I am not an advocate of trading out of the first round of the NFL Draft- that is where teams often find impact players. Impact players make game changing plays and can get teams to the next level of competitiveness.
Yes, there are examples of first round busts, but there are busts in all rounds. There are also examples of late round gems, but those players are surprises that very few saw coming. That being said, this is the year the Denver Broncos should trade out of the first round and pick up additional selections.
Here are three reasons why:
First, the impact players that the Broncos need will likely be gone by the 31st pick. I am talking about first-round graded impact players at middle linebacker, cornerback and free safety. Even the highest rated guard may be gone. The end of the first round will be full of quarterbacks, defensive ends/outside linebackers, wide receivers and maybe even a tight end who warrant a first round selection. Those are all positions that the Broncos have impact players currently (i.e. Aqib Talib, Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas and Peyton Manning).
When quarterbacks fall in the first round teams are typically willing to trade more to get back into that round to take one. The value of the 31st pick could be high for only sliding down a few spots to the second round. An early second round selection can bring a starting left guard, a position the Broncos desperately need.
Second, this is a deep draft, especially at positions of need for the Broncos. This draft has quality players at offensive line, cornerback and wide receiver who will be available in later rounds. The Broncos need a starting left guard, a center, depth at cornerback and depth at wide receiver with at least one wide receiver who has future starting potential. By adding draft picks those positions as well as others can be addressed in this draft.
Third, one player is not going to make or break the Broncos’ Super Bowl chances. Recent examples of trading up to target one particular player have not netted success for those teams. Those examples are Cleveland trading up for Trent Richardson, Washington for Robert Griffin III and Atlanta for Julio Jones.
Atlanta had some success, but never made it to the Super Bowl. Now they are paying for the loss of draft picks in that draft as their offensive and defensive lines are terrible. They won four games last year and are now using free agency in an attempt to fill the gaps they squandered for one player. The other two teams are still cellar dwellers and their outlook is bleak.
I remember when Mike Ditka thought it was a good idea to trade his entire draft for Ricky Williams. He hasn’t coached since.
Many people are saying the Broncos are in win now mode, but John Elway said it right when he said they were in “win from now on” mode. He is a shrewd businessman and a fierce competitor. Of course he wants to win now, but he doesn’t want to leave the team in a position to have a losing streak for a few years. The Broncos could shore up positions for 2014 and be set for the future if they can add picks in the second, third and fourth rounds. Trade out of the first and that may very well happen.