It is about to hit the fan. Don't pretend like you don't know what I'm talking about. No, I'm not talking about the death of all of your favorite characters in the Battle of Winterfell next weekend. I'm not talking about the Endgame, either. I'm -- of course -- talking about the 2019 NFL Draft.
(Note: I'm kind of talking about those other things too but I digress.)
We have waited so long for the off-season Super Bowl to provide three days of twists, turns and surprises that would make even George R.R. Martin's head spin. As if the NFL Draft was hard enough to predict with 32 separate teams grading players on 32 different sets of criteria, there's another massive curveball that is even more impossible to account for.
And while I'm not going to bother trying to predict trades that WILL happen, I am most definitely going to outline trades that SHOULD or SHOULDN'T happen. Welcome back to Studs & Duds.
Stud - Houston trades into top-15 to land a blue chip offensive lineman
This serves as your final warning, Houston. Protect Deshaun Watson, or else you're primed to have yourself a problem. The Texans have extra picks at their disposal, most notably picks 54 and 55 in the 2nd-round. Put one of those surplus picks to use and make sure you get yourself a starting offensive lineman who can make a big difference in year one.
Jonah Williams is my personal favorite candidate, but that's not to say Cody Ford or even an interior option is a bad idea. You have the need, you have the picks and you have the winning window that makes this deal one to strongly consider.
Dud - Cleveland trading back into the 1st-round
I envision John Dorsey as something of a madman -- but here's the thing. His vision for the Browns is so damn crazy that it just might work. The Browns have transformed overnight into lovable losers to a confident young team stockpiled with talent and a very legitimate window to compete for a championship.
But Dorsey is ready to throw all of his cards on the table in 2019 -- which I'd advise against. Cleveland's top two picks (49 and 81) are enough to get you quality prospects but they're not enough to get you high enough to make a big splash. Which means trading up into the 1st-round involves surrendering 2020 draft capital and cutting this winning window short.
Stud - New York (Jets) dropping out of #3 overall
The Jets paid a hefty price to move from 6 to 3 last year for Sam Darnold. They have up two 2nd-round picks last year and their 2nd-round pick this year -- meaning the Jets have picks at 3 and none again until 68. In a draft that has a lot of value in picks 20 through 50, missing the boat hurts. Not picking for 65 picks also gives the Jets just one chance to really ensure they're landing a day one starter.
But is the value even there? If the Jets take Quinnen Williams, who am I to argue? But Josh Allen? Meh. I get the vibe the NFL isn't as high on Brian Burns as I am. Nick Bosa figures to be gone. The Jets' ability to flesh out their needs are quite handcuffed with one pick in the top 67 picks.
Dud - Washington jumping Miami, Denver and Cincinnati for a QB
Here's what we think we know about the quarterbacks. Kyler Murray is *probably* going at 1 -- at worst at 4. The Raiders like Drew Lock, too -- as do the Denver Broncos. The Giants are seemingly intent on wasting a first round pick on Daniel Jones. Cincinnati could feasibly be in play for Haskins or Lock, too. And the Dolphins, for all their background work on QBs, don't seem to be tied to any one of them in particular despite their need.
If Washington wants to get above the potential landmines, where do they trade to? Perhaps the Jets? But now you're talking about giving up a ton of picks to get to three. Dropping 10 spots feels too far for Tampa Bay, who pick at 5. The Giants need a quarterback so they feel less likely to do business. The Jaguars are an option at 7, as are the Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills (8 and 9, respectively).
But with as much money as Washington has tied up in quarterback, giving up draft capital and a top pick for yet another one is crazy. For context, the Redskins (with a quarterback room of Alex Smith - Injured, Colt McCoy and Case Keenum) are 6th in the NFL in quarterback spending in 2019.
Stud - New England trading up for a TE
Here's the thing about the Patriots. They have an endless supply of draft picks. Four top-75 picks in 2019...plus picks at 98 and 102. Oh, and 3rd round comp picks coming in 2020 thanks to Trey Flowers and Trenton Brown getting #PAID in free agency.
The Patriots lost Rob Gronkowski to retirement this off-season, trading up from 32 with some of these excess draft picks is a logical move to help replace his production.
Dud - New Orleans trading up at all
The Saints have one pick in the top 168 selections of the 2019 NFL Draft (62nd overall). The price you pay to trade up for Marcus Davenport, I suppose. But here's what you can't do if you're the Saints -- double down and make it bad two years in a row. You have no draft picks. That stinks. But take your lumps in 2019 and come back re-stocked in 2020. Don't trade next year's picks to acquire picks for this year.