Trade up, trade down or stay put in 2024 NFL Draft: The best plan for all 32 teams in the first round


The 2024 NFL Draft is just around the corner, and the order for all 257 picks is set. Except it really isn’t, because draft day often brings a flurry of movement from most of the league’s 32 teams. Plenty of early first-round selections could stay in place as quarterback-needy clubs look to fill the most important position, but just as many could be moved via trade.

Which teams are best suited to trade up, trade down or simply stay put? Here’s our proposal for every squad:

1. Bears — Stay put

With Justin Fields jettisoned, everything hinges on their ability to secure a difference-maker at quarterback. And all indications are that Caleb Williams can be that guy. Having another top-10 pick helps offset the appeal of a spicy trade down.

They need a quarterback as badly as anyone, but even if they’re mildly sold on more than one prospect not named Caleb Williams, it doesn’t pay to get cute with a move down. Get your guy and live with your decision.

This is the rare draft where each of the top three teams clearly need quarterbacks and clearly have top-three talents from which to choose. The Pats need to ace the rest of their draft to support their new signal-caller, however.

Odds are they’ll have the first crack at the top wide receivers of this class, and Kyler Murray sorely needs a weapon. But in such a rich crop of pass catchers, they can afford to increase their draft haul by dropping a few slots.

5. Chargers — Trade down

Securing a top tackle or wideout would be nice. Bolstering draft capital to replenish a lineup that lost key veterans due to financial constraints would be even nicer. Jim Harbaugh needs to restore Justin Herbert’s foundation.

6. Giants — Trade down

New York is in a tough spot of probably needing another quarterback while also needing to fill a slew of other holes. If they’re truly sold on, say, J.J. McCarthy and he’s on the board, maybe it’s worth the gamble. Otherwise, they just need more dart throws.

7. Titans — Stay put

After a surprisingly splashy offseason of veteran spending, the Titans could now use a blue-chip building block, be it a bookend to keep Will Levis upright or a corner to pair with L’Jarius Sneed. They should be able to find one here.

8. Falcons — Trade down

Kirk Cousins‘ arrival means Atlanta is focused on winning sooner rather than later, so standing pat may seem most logical. But their top needs — wideout, edge, corner — could all be filled with a slight move down that also nets an additional swing.

9. Bears — Trade down

Walking away with two top-10 prospects would be just fine, especially if it means pairing a new signal-caller with an elite pass-catching option like Rome Odunze. But they only have four picks total, and a slight move down could easily improve that.

10. Jets — Stay put

They’re in a weird position of needing to capitalize on the Aaron Rodgers window while also considering a post-2024/Rodgers world. The best way to do it is probably sitting tight and getting the best lineman or pass catcher available.

11. Vikings — Trade up

There’s a case to be made they could stay put and still end up with bona fide starting quarterback (see: Michael Penix Jr.). But they added an extra Day 1 pick to have flexibility. They might as well make sure they get their Kirk Cousins successor.

12. Broncos — Trade up

You’re gonna notice a trend here, among these quarterback-needy clubs just outside the top 10: All of them are squarely in the market for a signal-caller, and yet not all of them can afford to sit around. Denver’s perhaps most desperate.

13. Raiders — Trade up

Could they stand pat and wait to address quarterback on Day 2, if the board falls unfavorably? Sure. But even a move up for a top-ranked corner or tackle prospect would be worthwhile under new full-time coach Antonio Pierce.

14. Saints — Trade down

No one refuses to rebuild like the Saints, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be forward-thinking here. It’s very possible they could drop a few slots and still address needs like tackle and edge rusher.

15. Colts — Stay put

A splashy move up for another weapon to help Anthony Richardson would be fun, but the practical play is probably to let the board unfold and get the best perimeter player available, be it at wideout or corner.

16. Seahawks — Trade down

Seattle could be a sneaky candidate to move up or even sit tight and use this pick on a Geno Smith successor at quarterback, but with no second-rounder in their possession, they could stand to field calls about a bump down the order.

17. Jaguars — Trade up

The time is now to act in Jacksonville, with the rest of the AFC South loading up for what figures to be a tightly competitive 2024 race. Getting inside the top 15 might help them secure one of the top wideouts or cover men still available.

18. Bengals — Stay put

Any team in “win-now” mode could be justified as a trade-up candidate, but this is right around the point in the first round where the Bengals should be able to patiently lock in an interior defender, if not another tackle or wide receiver prospect.

19. Rams — Stay put

The one spot they could really stand to address is edge rusher, but this year’s class isn’t necessarily bound to fly off the board early, so they should have options. They do have an extra third-rounder in the event they need to jump up.

A trade up could be necessary to prevent a top tackle or corner from escaping their grasp, but they could also find good value at one of those spots, or another area of need like guard or receiver, by waiting it out.

Interior line should be a focus, and most of the top prospects there should still be available by this point in the first. With no Day 2 picks at their disposal, they also can’t be willy-nilly about a move way up the first-round board.

22. Eagles — Trade up

Howie Roseman loves to wheel and deal on draft day, and once again it makes sense. The Eagles are trying to get back to the big game, and while they don’t have a ton of glaring needs, a splashy investment at corner, tackle or edge could help.

23. Vikings — Stay put

This pick is of course totally dependent on what goes down with their No. 11 selection. Odds are it’ll be moved to another team if Minnesota looks to swing into the top 10 or even top five for a new quarterback.

24. Cowboys — Stay put

A trade up might be nice, considering Dallas has done surprisingly little to upgrade its one-and-done lineup from last season. But they’re also not overflowing with extra draft capital. Shoring up the O-line here seems like the right move.

25. Packers — Trade up

Green Bay is an upstart contender after a strong finish to 2023 under new starting quarterback Jordan Love. Why not get aggressive to aid his defensive support — or fortify the trenches — in anticipation of a deeper playoff run?

The Bucs are running it back with Baker Mayfield and the gang. But they haven’t necessarily made major upgrades on either side of the ball. A move up could help them land a difference-making pass rusher or cover man.

27. Cardinals — Stay put

This is another scenario where everything depends on their previous pick — in this case, No. 4 overall. If Arizona stays put up top, this would be a prime spot for a trade. Otherwise, why not walk away with two first-round talents?

28. Bills — Trade up

A trade down is just as feasible, considering Buffalo dumped so many proven veterans to cut costs this offseason. But they need some juice after stripping Josh Allen of weapons. A move up for a new wideout would help provide that.

29. Lions — Trade down

Moving up is certainly possible considering they’re in title-contention mode, but with zero picks for a long stretch between Rounds 3-5, a slight drop could help them add a Day 2 selection and round out spots like corner and pass rusher.

30. Ravens — Stay put

As with most of the teams on the back end here, a trade up would also make sense, if they’ve got a specific playmaker in mind. Either way, it’d be nice to get Lamar Jackson another outlet considering the question marks at wide receiver.

31. 49ers — Stay put

Perhaps no team enjoys a more complete, balanced roster, even coming off a Super Bowl defeat. By standing pat, they could still end up with quality depth up front or in the secondary, where they could use some added corner/safety depth.

32. Chiefs — Trade up

All of a sudden, even after Marquise Brown’s arrival, they might need another investment out wide, with Rashee Rice facing legal trouble. There’s also corner, where L’Jarius Sneed’s exit leaves a vacancy opposite Trent McDuffie.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker