The recent trend of trades in the NFL has subsided for now, but it could continue. Specifically, it could continue on the first night of the draft.
Despite no clear consensus on how the top of the draft will or should unfold, specific teams eventually will finalize their boards, and presumably will have a short list of players they covet above all others. Some teams may decide to make a move up the board, with the ideal timing being when the pick they are acquiring is on the clock.
In hindsight, the Jets’ decision to spring from No. 6 to No. 3 before the draft starts could be the aberration. The better move when acquiring a pick always is to get the pick at a time when no one else can react to the development by trying to acquire a higher pick.
The most obvious candidate to make a move up is the Bills, who already have jumped from No. 21 to No. 12 in a climb that most see as a stepping stone to something much higher. The Giants remain the most likely partner at No. 2, but other teams could be interested in the pick, and the Giants have no reason to rush a trade, given the reality that the offers will get better, not worse, as the draft approaches.
Other teams in the top 10, primarily those who don’t need a top-flight quarterback, could be looking to trade down and stockpile picks; the question becomes which quarterbacks will be left after the first three or four picks are made. Which makes those types of trades even more conducive to waiting and seeing how things pan out.
Then there are the two veteran players generating the most pre-draft trade buzz: Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. As to both players, the ideal timing to move them for picks would be to do so when the highest selection to be obtained is on the clock. This would require a deal to be done late in the process — or with complete and total secrecy. As to Beckham, that won’t be easy to accomplish, since he’ll want a new contract as part of the new location. Still, for both the Giants and the Patriots, waiting until the best pick they’d get is on the clock provides maximum value.
When it comes to acquiring draft picks, waiting until the pick is on the clock always provides maximum value. Which means that there could be a rash of trades in 23 days in Dallas, when the 2018 draft commences.