By Chris Burke
April 15, 2014

(Damian Strohmeyer/SI) Safety doesn't offer a luxury of depth, which could convince teams to trade up for someone like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. (Damian Strohmeyer/SI)

With an additional two weeks before the NFL draft this offseason, the rumor mill is spinning like never before. Could a surprise team make a move for one of the top quarterbacks? Will Houston or St. Louis dangle Jadeveon Clowney as trade bait? Is Detroit really considering a run at Sammy Watkins?

Much of what we hear in the weeks before the draft turns out to be noise -- either teams attempting to lay a smokescreen on their actual plans or scouts doing what they can to diminish a player's value, thus making it easier to land that prospect with a later pick.

No matter what is true or false right now, the 2014 draft sets up as one of the most unpredictable in recent memory. Several teams could be in the trade market come May 8. Here's a look at which player or position each franchise should be thinking about trading up for in Round 1:

MORE: 2014 NFL Mock Draft | Top WRs | Top TEs | Top QBs | Top RBs | Top tackles

1. Houston 

Should consider trading up for: No one here, obviously, but ...

If Houston heads down the Jadeveon Clowney road with the No. 1 overall selection, it immediately would become a potential trade-up team later in Round 1. With the top pick in every round of the draft, the Texans have some worthwhile pieces to deal, and they may put some to use if the quarterback they want is sitting on the board near pick 25. They may wind up with two first-round selections before all is said and done.

2. St. Louis

Should consider trading up for: Jadeveon Clowney.

Obviously, there is not a whole lot of ground to cover for the Rams here. The only reason that St. Louis would even toy with the notion of jumping from No. 2 to No. 1 is if it is 100 percent set on one specific prospect. Clowney might be just such a game-changer, so the Rams could take all the mystery out of the equation by swapping spots with Houston.

3. Jacksonville

Should consider trading up for: No one.

The Jaguars do not really have a worst-case scenario at No. 3 -- and given the uncertainty surrounding this draft, they actually sit in a pretty enviable spot. If Clowney and Sammy Watkins are drafted 1-2, the Jaguars have their pick of talent: QBs, Mike Evans, Khalil Mack, every OT; if only one of Clowney or Watkins goes ahead of them, the Jaguars gain even more value with the No. 3 pick. Perhaps a similar argument could be made here as for St. Louis at No. 2, in that if Jacksonville absolutely wants Clowney, moving up would be on the table. For a team that's still rebuilding, holding firm or moving down for additional draft choices makes for a far better play.

4. Cleveland

Should consider trading up for: No one.

Like the Jaguars, the Browns can craft just about any scenario and walk away with a dynamic player. Even if other teams trade up and Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel all land in the top three (an astronomically unlikely outcome), the Browns would have Clowney, Sammy Watkins and the option to trade down leading their list. The Trent Richardson trade stole them another first-round pick. There's no reason to cough up that gain to move a spot or two.

5. Oakland

Should consider trading up for: Sammy Watkins.

Watkins is talented enough to justify the Raiders -- or several other teams coming up below them -- making an aggressive move into one of the top-four spots (St. Louis' selection at No. 2 may be very available, when all is said and done). Oakland needs to find a QB somewhere along the line, but adding Watkins to a corps that includes James Jones, Rod Streater, Denarius Moore and others would make it a lot easier for Matt Schaub to look competent as a starter.

Oakland has no picks in Rounds 5 or 6, so sacrificing a high choice in Round 2 or 3 to move up from here does not look particularly appealing. If Watkins is there to be had, though, the opinion may change.

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6. Atlanta

Should consider trading up for: Khalil Mack.

While it is tough to read the tea leaves for many of the teams picking up this high, Atlanta's most pressing need -- a pass-rusher -- is obvious. There are a boatload of options later in this draft, so if, say, Houston takes Clowney No. 1 and Jacksonville nabs Mack, the Falcons would not be totally out of luck. (In that scenario, one of the top tackles or a trade down would jump to the forefront.) But the draft is not the ideal time to be rolling out Plan B. Even if Clowney becomes a Texan, Atlanta should have a shot to go get Mack.

7. Tampa Bay

Should consider trading up for: Mike Evans.

Would the Buccaneers even need to do this if Evans is the goal? It may all depend on where Watkins falls. The pro-trade up argument here is similar to that for St. Louis at No. 2, if Clowney is the ideal choice: Waiting for a player to fall into your lap at the draft is a crap shoot, and leaves the door open for another team to make a move.

8. Minnesota

Should consider trading up for: Whichever QB it wants.

This all depends on whether you -- or, more importantly, the Vikings -- believe the current hype that this QB class is destined for a collective tumble come draft day. Should that happen, Minnesota could sit at No. 8 and have its choice or even hold off until Round 2. Should even one of the Bortles-Bridgewater-Manziel trio hear his name called in the top five, the Vikings could pay for the fallout. Swapping spots for a future franchise QB would erase that issue.

9. Buffalo

Should consider trading up for: Jake Matthews.

