Last year, the Rams reeled in two first-round picks and a second-rounder in exchange for a flip-flop of the second and sixth overall picks. Likewise, the Vikings pilfered from the Browns a fourth-round pick, a fifth-round pick, and a seventh-round pick for a one-spot jump from four to three, which allowed the Browns to draft a running back (Trent Richardson) whom the Vikings never would have picked.
There was other movement at the top of the draft, with the Jags moving up to get Justin Blackmon, the Cowboys climbing the ladder for Morris Claiborne, and the Eagles rising up to get Fletcher Cox.
This year, there could be much less activity at the top.
“If you’re a playoff team this year, you have to be laughing,” preeminent NFL draft guru Mike Mayock tells Peter King of SI.com. “First, I don’t see much difference between the fifth and 25th picks this year. And I don’t really see the immediate difference-makers in the top 10.”
The one wild card in the flattening of the top of the draft pool is the fact that there’s a chance a team at the bottom will fall in love with one specific player who is creeping down the board. That could prompt a trade up, especially if said player fills a specific need for the team looking to make a move.
Need is the key. By late April, we’ll know what teams did, or didn’t, do in free agency. Some needs will be filled, and other needs could arise. And those needs could be enough to get a team to try to make a trade even though, when ignoring the positions the players play, the talent at the top is roughly the same.