The 2020 NFL draft gets started in three days, and the nature of this year’s draft raises some questions about just how active general managers will be in making trades. Every single front office executive will be in their own house, with no war rooms available due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It will require extra steps for people to communicate with their own staffs, let alone also reaching out to speak with other teams’ general managers to talk trades.
That being said, some number of trades is still inevitable. There are enough teams likely interested in moving up and down the draft board that it could still get moderately busy on day one. And NBC Sports’ Peter King is offering up three trades in the first round in his 2020 NFL mock draft to lead off draft week.
King’s first trade is not a surprising one. Following Joe Burrow and Chase Young going first and second, King has the Detroit Lions dealing the third overall pick to the Miami Dolphins. The Lions are regularly discussed as a strong trade possibility, and it feels like the 2020 NFL Draft really doesn’t start until the Lions are on the clock.
King has the Dolphins moving up to pick Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert as their potential quarterback of the future. He thinks the picks are the same for the two teams regardless of a trade happening, but he sees Miami playing things conservatively with Herbert over Tua Tagovailoa, and making this move to ensure they get their guy.
This move in turn results in a slide for Tagovailoa. The Los Angeles Chargers are a candidate to pick a quarterback at No. 6, but he has them going with Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas instead. Tagovailoa in turn slips to the teens, where the New England Patriots decide to pounce. King projects Bill Belichick and the Patriots dealing with John Lynch and the San Francisco 49ers to move into the No. 13 slot in exchange for a 2021 first round pick.
The final trade of the first round involves the 49ers other first round pick. They have two firsts and then nothing until the fifth round, so they make as much sense as anybody to move back and pick up some day two picks. King projects them dealing the 31st overall pick to the Cowboys in exchange for their second and third round picks.
Trading will be unpredictable in this draft due to the unique requirements of social distancing. But considering we sometimes see as many as six or seven trades in the first round, we’ll see trades. I would take the under on 6.5, and maybe even on 5.5, but we will still see some measure of business happening.