Joeckel in the top seven picks. San Diego is sitting at No. 11 and could also be in the mix. With an abundance of teams in need of a left tackle, and only Joeckel and Eric Fisher worth the price of a top ten pick, things could get interesting.
Player: Geno Smith, Quarterback, West Virginia
Teams potentially interested: Oakland, Philadelphia, Arizona, Buffalo, New York (Jets)
Geno Smith will be put under the microscope over the next few months by NFL front offices in an effort to determine his draft value. Some think he will come off the board first, while others don't consider him a first round pick. All of the talk in Jacksonville lately has been that Blaine Gabbert will get a chance to compete and the new regime isn't completely discouraged by the young quarterback's ability. While most assumed he would get a chance, and this could just be coach speak, the team might not be ready to pull the trigger on a quarterback with the second pick.
We can assume David Caldwell would pull the trigger if he believed strongly that there was a quarterback in this draft that would be an upgrade for the Jaguars. If the Chiefs pass on Smith, and Caldwell isn't sold on him, he could field offers and gauge interest in the pick. A handful of teams in the top ten will be in the market for a quarterback, so all it will take is two teams to be interested in Smith to create a bidding war for the pick.
Teams potentially interested: Oakland, Philadelphia, Carolina, Dallas
It's no secret that the 2013 NFL Draft is loaded with talent at defensive tackle. Star Lotulelei, Sheldon Richardson and Sharrif Floyd should all be gone by the middle of the first round. The Jaguars could be in the market for interior defensive line help, but as strong as this class is at the top it has the depth to match. If a team drafting behind the Jaguars falls in love with one of the defensive tackles, they could be in a position to move the pick.
Bottom line: It won't be easy for the Jaguars to move back. It never is. But if they can manage to do so, that would seem to be the ideal scenario. With as deep and talented as this draft class, the more picks the better. Plus, the Jaguars are in the market for pass rushers, but a trade back wouldn't kill their chances of finding a quality option. A lot will change between now and April, and this topic will most certainly be revisited.