Most likely first-round trades

Movie quote of the day:

“I caught you delicious bass.”

– Napoleon Dynamite, “Napoleon Dynamite” (2004)

We’re now two days out from the start of the NFL draft. There hasn’t been very many trades this offseason that involved first-round picks apart from New Orleans trading wide receiver Brandin Cooks to New England in exchange for the No. 32 pick. However, I expect that to change Thursday. This draft class is very good and deep, and that makes me think there’s going to be a lot of teams making deals. If there are some trades currently in the works, I don’t think they’ll be announced until Thursday because right now is chaos in every team’s front office. Anyway, here are some of the trades that I think are the most likely to happen in the first round:

Stanford DL Solomon Thomas celebrates with his teammates in a game against UCLA.

Carolina trades up to get the No. 2 pick from San Francisco to draft Solomon Thomas

San Francisco just feels like the team in the top five that is most likely to trade back, and Carolina is just on the back end of the top 10 and will probably miss out on some of the top players in this draft – and those players can really help fill needs for the Panthers. They have some early picks to make this happen – four picks in the first three rounds – which is why I think they’re the prime candidate to trade up. I went back and forth on who they should trade up for. Leonard Fournette would be a perfect fit in Carolina’s offense, but I feel like edge rusher is a more crucial position in today’s NFL – especially when playing in the NFC South division. Thomas is a really talented pass rusher that would be perfect in a 4-3 style defense – which is what Carolina runs. He’ll be a starter on day one. With him and Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei on the same defensive line, watch out quarterbacks in the NFC South.

North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Mitchell Trubisky looks to pass in the first quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland trades up to get the No. 5 pick from Tennessee to draft Mitchell Trubisky

While I’m not 100 percent sure that a quarterback will get drafted in the top 10, I don’t think it could hurt for Cleveland to be extra cautious and give up some of its picks to take Trubisky – especially with the New York Jets picking at No. 6. I wouldn’t trust the Jets to not draft the top quarterback in this class right now. Trubisky has received some criticism from scouts because he doesn’t have enough experience, but I still think he’s a perfect fit for the Browns. He’s from northeast Ohio and has said he always dreamed of playing quarterback and being the savior of Cleveland – trust me, no one has that dream. I feel like this would be a fair deal. Cleveland desperately needs a quarterback, and Tennessee showed last year that it was willing to move back in the draft to acquire more picks and improve the overall roster.

Alabama Crimson Tide defensive lineman Jonathan Allen walks on the field during the first quarter in the 2016 CFP Semifinal against the Washington Huskies at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Washington trades up to get the No. 9 pick from Cincinnati to draft Jonathan Allen

The defensive line in Washington is extremely mediocre – and its run defense has ranked in the bottom half of the league three of the last four years because of it. I begged the Redskins to draft some youth to the unit last year, but they only took one defensive lineman … in the fourth round. They added some pieces this offseason to try to bolster the defensive line, none are game changers though, but Allen is. He’s a complete interior defensive lineman that can rush the passer and stop the run. He was SEC Defensive Player of the Year last year, and also won the Nagurski, Bednarik, and Lombardi awards – the guy can play, plain and simple. Washington has an abundance of draft picks this weekend and I really think the Redskins should look into trading up for Allen.

Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback Austin Allen (left) drops back to pass and is pressured by Missouri Tigers defensive end Charles Harris during the first half at Faurot Field. Missouri won 28-24. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas trades up to get the No. 20 pick from Denver to draft Charles Harris

Dallas has a ton of defensive needs, but none are more important than finding an edge rusher in this draft. In a division where the Cowboys have to face Eli Manning, Kirk Cousins, and Carson Wentz six times a season, they really need to be able to get after the passer. Randy Gregory hasn’t panned out and he’s been suspended for one year, and Demarcus Lawrence is a solid player but he’s about to be a free agent, and had problems staying healthy last season. I’m not sure Dallas can afford to give up a ton of picks for one defensive player, but finding a really good pass rusher can do wonders for any defense – just look at Khalil Mack in Oakland or Von Miller in Denver. Harris would be a good fit in Dallas. He was utilized more of a run stopper last year at Missouri, but he has plenty of skill as an edge rusher and played in a 4-3 defense in college – which is the style of defense that Dallas runs.

Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson celebrates a touchdown against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the the 2016 CFP semifinal at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City trades up to get the No. 21 pick from Detroit to draft Deshaun Watson

Other than maybe Arizona, I’m not sure there’s a better fit for Watson than Kansas City. Andy Reid has a history of being able to turn mobile quarterbacks into quality starters that fit his system (Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, and Alex Smith) – and the word is that Reid really likes Watson. I think trading up for Watson would be an outstanding decision by the Chiefs that will benefit in the long term. I think Watson is a franchise quarterback. He’s a proven winner, he’s mature, and he plays best in the spotlight. There would be no pressure for Watson either. He can take a backseat to Alex Smith for a few years, and Reid can coach him up, correct his mechanics, and get him familiar with the system. It’s a great fit for both sides.

Thanks for reading

Shane Price
Follow me on Twitter – @priceisright53

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