Actually, there are several guys Buffalo could justify trading up for, including either Watkins or Evans. This scenario presumes that Greg Robinson is the first tackle off the board, likely to the Rams at No. 2. That occurrence would leave the polished, NFL-ready Matthews there for the taking, with only Atlanta standing above Buffalo as an obvious suitor.

Several teams in the top 10 could be looking to trade down on May 8. If the Bills can solve their issues at RT by trading up for Matthews without breaking the bank, they should.

10. Detroit

Should consider trading up for: Khalil Mack.

Yes, the Watkins-to-Detroit buzz has been all over the place recently. And there is no doubt that the Lions are at least toying with the possibility of adding another dominant receiver to its Calvin Johnson-Golden Tate tandem. Conventional wisdom, however, says that this team is more in need of an impact defender than another offensive weapon. Mack may be a better 3-4 fit than a 4-3, but he would upgrade the Lions' OLB spot plus provide a Von Miller-esque pass rusher that the coaching staff has stated repeatedly that it wants.

11. Tennessee

Should consider trading up for: Khalil Mack.

Not sure the value or desperation is present for Tennessee to throw its hat in the trade-up ring. If it does for whatever reason, the target again should be Mack. Put him on the edge of an improving defense, and the Titans would be in business.

12. New York Giants

Should consider trading up for: Eric Ebron.

Figuring out the market on an Ebron trade will be a tricky one, since he's likely to be the first tight end off the board. It isn't out of the question he could still be available at No. 12; it's also possible a team like Tampa Bay, Buffalo or Detroit rolls the dice ahead of the Giants. New York has other needs it must address, yet adding the skilled Ebron has clear upside.

13. St. Louis

Should consider trading up for: Mike Evans.

Which direction St. Louis leans here -- both in terms of a possible trade and on what side of the ball -- depends on how it handles pick No. 2. Should Clowney or an offensive tackle get the nod there, the Rams may try to take full advantage of a second Round 1 selection by throwing its cards on the table for a player like Evans. The huge Texas A&M target would help solve a lot of the Rams' offensive issues.

14. Chicago

Should consider trading up for: Aaron Donald.

Initially, the opinion on Donald was that his size would prevent him from being a legitimate top-15 pick. Now, he may not escape the top 10. The Bears may not feel the need to chase him, what with Timmy Jernigan, multiple cornerbacks and potentially every safety on the table at No. 14. If they want Donald, though, it will be a long wait to this pick.

15. Pittsburgh

Should consider trading up for: Justin Gilbert.

We are well into the picks now where trading up would mean climbing a couple of positions, rather than securing a spot at or very near the top of the draft. If picks 10-12 come around and someone like Gilbert -- arguably the draft's top CB -- remains, the Steelers certainly should entertain this thought.

16. Dallas

Should consider trading up for: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

Thanks to Barry Church, the Cowboys' safety position is not quite as dire as it was even early last year. Still, it is far from a strength, and in Clinton-Dix they could add a standout option. It would be a surprise if Clinton-Dix is taken higher than No. 10, meaning that Dallas could limit the cost of a trade.

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17. Baltimore

Should consider trading up for: Taylor Lewan or Zack Martin.

Assuming Matthews and Robinson are top-10 (maybe even top-five) selections, as most anticipate, the race to land Lewan or Martin would be on. There is at least a bit of a perceived drop-off from Lewan to Martin, then from the versatile Martin to Morgan Moses, Cyrus Kouandjio and other OTs.

18. New York Jets

Should consider trading up for: Odell Beckham Jr.

Landing Watkins or Evans probably is a pipe dream, whether the Jets are considering trading up or not. Even hoping to snatch Ebron is a long shot for the moment. The situation figures to be different for Beckham, who might deserve to be in the top-receiver discussion yet should be around once the top-10 picks are done. A Beckham-Eric Decker 1-2 punch would end the Jets' struggles at the receiver position.

19. Miami

Should consider trading up for: Zack Martin.

Copy and paste the Ravens' argument, except that a) Lewan's off-field troubles could eliminate him for the Dolphins; and b) Martin might be of higher priority in Miami anyway since he can play inside or out.

20. Arizona

Should consider trading up for: Anthony Barr.

Where Barr might land in Round 1 (or Round 2?) increasingly has become a mystery as the draft approaches. For a team that favors the 3-4 defense and could use a young, athletic player off the edge, the thought of Barr being available in the middle of Round 1 has to be a dream.

21. Green Bay

Should consider trading up for: C.J. Mosley.

Another talented draft prospect with uncertain stock -- injury questions, among other factors, may bump Mosley down. Even so, the Alabama star would be a tremendous fit on Green Bay's defense, which badly needs a pursuing linebacker to help round out the front seven. By this point, the Packers may be willing to simply wait to see if Mosley makes it to them.

22. Philadelphia

Should consider trading up for: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Calvin Pryor.

The thought of Philadelphia trading up for a safety or a wide receiver is not exactly a far-fetched one. The Eagles would like to add talent at both of those spots, so it may just be a matter of who catches Chip Kelly's eye. The safety position does not offer the luxury of depth WR does -- if Philadelphia wants a starter-caliber safety, it must strike in Round 1.

