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Draft Debate

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2024 NFL Draft: Which team most needs to trade up in Round 1? 

It's officially the month of the 2024 NFL Draft (taking place April 25-27 in Detroit), and one team (Minnesota Vikings) has already orchestrated a trade to obtain an additional first-round pick, giving itself more flexibility to potentially trade up in Round 1. With an enticing quarterback class and game-changing talent at other positions, there's a good chance we'll see several teams work their way up the draft board on Thursday night. With this in mind, we ask the question:

Which team most needs to trade up in Round 1?

Jeffri Chadiha

PICK: Denver Broncos

The Broncos have arguably the worst quarterback situation in the NFL, and they didn’t have the resources to fix it when free agency started. The only real shot at improving that room now is a bold draft trade that puts them in position to select one of the top four prospects in the class. Denver might find a solid option where it currently sits -- at 12th overall -- but the potential stars will be long gone by then (a group that includes Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye and J.J. McCarthy). The Broncos already reside in a conference and division featuring stellar quarterback play. To go into next season without real hope at the position doesn’t make much sense.

Headshot_Author_Adam Rank_2019_png
Adam Rank

PICK: Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders, who currently have Aidan O’Connell and Gardner Minshew at the top of the depth chart and are set to pick 13th overall, should cash in right now for one of this year’s top quarterbacks. They had the No. 1 scoring defense from Week 9 last season -- when Antonio Pierce took over -- to Week 18, and they signed Christian Wilkins this offseason to pair with game-wrecker Maxx Crosby. I'm telling you, no franchise has done better signing a free agent since “The Fast and the Furious” franchise brought in The Rock. The Raiders should be aggressive in their trade for a quarterback at the end of the month. 

Marc Ross

PICK: New York Giants

The Giants can’t go into another season thinking Daniel Jones, who is recovering from an ACL tear and has a 22-36-1 record as a starter, is good enough to be a legit franchise quarterback, and owner John Mara said recently he’d support general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll drafting a quarterback early in Round 1. They currently hold the No. 6 overall pick, but considering the glut of QB-needy teams, that spot will likely be too low to nab a top quarterback prospect.

David Carr

PICK: Denver Broncos or Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings and Broncos, two quarterback-needy teams, hold first-round picks outside of the top 10. The top four quarterbacks in this year’s draft class (Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye and J.J. McCarthy) likely won’t be available after the fifth overall pick, let alone at Nos. 11 (Minnesota) and 12 (Denver). If these franchises are comfortable with guys like Michael Penix Jr. or Bo Nix, they could stand pat. However, to really improve their current offenses and compete in their respective divisions, they need to go get one of those top signal-callers.

Chad Reuter

PICK: Denver Broncos

After the disaster that was the Russell Wilson era, and after watching their AFC West-rival Kansas City Chiefs win their second straight Super Bowl, the Broncos are looking for good news. Moving up into the top five from their No. 12 spot will likely cost Denver multiple 2025 selections, due to the Broncos' lack of capital in this year's draft (just two of the team's eight picks are in the top 100), but acquiring one of the top four quarterbacks gives the team direction -- and its fans something to believe in.

Maurice Jones-Drew

PICK: Las Vegas Raiders or Denver Broncos

Both the Raiders and Broncos parted with their QB1s from last season, with Las Vegas releasing Jimmy Garoppolo and Denver releasing Russell Wilson, respectively. The Raiders can’t go into 2024 with Aidan O’Connell or Gardner Minshew as the starting options if they want to knock off the Chiefs, who have owned the AFC West for the majority of the last decade. Same goes for Denver and Jarrett Stidham. Both teams need to invest in a quarterback in the first round, but it isn’t a guarantee the QBs they seek will be available at Nos. 7 (Raiders) or 12 (Broncos). So, I expect at least one of these teams to climb up the draft board early on April 25.

Scott Pioli

This is tough for me to answer, having been a former general manager for several NFL teams. Right now, I don’t believe any team needs to feel like it must move up, because decision-makers typically wait until Round 1 gets underway, to see if their targeted player might end up in striking range of their original pick anyway. The reason a team moves up is to select a specific player at a cost that makes sense -- NOT to “go up and get one of those top QBs.” Without knowing which players will still be on the board and at what spots, GMs generally don’t know the real price of trading up ahead of time. The overall cost of draft capital to move up is often excessive and can be debilitating to the team-building process down the road. I’m a big believer in gathering picks to have flexibility to make strategic moves -- not desperate ones. 

That said, in terms of scenarios involving a trade up in the first round, I prefer not to have to jump too many spots at too great of a cost. 

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