Tonight, every pick will be traded. And then every pick won’t be traded. You’ll read and hear so many rumors that by the end of the evening you’ll be convinced that pigs do, in fact, fly. No, that doesn’t make sense. Nothing will.
So welcome one and all to April Christmas, a fantastic time when we marvel over the future of young men as they find their places of NFL employment tonight and over the next three days, and then oh so many of them won’t be heard from again while they become colossal failures.
Back to that trading. As I’ve written so many times and will write so many more this evening as a flurry of trading starts, no one really wants to make picks in this draft, and especially not early. With no true premier prospect, trading down and re-locating to a spot with better value is the preferred path, though finding a trading partner will prove difficult.
We’ll scrutinize and analyze and berate those trades, but in the beginning, they will just be numbers. Like, say, the seventh overall pick for the 17th, 46th picks, 538th picks. They will be nameless and blank numbers, and they’ll have no soul. But as with every draft, there’s a damn good chance that a few real people could be traded sometime throughout the process. If not tonight, then tomorrow, or the next day.
Let’s do a roll call of the three leading hot names through a quick listicle.
Branden Albert (LT, Chiefs): We’re to the point now that it would be jarring if Albert wasn’t traded, which means it definitely won’t happen. Talks have been starting and stopping and then starting again between the Chiefs and Dolphins, with Miami in need at the position after Jake Long departed for St. Louis during free agency.
Since he was franchised by the Chiefs, trading for Albert also means signing him to a long-term contract, and last night Armando Salguero of the Palm Beach Post reported that the Dolphins are finally on board with the parameters of a deal, and they’re willing to pay him “elite LT money“. The current market dictates that means something in the neighborhood of $8.5 million annually, which is what Long received from the Rams.
Of course, another hurdle is what the Chiefs will get in return. They want to recoup the second-round pick they lost in the Alex Smith trade, and Miami has two such picks. The problem, though, is that the Dolphins may not believe Albert is worth that compensation. So in summary, Jeff Ireland is willing to pay Albert like an elite left tackle, but he won’t pay the appropriate price for an elite left tackle in a trade.
Chris Ivory (RB, Saints): When healthy, Ivory has been criminally underused in New Orleans despite his quality production during sparse carries while platooning with Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas. He had just 40 carries last year over his six games, and he still logged three carries for 20 yards or more while averaging 5.4 YPC. He’s expendable, he’s on just a one-year deal, and for a team needing depth at a position where pieces are routinely recycled and/or discarded, he holds value now.
That team is the Jets. They signed Mike Goodson after losing Shonn Greene during free agency, but two high-upside backs who still have their youth (both Goodson and Ivory are 25) would be ideal for a team that’s sort of maybe rebuilding. Right now, all is silent on the Ivory-to-the-Jets front, but that means little. He can fetch a mid-round pick, so the buzzing will resume tomorrow or Saturday.
Davone Bess (WR, Dolphins): Annnd here’s another classic case of a surplus leading to a player being expendable. Sorry, Davone.
The Dolphins’ free agency cannonball was highlighted by the Mike Wallace signing, but prior to that Brian Hartline was retained. Brandon Gibson was also added, and Dustin Keller — a much more capable target at tight end — came aboard too. That doesn’t leave any footballs for Bess’ hands next year after he was Ryan Tannehill’s No. 2 receiver in 2012, and he recorded a solid if less than spectacular 778 receiving yards on 61 receptions.
We have an exact percentage for how confident we can be in a Bess trade, which is pretty convenient…
Sources tell me 99.9% receiver Davone Bess from Miami to Cleveland Browns for mid round picks.
— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) April 25, 2013
This is intriguing. Josh Gordon is the “No. 1″ receiver in Cleveland. The cornball quotation marks are necessary because in the early stages of his career, he’s shown an ability to be extremely explosive, and on some days he simply can’t be caught downfield.
The problem is that he can’t do anything else yet. He’s hitting home runs, but striking out a lot too, and since the defenses he’s opposing feature professional football players and they’re run by professional defensive coordinators, that deep running will eventually be taken away from him if he doesn’t develop a little more versatility.
Or here’s a better idea: the Browns can bring in someone who also has great speed on the other side, with the added bonus of Bess pushing Greg Little and squeezing every remaining ounce of potential out of him.