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5 Teams Who Should Trade Up in First Round of 2014 NFL Draft

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5 Teams Who Should Trade Up in First Round of 2014 NFL Draft

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The NFL Draft is the best chance for franchises to rebuild, remodel or reinforce their rosters, as there is a new wave of young talent introduced every season. This is also the only way to add elite players at many key positions, as franchise quarterbacks, left tackles and defensive ends rarely hit the trade block or free agent market.

For several teams in this year’s draft, trading up could be the best course of action to add a player they need. Each of the teams on this list has one or two glaring needs that must be filled, and they could decide that trading up for an elite prospect is the best method to acquire the player they need

This list is a realistic reflection of what could happen in April. There are a lot of teams that would like to trade up for Jadeveon Clowney, but only a few that could actually pull it off. The Washington Redskins are a team that I wanted to put on this list, but giving up even more draft picks to get back into the first round would be a mistake. Likewise, although it would make sense for the New England Patriots to go get a top wide receiver or the Green Bay Packers to move up for defensive help, such a trade is not in the nature of either organization.

The teams that are on this list have both the need to trade and the assets to do it, and a few of them have a history of making such a big move. Not all of these teams will trade up on draft day, but they will at least be thinking about making a move to better position themselves to land a top player.

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5. New Orleans Saints

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The New Orleans Saints are very close to returning to the Super Bowl, but they need something to push them over the top. In my opinion, investing in a top cornerback prospect could be exactly what they need to get there. Keenan Lewis is very good, but Jabari Greer ended the season on IR and is about to turn 32. Patrick Robinson missed almost the entire season and is no sure thing as a starter, and Corey White is better as a reserve.

The Saints need to think about Greer’s long term replacement, and the truth of today’s NFL is that you can never have too many good cornerbacks (just look at the Seattle Seahawks). Justin Gilbert is the consensus top CB prospect, though Darqueze Dennard isn’t far behind. If one or both of these players is available in the middle of the first round, don’t be surprised to see the Saints go get him.

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4. New York Jets

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Perhaps no team has a more obvious task in the first round than the New York Jets do in finding a top wide receiver. The Jets need to come away with one of Sammy Watkins, Marqise Lee, Mike Evans or tight end Eric Ebron at any cost. Geno Smith needs help, and the Jets’ highest priority is landing a top receiver.

The Jets have an extra third round pick, and if they get nervous that one of these players won’t make it to No. 18 they could be motivated to go up and get one. Also, if Watkins slips towards the bottom of the top 10, the Jets could make a big move to acquire a player that many view as a future Pro Bowler. However it breaks down, expect the Jets to go all out after a receiver.

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3. San Diego Chargers

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The San Diego Chargers came on strong at the end of the season and ended up with a pick lower than most were expecting. The Chargers’ two big needs are at left tackle and cornerback, and there is a chance that the top players at the position won’t be there by the time their pick rolls around.

The Chargers have an opportunity to take a big step forward in the AFC, but they have to solidify their offensive line and secondary. They will have to see how the draft plays out, but they need to come away with a starter at either left tackle or cornerback from the first round, so don’t be surprised if the Chargers make a move to ensure they fill one of these needs. Dennard and Cyrus Kouandjio are two names to keep an eye on.

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2. Minnesota Vikings

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The Minnesota Vikings are one of the teams that badly needs a franchise quarterback, but at No. 8 overall they are the fifth team that could be looking to take a quarterback. Many mock drafts have the Vikings linked with Teddy Bridgewater, but hoping he falls to them is a risky move.

The Vikings would have to make a big move to get into the top three, and it would certainly be expensive. However, if Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles are all gone by the time they pick, then they are essentially looking at 2014 as a lost season. This team can’t afford to waste any more of Adrian Peterson’s prime, so they have to make sure they get a quarterback in the draft.

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1. Miami Dolphins

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

I mean absolutely no exaggeration when I say the Miami Dolphins offensive line might be the worst position group in the NFL. Their 58 sacks allowed led the league by a wide margin, and their rushing attack ranked 26th in the NFL. Making matters worse, it is unlikely that either Jonathan Martin or Richie Incognito will ever return to this team, while Bryant McKinnie, Tyson Clabo and John Jerry are all free agents. Mike Pouncey is the only offensive lineman this team can rely on.

Getting Jake Matthews is unrealistic, but the Dolphins must come away with one of Greg Robinson, Taylor Lewan or Cyrus Kouandjio to take over at left tackle. Maybe they can get one at No. 19, but they shouldn’t wait around to find out. The rest of this roster is playoff caliber, and the Dolphins must use the draft to get their offensive line to that level.

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