It is a common belief that it will be exceedingly difficult for teams to trade down this year. The consensus is that there isn't much of a difference in talent from the #2 spot to around the #25 spot. While, for the most part, this is true, there are a couple very important positions to watch.
First, is quarterback. We all know Geno Smith is not a "can't miss" or blue chip prospect.However, he is the best this class has to offer. It is my belief that Smith is the sole QB capable of starting from day one. I'm far from the only one who feels this way. Assuming the Chiefs grab Joeckel first, there could be a lot of interest for a Smith trade up.Oakland, Cleveland, Arizona, Buffalo and New York(Jets) all draft in the top ten and will more than likely have a vested interest in being able to pickup a QB that is ready from day one. Such high demand in such a cluttered area of the draft can only help promote bidding wars to drive up the likelihood, and value, of a trade. I would feel much better about drafting Werner, Mingo, Jarvis Jones, Ansah(my personal favorite),Jordan, or even Warmack, in the 6-9 area than #2.Being able to grab an extra pick and still grab a player that fits a need would be great.
The other position, is left tackle.If the Chiefs were to take Geno Smith that leaves us with the ability to shop Luke Joeckel. Unlike Smith, Joeckel is considered by just about everyone to be a true blue chip player. Even though there are 2 blue chip tackles(Joeckel,Fisher) there are up to 8 teams(Arizona,San Diego,Miami[Long is a FA],St.Louis,Chicago,Indy, Phi and GB) that could be looking for a franchise left tackle in rnd 1. If Jason Peters has trouble returning, you could see interest in trading up skyrocket. Another scenario is if Joeckel is selected number one and Peters struggles to return from injury.This could entice teams like Arizona and San Diego to trade up with Jax in fear of both Fisher and Joeckel being off the board by the fourth pick.
Chicago is another team to watch. Chicago has a very talented roster with one glaring weakness, the offensive line.Convincing Jax to drop all the way to 20th will most likely require CHI to give up their 1st, 2nd and a later(5-7th) pick.This is a costly move but if Joeckel or Fisher can come in and play like Kalil did for Minnesota, it could mean a world of difference for the Bears. I think it is realistic for CHI to think that all it would need is to stabilize the OL to become a true super bowl contender.
Lane Johnson is the wild card here. His rise or fall on teams big boards will heavily affect how this all plays out. As it stands right now most people have Fisher and Joeckel at the top in a different class than everyone else.This is how it needs to stay to benefit Jax the most. Scarcity and value is what will drive and motivate trades.So here's to hoping Joeckel and Fisher stay the only two elite LT prospects.
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