A mock draft can be ruined by a single trade, so why not project a potential trade for every pick in the draft?
That’s exactly what ESPN’s Bill Barnwell did in his “all-trades mock draft.”
Barnwell mentioned two trade ideas for the Arizona Cardinals, either moving up to the New Orleans Saints’ No. 11 selection or moving down to the Denver Broncos’ No. 20 spot for a package including last year’s No. 26 pick, quarterback Paxton Lynch.
The New Orleans deal would have Cardinals trading the 13th, 77th and 157th picks for the Saints’ first and seventh-round picks, which come in at Nos. 11 and 229.
[The Saints] can trade down and pick up an additional draft pick by letting the Cardinals jump ahead of the Browns at 12. Arizona could be looking for help at safety, but more plausibly, this would be to take the first quarterback off the board.
This deal would make the most sense if Arizona was enamored with one of the quarterbacks and was afraid Cleveland might take him one slot ahead of them.
According to Arizona Sports’ mock draft tracker, 22 of the 42 mock drafts published since the beginning of April have the Cardinals taking a quarterback. Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes leads the way with 10, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson is chosen eight times and North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer come in twice each.
If this trade doesn’t happen, Barnwell proposes the Cardinals could send the 13th and 119th picks to the Broncos, along with a 2018 third-rounder, for Denver’s first and fifth-round picks at 20 and 117, respectively, and second-year quarterback Paxton Lynch.
I just suggested the Cardinals could trade up from 11 if they’re in love with a quarterback, but if they’re not interested in anybody this year, let’s get the Cardinals the quarterback they wanted last year to develop behind Carson Palmer. Arizona apparently wanted to draft Lynch in 2016, only for the Broncos to trade up and beat them to the punch. Lynch was underwhelming during his rookie season, failing to beat out Trevor Siemian, and the Broncos have since rebuilt their offensive coaching staff with Mike McCoy and Bill Musgrave returning to the organization.
The Broncos took Lynch with the 26th overall selection out of the University of Memphis last year, three picks before Arizona landed Mississippi defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche.
The 6-foot-7 Lynch is possibly whom Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians was referring to late last month, when he said quarterbacks the team had targeted in the past two drafts were taken “a pick or three picks ahead of us.”
Lynch started Weeks 5 and 13 last year with Siemian injured, completing 49-of-83 passes for 497 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
The prospect of trading a first-round pick after one season is a rare but not unprecedented circumstance, as the Browns sent running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts two games into his second season after taking him third overall in 2012, and the San Francisco 49ers traded wide receiver A.J. Jenkins to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013 after one year with the team.
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