5 Teams Poised to Trade Back into the 1st

Apr 28, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; A B Line Trolley bus with 2021 NFL Draft advertisement in downtown. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With all of the hoopla focused on the top of the NFL draft, it can often be overlooked that teams covet trading back into the end of the first round. First-round picks give the teams selecting them a fifth-year option on their contract. Specifically, players selected with picks 11-32 receive the average of the 3rd through 25th highest salaries at a player’s position. This can be an incredible bargain for teams if the player selected becomes a star. 

You will also see a scenario where a highly ranked player begins to slide down the draft board. Predicting the teams that fit within these constraints is not an exact science. A lot will be predicated on prior selections or team needs. There will be the inevitable move up to grab a quarterback at the end of the round to carry that fifth-year option. 

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals have been linked to two players through most of the lead-up to the draft, Penei Sewell and Ja’marr Chase. The idea of protecting quarterback Joe Burrow should be at the forefront of the Bengals front office to-do list. However, the familiarity that Burrow and Chase share might be too tempting to pass up. The team is not barren of talent along the offensive line, especially after signing Tackle Riley Reiff in free agency. The draft also appears to be fairly deep at the tackle position. Drafting Chase and then moving back into round 1 for Alex Leatherwood or Samuel Cosmi is a very realistic scenario for the Bengals.

Miami Dolphins

With all of the draft capital the Dolphins have accumulated, moving one of their second-round picks along with additional picks to get back into the first round is a real possibility. With two 1st round picks already, a lot will be predicated on these selections. Two positions of need that Miami could move back into the 1st round for are an edge rusher or running back. Teammates Gregory Rousseau and Jaelan Phillips might drop down the board and with so few elite running back options teams might become trigger happy once the first goes off the board.

Detroit Lions

The Lions could have a very active day 1 of the draft. They are rumored to be willing to move back from the 7th overall pick and could also trade back into round 1 if a player slides. With numerous needs, the potential to add a premium prospect or two will be tempting. With two 3rd round picks as well as a 2nd, a move up is doable. A move back into the 1st round would be to target either a cornerback, tackle, or edge rusher depending on what they do with their first pick. Either way, they will come out of this draft with two plug-and-play starters. 

Los Angeles Chargers

With many pundits mocking a tackle to the Chargers, that’s it then, it has been written. But what if they don’t? There is a real possibility the team decides to take one of the top cornerbacks or wide receivers and address the offensive line later. If this scenario transpires, it is doubtful the team will wait for the best available to fall to them. Armed with a mid-round 2nd pick and two 3rd rounders, moving back into the 1st round would not be difficult. They would look to add from the available remaining offensive linemen, which could be Alex Leatherwood, Creed Humphry, or Samuel Cosmi.

Las Vegas Raiders

With needs in the secondary and along the offensive line, the Raiders could be very aggressive the first day of the draft. They might drop back from 17th overall to accumulate additional picks while also jumping back into the end of the round to double up on first-round selections. This trade back would not be to address current team needs but to grab a quarterback. Derek Carr does not seem to fit head coach Jon Gruden’s ideal quarterback mold. This could finally be the year Gruden makes his move to secure his quarterback for the future.