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NFL Draft ’14: Should the Arizona Cardinals trade down?

There’s plenty of talk among fans of the Arizona Cardinals about what the team will do if player X, Y and Z are off the board when the Cardinals are slotted to make their first-round selection (20th overall) in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Trading down is one that many fans want to see come to fruition on draft day barring the “right player” not being available, but who are some possible partners that the Cardinals could move down with?

Cleveland Browns (4th and 26th overall selections)

What the Browns would be looking for:

From Brendan Leister of “If the Browns were to trade up, I would expect them to have a quarterback, bigger wide receiver, cornerback or offensive tackle in mind.”

Let’s stop right there for a moment.

If the Browns were moving up from 26 to 20, then they would be doing so for a player that could fit a need for the Cardinals.

Quarterback: Derek Carr, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater could fall to 20 as speculation continues to run rampant that these three could be plummeting down NFL draft boards.

Can the Cardinals continue to pass on the potential franchise quarterbacks?

Offensive tackle: They have Joe Thomas, they want a right tackle. Possibly Notre Dame’s Zack Martin, Michigan’s Taylor Lewan, and maybe even Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio. Wouldn’t those guys all be close to good picks for the Cardinals?

Cornerback: The saying “you can never have enough cornerbacks” comes to mind.

Can the Cardinals pass on Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert, Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard, Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller or Jason Verrett of TCU?

That means the only trade up that could make complete sense for the Browns, and not possibly taking the best player available that’s a need for the Cardinals, is one that would involve drafting a big wide receiver.

Either Texas A&M’s Mike Evans or maybe Kelvin Benjamin of Florida State. But that’s probably it.

What about compensation:

Leister continued: “The Browns might be willing to give up one of their 4ths but I am merely speculating. The fact that it is such a deep draft leads me to believe that they may be hesitant to give up a lot to move up unless securing their target is extremely important to them (a quarterback would qualify as “extremely important.”)”

Is moving down six spots and only gaining a fourth-round pick worth it for the Cardinals?

Based on the semi-dated draft value trade chart, the Cardinals would be giving up 850 points and getting 700 for pick 26 and 92 for pick 106 (the Browns’ highest fourth-round pick).

If the Browns gave up a third, let’s say the 83rd pick, the Cardinals would either get the much better end of a deal, or have to give up their fifth as well.

Would the Browns want to flip 26 and 83 for 20 and 148? Probably not, but that’s the cost, likely, if the Cards move down to 26.

San Francisco 49ers (30th overall pick)

The first question that comes to mind is, can the Cardinals afford to deal within their own division?

If you say yes, then let’s take a look at what they could be looking for.

What the 49ers could be looking for:

From Vincent Frank of “I know for a certainty the only two wide receivers at this point the 49ers would entertain a trade up for would be Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans. Possibly Kelvin Benjamin depending on how the board plays out.

If Evans is there at 20, 49ers would definitely put a call in.

The issue there is that the WR class is deep and there isn’t a huge drop-off from the No. 3 WR to the No. 7 or No. 8 guy.

Cornerback is a huge need. Jason Verrett, Justin Gilbert are the two San Francisco would likely want to/have to trade up for.”

Much like Cleveland, the 49ers need a cornerback, and it may be hard for the Cardinals to pass on a player like Gilbert or Verrett and move down the board instead.

If the Browns are making a move up for a big wide receiver, then the 49ers are doing the same, and the players involved are the same.

What about compensation:

Vincent continued: “In terms of compensation, the 2013 draft is a decent base line.

San Francisco moved up with the Cowboys from 31 to 18 in order to get Reid. They gave up the 74th overall pick in the third round. They have the 76th pick this year from the Tennessee Titans.”

That may be a little more appetizing to Cardinals fans, to have the 76th pick in round three to go with 84.

The problem is moving down from 20 to 30 is a tough maneuver.

Ten spots will yield a very good player still, but is giving up a chance to select a player like Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier, Minnesota defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman, or Auburn pass rusher Dee Ford worth it?

Trading out of round one altogether:

A team like Cleveland could have the ammo to make that move, surrendering a second and their own early third, but as Justin Higdon of said “I don’t think they budge unless it’s for a QB,” and the Cardinals would likely want 26 in return.

What about a team like Baltimore?

The Ravens have four compensatory picks, but can’t trade them. But by trading their original draft picks, they could move up from 48 to 20, but would need to throw in 79 and possibly a future first or second-round pick to make that even palatable. But again, the Cardinals moving down 28 spots would be fairly obscene.

Trading down is a possibility, one that many teams this year are going to want to do. But the options may be limited on who teams trade with and the compensation they would get isn’t nearly what it used to be.