23. Kansas City

Should consider trading up for: Marqise Lee.

Somewhere during the 2014 draft, there will be a run on receivers.  In the event that it threatens to happen early, the Chiefs would be wise not to miss out. They might be able to pick Lee, once considered the sure-fire top WR in this class, a dozen or more picks below Watkins. That's value, even if it requires a trade up.

24. Cincinnati

Should consider trading up for: Darqueze Dennard.

The Bengals defense is at its best when it can push forward in a man-coverage attack. Enter Dennard, who has been dogged by questions about his speed, strength, arm length and ability to cover in a zone ... but who might be the best cornerback to come out of this class. A Dennard drop coupled with, for example, Green Bay looking to trade down could lead to this result.

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25. San Diego

Should consider trading up for: Kyle Fuller.

Take your pick of cornerbacks. In Gilbert, Dennard, Fuller, Jason Verrett and Bradley Roby, this class boasts a multitude of intriguing, Round 1-caliber prospects, but none of them are top-10 certainties. San Diego might get the chance to lock in on one of that group in the mid-teens/early-20s and hit the pedal.

26. Cleveland

Should consider trading up for: Johnny Manziel.

A lot of variables have to fall into place here, notably Manziel plummeting into the bottom half of Round 1 and Cleveland opting to address another position at No. 4. Whereas I argued that the Browns would gain little by moving up from their earlier pick, the prize for doing so here may just be the franchise QB that they seek.

Outside of wild cards like the Jets (currently starting Geno Smith) or the Cardinals (Carson Palmer), there would not be a lot of demand for quarterbacks from teams sitting late in Round 1. Another squad looking to trade up from the top of Round 2 to add someone like Manziel, though, certainly would be in play. Cleveland could finish off a huge Thursday night by keeping those wolves at bay and adding a potential star.

27. New Orleans

Should consider trading up for: Jason Verrett.

The Saints may be but one piece away in the secondary, where they added Jairus Byrd and (to a lesser extent) Champ Bailey to the existing core of Keenan Lewis and Kenny Vaccaro. TCU's Verrett would be the answer and then some, lining up as a starter wide on most downs and then sliding to the slot in sub packages.

28. Carolina

Should consider trading up for: Zack Martin or a receiver.

The Panthers may have to catch a break for Martin to drop into their vicinity, thus this is a low-probability pitch, despite how much Martin would help up front. Behind door No. 2 we find Beckham Jr. and Lee, depending on how long they last on Day 1. Either would pencil in as a starter in Carolina.

29. New England

Should consider trading up for: Kony Ealy or Dee Ford.

A couple weeks ago, I would have circled the wagons for Jernigan. Now that things between Vince Wilfork and the Patriots are hunky-dory again, the requisite desperation driving a trade up is gone as it pertains to Jernigan. So, we turn New England's attention to the pass-rushing spots, specifically for an Ealy or Ford addition. This will be a domino-effect situation: Clowney, Mack and Barr should be the top three OLB-types taken. Where they go will dictate Ealy's and Ford's landing spots.

30. San Francisco

Should consider trading up for: Whichever CB falls.

The 49ers have to be considered one of the likeliest trade-up partners in the draft because of the sheer number of picks they hold -- six in the top 100 alone. If any team then has the ammunition to alter the order, it could be San Francisco.

31. Denver

Should consider trading up for: Xavier Su'a-Filo.

John Elway has made it pretty clear that the Broncos are in win-now mode, with Peyton Manning's career dwindling down to its final year or two. The all-in stance means Denver has to take a look if someone who can help from the outset pops into view. Someone like Su'a-Filo, a plug-and-play starter at one of the Broncos' weak spots.

32. Seattle

Should consider trading up for: Brandin Cooks.

Think the Seahawks' speed is tough to deal with now? How about if the explosive Cooks joins the party? He would give Seattle yet another lightning-quick option on offense, plus could serve as Percy Harvin insurance in the event that Harvin suffers yet another injury. The lack of a third-round pick could complicate trade proceedings, depending on how far up the board Seattle needs to get.

• Washington (does not have a first-round pick)

Should consider trading up for: Calvin Pryor or Jimmie Ward.

The Redskins selected two safeties on Day 3 last year (Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo). Unfortunately, neither really panned out during the 2013 season, forcing Washington to sign 34-year-old Ryan Clark to play alongside Brandon Meriweather. Clark is, at best, a short-term solution, while either Pryor or Ward would be a huge upgrade on the Thomas/Rambo duo. Moving from pick 34 into the tail end of Round 1 might be enough to land a new starter.

• Indianapolis (does not have a first-round pick)

Should consider trading up for: Weston Richburg.

The Colts are not on the clock until pick No. 59, thanks to the Trent Richardson trade. And with just five picks, fewest of any team, they need to swing for the fences a bit. Richburg (or USC's Marcus Martin) would push Khaled Holmes and Phil Costa for the starting center job, with the ability to slide over and help at guard should the situation arise. Indianapolis does not have the stockpile to make any huge moves, shy of trading away next year's first- or second-rounder. A slight leap for a solid player might be the ceiling.

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