One of the most intriguing aspects of every year’s NFL draft is the potential for trades on draft night. Any of the 32 teams could surprise us with a trade-up to secure top talent or a potential trade-back from a top spot to bring in more draft capital.
Last year featured a couple of surprising draft night trades: receiver A.J. Brown went from Tennessee to Philadelphia and Marquise Brown headed from Baltimore to Arizona. This year, with some enticing quarterback talents and potentially game-changing defensive prospects sure to come off the board early, there will be plenty of draft-night calls and opportunities to shake up the 2023 NFL Draft. Here are three draft-night trades we would love to see this year.
Titans-Cardinals trade involving the No. 3 overall pick
As we move closer to the 2023 NFL Draft, it’s looking more and more likely that the Houston Texans won’t get their top choice at quarterback: Alabama’s Bryce Young. If Young is off the board with the first overall pick, the Texans might shift their attention to drafting a premium defender, opening up the potential for a Cardinals trade-back and a Titans trade-up for their presumed top choice at quarterback: Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud.
This is a win-win for both sides. The Cardinals could build up a ton of extra draft capital both now and in the future as a team that needs to bring in young talent in the coming years to become contenders again given the current state of their roster. At the same time, Tennessee would get another shot at drafting their quarterback of the future with Ryan Tannehill in the last year of his contract and Malik Willis underwhelming in his rookie season.
Jets trade up with Bears for their OT1
The Bears, like the Cardinals, are not currently in a position to contend and have already taken advantage of one chance to build up draft capital by trading back from the No. 1 overall pick. If all of Chicago’s top defensive prospects are off of the board by the time they’re on the clock at No. 9, they’ll have another chance to add to their draft capital.
Meanwhile, the Jets might be looking to trade up ahead of other tackle-needy teams to take their favorite offensive tackle prospect to help give incoming (probably?) quarterback Aaron Rodgers more protection up front. The Bears only move back a few spots and accumulate draft capital in the later rounds to continue building up their roster around quarterback Justin Fields.
Vikings trade up for their future QB
Minnesota has a team with an almost-perfect situation to grab their quarterback of the future. They have an offensive-minded head coach that used to work with quarterbacks, an elite duo of pass-catching weapons in Justin Jefferson and T.J. Hockenson, and an established veteran that a young guy can sit behind for a year before taking over the starting role in 2024. That veteran, Kirk Cousins, is even in the last year of his contract, making the timeline perfect. The only problem? The Vikings aren’t on the clock until the 23rd overall pick, and guys like Florida’s Anthony Richardson or Kentucky’s Will Levis likely would be long gone by then.
If the Vikings do, indeed, like Richardson and Levis and see either one of them fall to the 10th overall pick, they should trade up with the Eagles to get their guy. The team clearly doesn’t view Cousins as the long-term starter given all of the short contracts they’ve given him, and head coach Kevin O’Connell will be able to bring in and develop a young quarterback with his vision. A move up in the draft for a future franchise quarterback also helps the Vikings keep their contention window open once they inevitably sign Jefferson to a monster extension.
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