Trading up in the NFL draft is always sexy, but you can’t go up without another team going down. And oftentimes it is the team moving down that comes out ahead. More often, that GM trading down or sacrificing his draft capital is Les Snead of the Los Angeles Rams.
Holding the 36th overall pick in this year’s draft, the Rams have their highest selection going into day one or day two since 2019. But that year, Snead traded once, traded twice, and traded three times, ultimately going from holding pick 31 to selecting Taylor Rapp at 61.
He sacrificed 30 spots in the draft to basically add two thirds (one of which used on David Long, the other used in a move up for Bobby Evans) and a fifth (involved in a traded that netted Greg Gaines, Nick Scott).
Snead is well known for trading picks for players, but he is also a huge fan of trading picks during the draft. Last year, he traded up for Kyren Williams in the fifth, but also traded a sixth for two sevenths. In 2021, he traded his third for two fourths, one used on Bobby Brown and the other involved in a trade that eventually landed Robert Rochell and Ben Skowronek.
The Rams hold pick 36 now, but will they use pick 36 on April 28th?
These are a few teams that could be looking to trade up with Snead when they’re on the board, and we already know that Snead is open to moving down.
Denver Broncos - Next pick: 67, 68
In what would be a dramatic fall for the Rams, Denver could be a team that feels that they desperately need to move up for an impact player to help Sean Payton and Russell Wilson: The Broncos have no first or second round pick and are thought to have the least amount of overall draft capital in the NFL this year.
What they do have is Indy’s third round pick and their own picks in rounds four and five.
If they feel a great prospect has dropped out of the first round, or a fascinating QB talent to potentially succeed Russell Wilson, would Denver be working the phones to try and move both of their third rounders for an early second? In this very hypothetical scenario, the Rams would end up picking three times in a row at the top of the third round: 67, 68, and 69.
Snead would probably also ask for a third rounder in 2024: Denver doesn’t have their second round pick, but they do have two thirds next year too. The Rams and Broncos have made two trades in the last two years.
Houston Texans - Next pick: 65
Another big drop from the second round to the third, but Houston has the most draft capital in the NFL and reason to maneuver. They’re also the only team so far to own two first round picks in 2024, so GM Nick Caserio must feel he has chips to play around with and can take more risks this year.
The Texans have three of the top-33 picks, but not much talent on the roster. Maybe if they get their QB at 2, a WR at 12, and a OL at 33, they still feel they want some defensive help at 36.
The Rams could ask for picks 65 and 73 (from the Browns) plus either 96 (also a third rounder from the Browns) or a future second round pick. Houston has so many chips, there’s no telling what Caserio will do.
The Rams and Texans have made three trades since 2020.
Detroit Lions - Next pick: 48
We must always consider Lions GM Brad Holmes as a potential trade partner with former boss Les Snead.
Like Houston, Detroit has a lot of draft capital: Picks 6 (from the Rams), 18, 48, and 55 (from the Vikings). Theorize that the Lions added to their defense with their two first round picks but maybe a QB falls out of the first round and Detroit is hungry for a development player behind Jared Goff.
Snead could ask for picks 48 and 81 to move 12 spots, knowing that Holmes still has another pick in the second round at 55. L.A. would add Detroit’s third rounder in the process.
Jacksonville Jaguars - Next pick: 56
It feels like the Jaguars are a team ready to make a move in the AFC and after they maybe add some defensive or offensive line help at pick 24, maybe Jacksonville is desperate for a wide receiver at the top of round two. These two teams worked out the Jalen Ramsey trade once before and just two years ago made a five-pick swap on day three.
It’s a 20 spot drop in the second round for Snead, but the Jaguars have two picks in round four and a couple extra picks in rounds six and seven. Snead really likes having more pieces to move around in the draft and I could definitely see L.A.—though they already have 10 total picks including four comp picks probably—continuing to add to their pile.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Next pick: 50
This is another spot where maybe a team is moving up in the second round for a QB, hoping for the next Jalen Hurts or Derek Carr. I like the prospects of this draft having strong day two QB prospects, including Hendon Hooker.
If Tampa Bay doesn’t pull the trigger in the first round at 19, the Bucs might try to make their move on day two. Maybe picks 50 and 82 are enough, maybe Snead would try to get a little more. These two teams made a day three pick swap last year.
Which of these trades would be preferable to you, if any?