It’s been 12 years since the team with the No.1 overall pick in the NFL Draft traded the top selection, but that streak could be broken in 2016. The first pick in this year’s draft belongs to the Tennessee Titans, and the team is exploring the possibility of making a move.
Tennessee finished the 2015 regular season with the NFL’s worst record at 3-13, and they have plenty of holes to fill. The Titans could start to improve by trading the top pick for multiple selections in the draft.
“I’ve had a couple of conversations here and there. I think it is really more kind of exploratory at this point,’’ Titans general manager Jon Robinson said via the team’s official website. “As we get a little bit closer, a little bit more through the process with the combine and interviews and pro days, I expect there will be a few more exploratory calls, and there may not be. We'll see.”
The San Diego Chargers were the last team to trade the No.1 overall pick, sending it to the New York Giants, who took Eli Manning in the 2004 NFL Draft. The Chargers received the No.4 overall pick in the 2004 draft, taking Philip Rivers with New York’s selection. They also got a 2004 third-round pick (kicker Nate Kaeding) and a 2005 first-round pick (linebacker Shawne Merriman), as well as a 2005 fifth-round pick.
After picking Marcus Mariota with the No.2 pick in last year’s draft, the Titans already have their quarterback of the future. It’s rare that a signal caller isn’t taken first overall, giving Tennessee more incentive to trade down. A quarterback has been taken first overall in 11 of the last 15 drafts.
California’s Jared Goff is the first quarterback projected to be picked this year, and he’s likely to go to the Cleveland Browns at No.2 overall if the Titans keep their pick. A team like the St. Louis Rams, who need a quarterback but have the No.15 overall pick, could be a possible trading partner for Tennessee.
Four years ago, the Rams traded the No.2 overall pick to the Washington Redskins, who selected Robert Griffin III. St. Louis turned that pick into eight players that have made a combined 158 starts for the Rams.
Robinson says he will weigh his options before trading the top pick for multiple selections.
“I look at it much like a game plan,’’ Robinson said. “Coach (Mike) Mularkey and his staff, they put a game plan together and whatever they think is best for us as a team to win a football game … and they follow that plan. That is kind of where I’m at – taking everything into account and we’re going to put a game plan together based on the options that we have that we think are best for the team."
If Tennessee doesn’t trade the pick, offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil and defensive end Joey Bosa both have a chance to go first overall to the Titans.