Potential 2022 Draft Day Trades

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Every year we see a bevy of trades in the first round. Some years there are upwards of six or seven trades while in others there are two or three. With 32 different organizations valuing players differently and their own unique needs, trades often happen to capitalize on the market pushing players down further than they should go.

This draft class is no different. There are differing opinions at both the top of the class and throughout the top 50. The depth of this class resides from 15-50, but with a lot of teams picking in the back of the first round needing premium positions like receiver, we could See more trade-ups into the teens than in past years.

From the outset of the draft, I can see four different trades happening. Not all of these are likely to happen, especially with the Saints being featured on both ends of the spectrum. Still, these moves would help both teams involved.

Kansas City Chiefs: Alabama WR Jameson Williams

The Kansas City Chiefs trade picks 29 and 30 to the Houston Texans for pick 13.

The Chiefs decided to play the market instead of paying star wide receiver Tyreek Hill top dollar. They traded him to the Miami Dolphins for three picks in this year’s draft, including first- and second-round selections. Even though they signed JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdez-Scantling, there is still a hole at receiver. They can go any direction that they want but replacing the speed that Hill gives you is a best-case scenario.

This pick is set up to maximize the window the Chiefs currently have and take them into a new one. Williams likely won’t be ready until November, but him coming back fully healthy would add a next-level element that they will need. While he isn’t identical to Hill, Williams is similarly dynamic with the ball in his hands and can start/stop with explosiveness.

New Orleans Saints: Alabama OT Evan Neal or Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett

The Saints trade picks 16 and 19 to the New York Giants for pick five.

Target: Alabama OT Evan Neal or Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett

When the Saints made the trade with the Eagles, I had two prevailing thoughts: they were either trying to trade up for a quarterback or left tackle, or they were trying to get three premium picks in the top 50. been a major point of discussion is trading up for a tackle. Why would they do that? It makes all the sense in the world when you look at their offensive structure.

Over the past five seasons, the Saints offense has been predicated on having two great tackles. It was Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk but the departure of Armstead to Miami leaves a hole on the left side of the line. Neal is a great athlete, providing versatility, physicality, and rare movement skills for a player that is 6’7” and 335 pounds. Adding a mammoth athlete like Neal who offers a similar play style and upside would be incredibly appealing.

On the other end of the spectrum, there is the looming question at quarterback. Jameis Winston is on a decent money deal over the next two seasons, and that financial commitment doesn’t tell us that the Saints believe in him long-term. The last 15 seasons have been centered around a cerebral but capable quarterback who wins more so with his intelligence and vision than his god-given talent. Pickett, while not on nearly the same level as Brees, fits that general mold.

Buffalo Bills: Arkansas WR Treylon Burks

The Bills trade picks 25 and 57 to the New Orleans Saints for pick 19.

The Bills were a mere 13 seconds away from playing the Bengals in the AFC Championship Game and are primed for another run. With this being the last year of Josh Allen’s rookie contract, they are in a position to focus on immediate impact rather than developmental players. They are likely to be willing to part with their second-round pick to make that happen. With a likely wide receiver run in the teens, they will need to jump up to get their guy.

Burks becomes a very intriguing piece for them. They have the speed and explosive route running with Stefon Diggs, the X receiver in Gabe Davis, the crafty slot in Jameson Crowder, and Dawson Knox running up the seam. Burks completes the “build a basketball team” philosophy with his contested-catch skills and yards after catch ability. He also has a proven ability to be used as a gadget player. You can play him out of the backfield to create mismatches and give him jet sweeps. He doesn’t have the burst to explode by people, but you won’t catch him once he gets to top speed. The YAC ability is something that this Bills team has desperately needed.

Los Angeles Chargers: Mississippi State OT Charles Cross

The Chargers trade picks 17 and 79 to the Minnesota Vikings for pick 12.

The Chargers have been going all-out to build a potential championship contender around Justin Herbert the last two years. They drafted Rasawn Slater to protect his blindside and brought in huge pieces for Brandon Staley’s defense in Khalil Mack and JC Jackson. The debate here is if they would be willing to trade their only day two pick remaining to fix the right side of the offensive line. Storm Norton had decent moments and Brian Bulaga is no longer on the team, making the relatively large hole. The tackle class has a large tier gap after the top four players so a move up to get one could be in the cards for the Chargers.

Cross, like Slater, is a very technically sound player. Having played left tackle for Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense, he became a dynamite pass blocker. He has the ability to mirror edge rushers and the athleticism to get out of his stance quickly. With a Relative Athletic Score of 8.44, he finished above the 93rd percentile in the 10- and 20-yard splits along with the 40-yard dash. There are questions about his run blocking projections because it was something he wasn’t asked to do. When the Bulldogs did run the football, it was mostly inside zone and draw plays. There will be a slight learning curve there, but he has the skills and acumen to learn on the fly.

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