The 2011 NFL draft is shaping up to be very interesting. As of now, the labor situation figures to give the draft a different feel and potentially alter strategies. If things are not resolved the only draft day trades we will see will be involving picks. With that being said, I want to talk about the strategy of trading back into the first round to select a quarterback. In recent years, we have seen the Broncos and Browns trade back into the first round to select Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn. The prospects and landscape of this draft gives me the feeling that we could see a team trade back into the first round to select a quarterback. Quarterbacks such as Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Ryan Mallett, Christian Ponder, Colin Kaepernick, and Andy Dalton all have ranging value and could be targeted at different parts of the draft. After the Jump I look at some potential trade scenarios and likely landing spots for some of the quarterbacks.
The consensus is that both Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton will be gone by the middle of the first round meaning they will be unlikely targets of a team looking to move back into the first round. However, the other quarterbacks have varying draft stock meaning they could go anywhere from mid first round to mid second round. What will determine their position will be dependent on what each team prefers.
I have identified 5 hot spots for a potential trade and they are #28 New England, #29 Bears, #31 Pittsburgh, #32 Green Bay, and #33 New England. New England has shown in the past that they are willing to trade back and pick up extra picks. The Bears will be likely targeting an offensive lineman in the 1st round but its possible their top choices will be gone by pick #29. Moving back might give the Bears a chance to get better value and pick up some more picks. Both Pittsburgh and Green Bay have few holes so they might be willing to deal for a chance to get some future assets.
This year we have as many as 8 teams looking to improve at the quarterback position. The uncertainty with free agency and player trades means the draft is more important than ever. Here is the list of teams and 2nd round picks that could be targeting quarterbacks: #34 Buffalo, #35 Cincinnati, #38 Arizona, #39 Tennessee, #41 Washington, #43 Minnesota, #49 Jacksonville, and #57 Seattle. Keep in mind that two of these teams might be removed from this list if they end up selecting Gabbert or Newton. However, just look at how close each of these teams are in terms of draft order. If your a team hoping to land a quarterback early in round two you will likely need to trade up in order to get your guy.
Moving back into the first round isn't cheap and has the potential to set your franchise back a few years. Last year, the Broncos moved up to #25 to select Tebow trading their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round picks. Cleveland traded their 2nd round pick and a future 1st round pick in order to move up to #22 and select Brady Quinn. It appears likely a team will make a move in this draft but they need to consider the ramifications.
I am generally on board with moving up to get a guy that's on top of your board. NFL teams need to follow the opinion of their personal people and make touch decisions. If they feel that their dream player is in reach they need to make a move to ensure he ends up on their team. With that being said, make sure you have done your homework and you don't have anyone else you might be willing to consider.