This year the mock drafts just haven't peaked my interest as much as usual. I really couldn't put my finger on what was keeping me from enjoying looking ahead to the draft until I had an epiphany. I just don't think any of the mocks will be meaningful because I expect several trades to go down in the first round on Thursday night.
The reason I foresee a large number of trades is because, in this deep draft, the building teams will want to acquire more picks from the upper tier teams targeting players that can close holes in their rosters. Also, this year there are only a few elite players for teams looking to boost a roster position while teams looking for overall depth will be thrilled to get the extra picks that trading down will garner. The ripple effect of early draft pick trades will have team front offices jumping to keep their player assessments and draft boards relevant and all the early mock draft scenarios will be trashed.
I'm predicting an early trade that I haven't seen discussed anywhere. I may be totally off base but my prediction is that the Cleveland Browns will make the move up from #4 to #2 on Thursday. What will drive this trade is Jadeveon Clowney being selected with the first pick in the draft (be it by Houston or Atlanta). With Clowney gone I see the Rams selecting Robinson with the #2 pick and the Jaguars going for Watkins at #3 since they are looking at losing Justin Blackmon for the season due to a substance abuse suspension.
Beat writers out of Cleveland have said the highest rated players on the Browns board are Clowney, Watkins, and Robinson and then a gap until the next grouping. Moving up to #2 the Browns can select Watkins at a cost that is agreeable to them. Since the Browns have five of the top 83 picks and have two picks in each of rounds 1, 3, and 4 they can afford to give up the #4 pick and a third and fourth round pick to move up. The Rams should take this offer because the Browns moving up for Watkins leaves the Jags looking at Khalil Mack or their top rated QB. This means the Rams can still get Greg Robinson and gain a third and fourth round pick.
Let me know what you think of this move and please feel free to share any trades you see being made in the comments section.