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#pounditSunday, May 22, 2022

5 potential trade-up targets in the NFL Draft

Justin Herbert

The 2020 NFL Draft is nearly upon us, and rumors about potential trades are beginning to heat up.

While very few things about the draft are predictable, it’s easy to guarantee a slew of trades will take place in Round 1 and beyond — many of those coming over the first 10 or so picks. Even in a virtual setting, that’s not likely to change.

With that in mind, here’s a look at five of the top potential trade-up targets.

5. K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU

Chase Young and Isaiah Simmons will be the first two edge rushers off the board in the draft, but they aren’t the only impact players available on the edge. K’Lavon Chaisson is just outside of that tier and certainly has enough upside to reach a similar ceiling. There are some flaws to his game that Young and Simmons already have ironed out, but Chaisson is a solid 1B option for any team in need that may have to go a different route at the top of the round or are sitting somewhere in the back just waiting for an opportunity to pounce. Several mock drafts have already predicted trade-ups for Chaisson, so don’t be surprised if you see some movement in the middle of Round 1, with the LSU product being the target.

4. Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Jeff Okudah is not only the best cornerback prospect available in the draft, but he’s also one of the best all-around players and could be considered the missing piece for a team on the brink. Of course, whatever run there may be on quarterbacks will impact Okudah’s draft positioning, and that’s exactly what will make him a likely trade-up target. Should teams jockey for position on quarterbacks at the top of Round 1, some cornerback-needy teams near the back will benefit from a potential Okudah slide. Considering there are more than a handful of teams likely to place such a trade call about Okudah, some organization in the top 5 or top 10 could end up with a king’s ransom.

3. Tristan Wirfs, OL, Iowa

Any of the top four offensive tackles could be recycled and used in this spot because all four are potential trade-up targets, but Wirfs seems to be gaining the most steam headed into the draft. He’s been mocked to any number of teams, often inside the top five, and speculation has been increasing that several teams could be eyeing him in a trade-up scenario depending on how the first three picks shake out. If there’s a substantial run on quarterbacks and defenders (Chase Young, Isaiah Simmons, Jeff Okudah) at the top of Round 1, it would allow even more teams to potentially become involved. If the Giants happen to take Wirfs at No. 4 overall, keep an eye on Andrew Thomas, Jedrick Wills and Mekhi Becton as potential trade targets.

2. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Quarterbacks are the usual suspects when it comes to trade-up scenarios, and the 2020 NFL Draft will feature a handful of them. And after Joe Burrow goes No. 1 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals, the race will be on to trade up and select the remaining prospects. One of those will be Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, who was considered the cream of the crop just two years ago and is gaining momentum as draft day nears. Several NFL teams are likely keeping an eye on him, and depending on how the first 2-3 picks shake out, the frenzy will commence. It’s a near-lock that Herbert will be taken after a trade up, so the only remaining question is: does he go before the next player on this list?

1. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

By far the most obvious player to top this list, Tua Tagovailoa is all but guaranteed to be a trade-up target in the NFL Draft. However, the question is which team takes the leap, and where in the draft that trade-up occurs. Initially, it was believed that Tua could be a trade-up target within the top five, but ongoing concerns about his health and the inability of teams to closely check out his medicals could drastically alter those scenarios in two weeks time. Still, whether Tua slides or remains a top target. Some general manager out there will be wheeling and dealing in order to add the quarterback to his roster.


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