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The Price is Right: Realistic NFL Draft first-round trades

Over the past five draft classes, there have been around five NFL Draft night trades made in the first round. Expect that trend to continue when the Cincinnati Bengals are on the clock. The question will be who is moving up and what is the asking price? 

The NFL draft is supposed to help teams build for success. Sometimes, that includes giving up picks for the future to contend for the now. Every team will be different when looking for a price. Some will ask for several mid-rounders to move back several spots, while others will need a hefty payday for a player that fits a mold.

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All about NFL Draft night trades

April’s draft night is right around the corner, with speculation in full effect. Throwing in the virtual aspect will already put a damper on selections and could make it hard for general mangers to swap deals before the clock strikes zero.

Using the Pro Football Network Mock Draft Simulator, these five teams could be making NFL Draft night trades to find their franchise star come that chaotic Thursday. 

Dolphins jump for Joe

Cincinnati Bengals receive: Picks No.5, No.18, No.26, No.56, 2021 first-round pick 

Miami Dolphins receive: No.1 pick and No.65 picks 

If the rumors that the Dolphins are interested in trading up are true, Joe Burrow better be the answer that will change the franchise into a contender. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner is not only an Ohio native but he also put up video game numbers on his way to leading the Bayou Bengals to their first championship since 2007.

Should Miami be all-in for the first overall pick and Cincinnati content with moving back, the Dolphins will be coughing up their entire draft. A pair of first-round picks won’t satisfy Duke Tobin, but the overhaul of all three of the Dolphins’ first-rounders, plus Houston first-round pick next year should get it done. Throw in a mid-round selection for fun, and both teams will walk away happy for their futures.

The Dolphins grab perhaps the most pro-ready quarterback to contend in the now winnable AFC East, even if he sits behind Ryan Fitzpatrick to begin the season. Cincinnati would still be in play for a quarterback, plus they would now have extra picks to address their offensive line troubles or linebacker woes at 18 and 26.

Miami wasn’t playing around this offseason with their signings. Adding Burrow will cost them, but it could be a piece to turn the franchise back into a playoff contender by 2021.

Los Angeles loves Herbert

New York Giants receive: No.6, No.37, 2021 fourth-round pick

Los Angeles Chargers receive: No.4, 2021 sixth-round pick 

With more reports coming in that the Dolphins could draft Oregon’s Justin Herbert over Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, the Chargers would need to jump into the top-five. Tom Telesco has stated that the team will begin the year with Tyrod Taylor, but nine seasons as a journeyman makes it hard to imagine him as the long-term solution.

If the former Ducks’ quarterback fits the bill, they’ll have to strike an NFL Draft night trade with the Giants. Dave Gettleman will have options to draft either an offensive tackle or linebacker, but both should be available with the six selection. If Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons is off the board at three, New York should look for quantity as much as quality. 

A second-round pick plus a future selection to move up two spots is a win for both franchises. Los Angeles will have their signal-caller for beyond the impending season, giving Taylor will have some competition to prove he’s still the right man to lead the charge. New York will add a pass protector, plus back-to-back selection Friday they could package to move up for a linebacker Thursday night.

Miami would likely “settle” for Tua, and the Chargers would have a quarterback who keeps them in contention for the 2020 season. Everyone walks away a winner.

Broncos buy into Ruggs

Cleveland Browns receive: Picks No.15, No.46, 2021 fourth-round pick

Denver Broncos receive: No.10 pick

The Broncos had a quiet, yet promising offseason. With the additions of A.J. Bouye and Jurrell Casey, the defense met two dire needs that were lost in free agency. Offensively, Graham Glasgow and Melvin Gordon should help with Drew Lock’s progression in year two.

The most significant need for the Broncos will be speedparticularly at wide receiver. Most NFL mocks have Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III slotted in the 15 spot, but several scouts expect the speedster to be the first receiver taken off the board. With teams such as the New York Jets, Las Vegas Raiders, and San Francisco 49ers all having similar problems, John Elway might have to move into the top-10. 

The Browns could be down to add more picks and still be in play for a tackle. Should they be willing to listen, a second-rounder and future deal would be the tools needed to give Denver the green light. Elway would provide his hopeful gunslinger a versatile playmaker to compliment the likes of Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant while the Browns remain in the race for a blindside protector inside the top-15.

Andrew Berry would continue to stockpile for the future of Cleveland while Denver adds the weapon they’ve coveted since the start of draft season. Who would say no?

On draft night Tua Tumbles… Right to New England

Dallas receives: Picks No.23, No.87, 2021 third-round pick 

New England receives: No.17, No.164 selections 

Let’s say the reports of Tagovailoa’s injury concerns are real. Teams will become scared to touch him and a draft-day fall would begin to become real as Herbert and Utah State’s Jordan Love are selected in the top-10. If the Raiders were to pass on the Alabama product inside the top-15, they’d be in play for him come seven picks later.

This is where New England makes its move.

The Cowboys top need will likely be either cornerback or addressing the retirement of Travis Frederick. Both positions will have prospects in the 20s that could be early contributors, allowing them to move back. Bill Belichick would have to give up more than perhaps offered, but the left-hander could be the long-term solution for the short-term problem that was left when Tom Brady hit the eject button.

A second-round pick, plus an extra selection next year should get the ball rolling. The Cowboys would now have four picks in the top-100 and could justifiably take Cesar Ruiz to keep their line in-tact at 23. Although Tagovailoa could need time, his upside could make him the quarterback we’re talking about 20 years down the line as the Patriots poster boy.

If Tua tumbles, Belichick will need to come running. You talk about moves that will keep fans entertained after 20 seasons of TB12. Watch out for the move should he start to drop.

Carolina moves for Murray

Seattle receives: Picks No.38, No.113, 2021 third-round pick

Carolina receives: Picks No.28, No.214

The Panthers will need to rebuild their defense once again. Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly are both gone from Carolina, and Shaq Thompson will be the only competent linebacker returning.

Should Carolina select a defensive tackle early, they could double down on defense by addressing the need in the middle. Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray is a thumper who could become the next great linebacker to Matt Rhule’s new 4-3 scheme. The only problem is, they’ll likely have to jump Baltimore for his services.

The Seahawks will always listen for trade outs of night one. Both their top needs on defense will be available come Friday, so this pick would be a luxury to trade away. Carolina would give up their second, plus a 2021 third-rounder, but the reward could be special.

If they add Auburn’s Derrick Brown in the trenches with Murray in the middle, the duo will become faces on a young and hopeful rebuilt defense. And with the new scheme, Murray would be able to learn behind Tahir Whitehead before taking over the long-term.

Carolina will look to contend in the dreaded NFC South. That means fixing the defense early with picks. Both linebacker and cornerback will be needs, but if the Panthers are set on finding Kuechly’s replacement, they should consider moving back up late Thursday evening. 

Cole Thompson is a lead NFL writer for PFN. You can follow him on Twitter @MrColeThompson and follow PFN @PFN365.

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