There’s always a few potential hot spots for trade activity in the first round. Geno Smith could create several if he starts to fall, with quarterback needy teams pushing to possibly start a good ol’ bidding war. That could begin as soon as the second overall pick if the Jaguars aren’t confident in the strongest arm during an overall horrid year for the position, and they look to move back and get value for their pick while addressing their many, many other needs. Let the auction begin.
But just a little further back, a similar donnybrook could center around the draft’s best cornerback.
Thy name is Dee Milliner, and he’s been projected as easily a top ten pick, and possibly even a top five pick while going as early as No. 4 to the Eagles, or to the Lions one slot later. Milliner recorded 22 passes defensed during his final year at Alabama, making him the most sought after shutdown guy in a league where that job title has become increasingly crucial among cornerbacks over the past few years.
Yesterday Draftinsider’s Tony Pauline seemingly confirmed one destination for Milliner if he lingers long enough: the Factory of Sadness.
Sources confided in me yesterday the Cleveland Browns have Dee Milliner/CB/Alabama as their round one target with the sixth pick. Otherwise they will look to trade down with the hopes of selecting Barkevious Mingo/OLB/LSU. Both scenarios would be tough for the Browns in my opinion.
Cleveland has been the most commonly mocked landing spot for Milliner, and he’d instantly form one of the best young cornerback tandems in the league while playing with Joe Haden. His impact would be similar to the presence Janoris Jenkins brought to St. Louis last year when he was inserted alongside Cortland Finnegan. Haden is only a year removed from leading the league in passes defensed, and during his rookie year (2010) he intercepted six passes. Youth is a glorious thing.
But if we drift away from the obvious and peak our heads out of that creativity-vacuum box, there’s a swindler in Atlanta to watch out for.
The notion of the Falcons trading way, way up to grab Milliner was floated by Orlando Ledbetter, and it would seem absurd if they were managed by someone not named Thomas Dimitroff.
Every general manager should be keenly aware of how dire a need is at any given position. That’s sort of what they’re paid to do. The difference between Dimitroff and other well dressed front office men is that he’s not only willing to make a leap of faith…he’ll cannonball off that cliff after doing a few Jagerbombs.
After falling just short of the Super Bowl and losing to San Francisco in the NFC Championship game, the Falcons are currently perched at 30th overall. Cornerback is a glaring need after Dunta Robinson was cut, and Brent Grimes departed through free agency.
So in that late first-round spot, Desmond Trufant could be available if he falls, though getting him will likely require moving up a few spots. A similar price may have to be paid for Johnathan Banks, with the rising D.J. Hayden may be the best target if Atlanta stays at No. 30.
So could Dimitroff put together a package inciting enough to move all the way up and grab Milliner? Absolutely, yes. He has 11 picks to work with this year, and there’s very little chance that 11 rookies will be active next fall for a team that nearly won its conference. More importantly, Dimitroff has a history of such massive first-round moving, most notably the Julio Jones trade in which he gave up a total of five picks (including two first rounders).
His trade partner then? The Browns. His trade partner now? The…Browns?