Take a step back: who should trade down on day 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft?

Take a step back: who should trade down on day 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft?
Reading Time: 4 minutes.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the NFL Draft is the trading between teams. In order to improve their draft stock. And, hopefully, ensure their primary targets are still on the board when they are on the clock. The talk is often concentrated on who is moving up. But in order to do that you need a trade partner. Let’s look at four teams who could potentially look to trade down in the first round. And see what they could accumulate as a result. All of these mock scenarios were run through the PFF Mock Draft Simulator

1 – Miami Dolphins #3

Why should they trade down?

Miami look unlikely, at this moment in time, to be in the market for one of the top 2021 quarterbacks. This scenario assumes Tua Tagovailoa is the long-term starter at QB for the Dolphins. And that they do not get involved in what could be a long, drawn-out, Deshaun Watson trade saga with the Texans. If this is how things play out then Miami will most likely be looking to either add more protection for Tua. Or a high profile receiver. Both of those positions are a little rich at #3 and there are several teams who could put forward an enticing offer to trade down a few places. Still leaving the Dolphins with their ideal pick available.

TRADE – Dolphins #3 for Carolina Panthers #8, #39 and a 2022 R3 pick

The Dolphins move down five spots so that the Panthers can take a quarterback. In the simulation the Dolphins still had the choice on offense of Jamarr Chase or Kyle Pitts (Jaylen Waddle had been selected). Or any of the highly-rated tackles after Penei Sewell. This would also give them picks at #36, #39 and #50 in round 2. Plenty of draft capital to play around with. 

2 – New York Giants #11

Why should they trade down?

The Giants remain in limbo in terms of overhauling their roster. They are still feeling the after effects of recent poor roster moves and costly contracts. Dave Gettlemen’s time as GM is littered with at least as many misses as hits. There is insufficient cap space to be major players in this free agency period. They are concentrating their efforts on trying not to lose too many valuable veterans. (Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson top of the list). The Giants also have a decision on the horizon about Saquon Barkley’s next contract. While Daniel Jones is entering year 3 of his rookie deal. There were flashes of improvement, particularly on defense, during 2020. But they need to make the most of the 2021 draft. An opportunity to move down coould be beneficial. Adding an additional pick in day 2 may be an opportunity too good to miss.

TRADE – Giants #11 for Chicago Bears #20 and #52

The Giants trade back 9 spots to pick up an additional mid-2nd round pick. Giving them picks #42, #52 and #76 on day 2. In the simulator they would still have been able to select edge rusher Greg Rousseau. He has fallen a few spots in recent mock drafts. Check out the difference of opinion on him in our Draft Talk podcast on the edge rushers! Other options were versatile linebacker/safety hybrid Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Someone Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham would love to have at his disposal. Or with wide receiver high on the shopping list Rashod Bateman could be better value at #20 than taking a receiver at #11.

3. – Indianapolis Colts #21

Colts GM Chris Ballard has only made one selection in the first round in the last three Drafts. Ballard loves the value which can be gained in additional draft picks on day 2. Having given up their 2021 3rd round selection as part of the deal for Carson Wentz, they may want to shop around to see if they can get a pick back as part of a deal. One of their main priorities now that Wentz is in place as their new signal-caller is to replenish the offensive line. In particular left tackle after the retirement of Antony Castonzo. The draft is deep at tackle and the Colts may be satisfied they can move down a few spots and still pick up a starting tackle.

TRADE – Colts #21 for New Orleans Saints #28 and #60

The Saints are the trade partner here. Possibly looking to trade up for Mac Jones as the long-term replacement for Drew Brees. The Colts would then be able to go into day 2 with picks #54 and #60. Which would suit Ballard just fine. At #28 there were plenty of tackles left on the board with the Colts able to select from Samuel Cosmi, Dillon Radunz, Teven Jenkins and Alijah Vera-Tucker.

4 – Buffalo Bills #30

The Bills are a team in the ascendancy, not only in the AFC East but in the conference. General Manager Brandon Beane and Head Coach Sean McDermott head up one of the most well-managed rosters at this moment in time. Although they will want to contend again next year they may look to gain a pick back after the Stefon Diggs trade cost their 4th round pick in this year’s draft. The Bills may be able to find a trade partner looking to make a splash with an additional 1st round pick and that is how the simulator played out here.

TRADE – Bills #30 & #175 for Philadelphia Eagles #37 and #84

The Eagles look to make 1st round headlines by dealing back into the back end of the round (with their additional pick from the Wentz trade) and the Bills are happy to slip into round 2 whilst gathering up the extra pick. If the Bills do take the step back they may need to accept top guard Wyatt Davis could be off the board. In the simulator they would still have had options on the offensive line (Vera-Tucker again, Alex Leatherwood or Liam Eichenberg) or good options at other positions (e.g. WR – Kadarius Toney, TE – Pat Freiermuth, LB – Jabril Cox plus several cornerback possibilities).

There were 11 trades in the first round of the 2020 Draft and we can expect similar movement this year (we already have 3 as part of completed trades). Could these be 4 teams who move down and who else could get involved in Day 1 wheeling and dealing.

Let us know what you think @ninetynineyards #DraftTalk

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