With the 2015 NFL Draft now only hours away, the main trade discussions involve just what the Tennessee Titans plan to do with the No. 2 overall selection.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers seem set on selecting Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, but from there its anyone's guess how the draft will turn out Thursday night in Chicago.
Winston going to Tampa Bay narrows the Titans’ decisions considerably to several options. Tennessee general manager Ruston Webster could select Oregon standout and 2014 Heisman-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota or USC defensive end Leonard Williams, who’s been rated as the best defensive player in this year’s draft class. Or the Titans could trade down to the teams purportedly interested in making Mariota their franchise quarterback of the future.
Here we go: Titans have gotten calls from multiple teams inquiring about what it will take to trade for 2nd overall pick, per league source.
â€” Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 29, 2015
Of late, the Cleveland Browns were at the center of conflicting reports from ESPN about their desire to move up to No. 2 for the right to pick Mariota. It was first reported that Cleveland offered Tennessee both of its first-round picks, No. 12 and No. 19, and the deal was under consideration until another report emerged stating each side denied talks taking place.
Given the whirlwind leading up to and during the draft, it makes sense both sides would deny any trade discussions so as to keep or attain some negotiating leverage. However, it’s also possible the Titans are asking too much for their pick with an unnamed team executive telling Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman they’re asking for three first-round picks.
For the last couple of months the Titans were heavily linked to a deal with San Diego Chargers, whereby Tennessee would surrender the No. 2 pick for veteran Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers. However, Webster shot down that speculation by telling reporters that the sides haven’t engaged in any trade talks, which a Chargers source confirmed with U-T San Diego.
Rivers wants no part of the Chargers possible move to Los Angeles, and as such has decided to play out the final year of his current contract. Tennessee does seem like a decent landing spot for Rivers since it’s in close proximity to his home state of Alabama.
The Chicago Bears, sitting at No. 7 overall, were another squad speculated to have interest in Mariota, and ESPN also reported they are already offering tight end Martellus Bennett for trades. Chicago and head coach John Fox have been rather glib when it comes to quarterback Jay Cutler’s future with the team, and moving up for Mariota would likely signal the end of Cutler’s run in the Windy City.
The New York Jets, possibly looking to end the brief stint of Geno Smith at quarterback, have been the team most actively working the phones, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported. The Jets are currently at No. 6 overall, but if Tennessee’s asking price is too high, they’ll have to offer a significant bounty that might nullify the addition of Mariota.
The teams at the top of the first round are also reportedly looking to move up from the top of the second round into late in the first, according to MMQB’s Peter King. The Titans, Raiders, Jets, and Jacksonville Jagaurs are all trying to find a receiver, with King specifically citing USC wide receiver Nelson Agholor as a player to watch.
King tabbed the Carolina Panthers at No. 25, Baltimore Ravens at No. 26, Indianapolis Colts at No. 29, and New England Patriots at No. 32 as teams who could move down.
King also added to the Titans-Chargers-Browns-Mariota melee, stating only the Philadelphia Eagles and head coach Chip Kelly have enough assets to create a worthwhile package for Mariota and that he expects Kelly to make a big push for his former college quarterback.
Towards the middle of the first round the Miami Dolphins and St. Louis Rams could be teams to monitor for possible trades. According to NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, the Rams at No. 10 want to add Miami offensive tackle prospect Ereck Flowers while the Dolphins at No. 14 are hoping to snag Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker, with a trade being a possibility.