Draft day trades are to be expected every year. However, in 2013 they are all but guaranteed.
In a draft that has been called "weak," "mediocre" and "average" trades are almost certain to happen. Teams such as San Francisco, who holds 11 draft picks, will try to move up in the first round to draft a guy that contribute from day one. The Atlanta Falcons are also a team that could trade up in the first round to target a cornerback.
On the other hand you have teams such as the Green Bay Packers that will possibly look to trade out of the first round in order to secure more picks.
Packers general manager has both traded out of the first round and traded back into the first round in his tenure with Green Bay.
In 2009, the Packers selected B.J. Raji out of Boston College with pick No. 9. Then Thompson traded back into the first round to selected the Clay-maker himself, Clay Matthews out of USC.
In 2008 Thompson traded away the Packers first round pick, No. 30 overall, to the New York Jets, who took tight end Dustin Keller out of Purdue, for the Jets second round pick, No. 36 overall. With that pick the Packers took Kansas State wide receiver Jordy Nelson. The Packers also took quarterback Brian Brohm with the 56th pick and cornerback Pat Lee with the 60th pick in the second round.
Both examples of trading out and up worked for the Packers.
So that leads us to ask: what are the pros and cons of trading down/up in the draft?
Pros: Trading up
In a draft such as 2013, where the top talent is within the top 15 picks, teams would benefit from forfeiting later picks in the draft to get a starter early in the first round.
Obviously the better teams pick later in the draft based on how well they finish the regular season, so these teams are usually one or two players away from being a Super Bowl contender. The same can be said for Green Bay. On defense, the Packers are missing a playmaker on the opposite side of Clay Matthews, if they were to trade up in the draft and select Barkevious Mingo or Ziggy Ansah they would be in the Super Bowl hunt once again.
Cons: Trading up
With trading up for a specific player you are putting a tremendous amount of pressure on that player to perform and perform right away. A classic example of this not working out would be when the Denver Broncos acquired the Baltimore Ravens 25th pick in the 2010 draft and selected quarterback Tim Tebow. The Broncos had to give up their second round selection and obviously traded Tebow just two seasons later.
Although Tebow and the Broncos didn't work out, one draft day trade that did work out was the Falcons moving up in the 2011 draft and selecting Julio Jones out of Alabama with the No. 6 pick overall.
Another con of trading up is you lose later draft picks. That is particularly bad for a draft such as this years' where the talent in the late first round to the third round isn't separated by a whole lot.
History tells us it is better to acquire more picks than to give up picks.
Pros: Trading down
Obviously a team that trades down in the draft acquires more picks. Usually teams in 21-32 range look to trade down more than teams in the 1-20 range because they have more flexibility and less needs.
One scenario that has been thrown around a lot lately has been the Bills trading back into the first round for Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib. The Packers would be the perfect partner for the Bills, as the Packers could trade their No. 26 pick to the Bills for their second round pick (No. 41 overall). The Packers get more picks and the Bills get their franchise quarterback, it's a win-win trade.
In a deep draft class like the 2013 draft, more picks allows teams to address their needs quicker. If the Packers were to trade out of the first round and acquire a second pick in the second round they could go a number of directions. A guy like Matt Elam safety out of Florida would be perfect with the first pick in the second round. Then they could select SMU defensive end Margus Hunt or Texas defensive end Alex Okafor with their second pick in the second round.
Cons: Trading down
The Packers know what it feels like to be on the bad end of acquiring more picks. I discussed their 2008 draft when they traded away their first round pick and selected Jordy Nelson in the second round. However, in that same second round they drafted Brian Brohm with the No. 56 pick, which they acquired from Cleveland for defensive linemen Corey Williams. Brohm obviously turned out to be a bust for the Packers.
By trading down in the draft teams are obviously losing out on a potential star. Not to say that stars can't be found in the second, third or even fourth rounds because they can, however, guys go in the first round for a reason.
Also by not selecting a player in the first round and instead trading your pick you put more pressure on yourself as an organization to select a guy in the second round that can come in and start or contribute in some way. You are also taking a chance that the player(s) you want in the round you trade into are still going to be available.
In my opinion after researching all the talent that this draft has to offer the Packers would be smart to trade the No. 26 pick for more picks in the second round. By doing so the Packers can get two potential starters in the second round, all while not missing much talent wise.
We will find out shortly what the Packers plan to do with 26th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.