If the 2022 NFL Season were to end today, the Chicago Bears would have the second overall pick in the first round. What we have seen on social media the last few weeks is that the Bears should try to trade down and pick up several other picks a little later in the Draft.
That is a sound strategy, especially for a rebuilding team, because adding picks gives the club an opportunity to hit on more players. The problem is that it is much easier said than done. Yes, there have been trades into the top five picks for players that certain teams covet. But it doesn't happen every year.
In 2021, San Francisco traded up to the third pick a few weeks before the Draft to be assured that they would be able to get a quarterback. The next pick to be traded in the Top Ten wasn't until they got to the 10th pick.
What drives trades is having very talented players at the top of the Draft that other teams want to trade for. Obviously, if there are talented quarterbacks, then teams with a strong need at quarterback may attempt to move up to get one.
The top two players who aren't quarterbacks in this Draft arguably are Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter and Alabama pass rusher Will Anderson. Are either of those players so valuable that a team would give up several high Draft picks to select him? That would be debatable.
If clubs have a strong need for a quarterback, they will attempt to trade up to get one, but the quarterbacks have to have enough elite talent that teams would pay a ransom for them.
This year the consensus top three quarterbacks are Alabama's Bryce Young, Ohio State's Cliff Stroud, and Kentucky's Will Levis, in no particular order. Are any of those three good enough prospects to trade up for? The answer is maybe. The reason I say that is because there is no consensus QB1. If you polled all 32 NFL clubs, you probably get an equal number of votes on who is the best QB prospect of the three. Young and Stroud have been consistent winners, but critics will find faults in their game. For example, Young is only going to be about six feet tall when he is measured. Yes, he is very athletic, but there are several clubs that don't want a shorter QB.
With Stroud, the critics say he has the best wide receiver corps this side of the NFL, so he should have good production. Others will be concerned that he hasn't been able to win the big game (Michigan).
With Levis, many evaluators I have talked to are comparing him to Josh Allen in that his production isn't great, but his natural tools and skill set are outstanding. So is he the real number one? As I said above, there is no clear-cut answer.
One exercise every club does to determine if there will be potential trades is; where the clubs with a QB need sit in the draft order. To move into a top-five or top-three draft slot, a club has to give up a lot which could include just draft choices or a combination of players and picks. Regardless, the team has to have picks available to move up. What they will give up will depend on how desperate their need is. If they are driven to get a QB, they could very well overpay to make a deal.
Next, who are the clubs with a quarterback need? As it stands now, Houston would have the number one pick, and they have a quarterback need, so they could very well take a QB at the top. But they have a second first-round pick, which could also be a top-10 pick. So, because of that, the Texans could select what they deem as the best player at number one and then use their second first for the QB. If they wanted to trade up, it's not that difficult to move from 10 to four or five in the order.
The next two clubs with a quarterback need are Carolina and New Orleans. Both clubs will most likely be drafting in the Top 10, so they also can be in a good position to move up or just try to be lucky and wait without trading. After that, the Colts may be a team that has to get a young quarterback. It's an interesting dynamic, but how badly clubs want to move up won't be known until April. Right now, it's nothing more than speculation.
With that many clubs picking high and with the need, it could very well draw a lot of trade interest. One thing is sure, you will hear several rumors, but as we all know, most of those rumors never reach fruition.