2024 NFL Draft: Five Potential Trades, Moves That Might Shock You

The NFL Draft is right around the corner, and if you’ve ever watched one before, you know already that the first round is always full of league-altering trades and shocking decision-making from any of the 32 war rooms. The shopping lists of several NFL teams make for what should be a historic draft night this year, and I’m expecting no shortage of jaw-dropping moments with a loaded draft class at plenty of positions.

Through all the noise and smokescreens that come with the days leading up to draft night, it seems all but certain that the teams with the first three picks (Bears, Commanders, Patriots) won’t be trading down as they hope to find their franchise quarterbacks. From there however, things may get messy. Let’s look at some of the deals I’m expecting to happen, both for picks and players.

Minnesota Vikings trade up to draft J.J. McCarthy

This first one shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, as the Vikings suddenly find themselves without a starting QB after dealing Kirk Cousins to Atlanta back in March. We saw bits and pieces of then rookie QB Nick Mullens when Cousins went down last season, but it’s been made obvious he’s not the one Minnesota wants taking the reins.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Arizona hand the Vikings the fourth pick only to move back to 11, where they can still easily find their Hollywood Brown replacement.

Through Jim Harbaugh’s magic, Chargers end up with MHJ

Piggybacking on my first point, only a few months ago McCarthy was viewed as a day two pick. However, through the combine, pro days, and wise words from his former coach at Michigan, McCarthy’s odds to be taken within the top five has surged.

It makes sense to speak highly of the QB you just won the CFB National Championship with, but there’s a theory out there that Harbaugh is slithering star WR Marvin Harrison Jr. down to LA at pick five. And I believe it.

Let’s take a look at what the top five picks should look like:

  1. Chicago Bears (via CAR): Caleb Williams, QB USC
  2. Washington Commanders: Jayden Daniels, QB LSU
  3. New England Patriots: Drake Maye, QB UNC
  4. Minnesota Vikings (via ARI): J.J. McCarthy, QB Michigan
  5. Los Angeles Chargers: you guessed it

With Keenan Allen now in Chicago and Mike Williams now in New York (Jets), landing MHJ would definitely be ideal for Jim Harbaugh as he hopes to start off his career with the Chargers on a good note.

The only issue is LA needs offensive line help, so they may instead take Joe Alt out of Notre Dame then wait till the second round to draft a WR, but where’s the fun in that?

Bengals trade WR Tee Higgins and immediately find a replacement

I’m not confident on a definite suitor yet, but it seems quite likely Higgins will move on from Cincinnati after not being able to agree on an extension.

There are a few teams inside the top ten currently that could definitely use him, however. The Giants currently have the sixth pick and could greatly benefit from pairing Higgins with TE Darren Waller in hopes of reviving Daniel Jones’ career (or the QB they take in the second round, if they go that route).

Obviously if they do take Penix at 6, then this theory is busted. But if they DO surrender the sixth pick for Higgins (which I think they should), then the Bengals are left in prime position to draft Rome Odunze or Malik Nabers. Problem solved!

My other theoretical team that could be interested in Higgins is the Cardinals, who have a plethora of picks they could exchange for him. This obviously leaves Cincinnati less room to get one of the top WRs in the draft (whether it be at pick 11 or 27), there’s still plenty of capable suitors at either of those picks, and likely a day two or three pick thrown into that deal as well.

Even after trading for Zach Wilson, Broncos go QB at 12

This is also a move that wouldn’t surprise me, as even with trading for Wilson the Broncos are looking at a bottom-tier QB room. Say Wilson is named the starter, he would be backed up by Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci.

Whether they decide to trade up into the top 10 somehow or take the best remaining QB at 12 (my guess is Penix or Nix), there’s no way Denver doesn’t desperately attempt to find their new future guy. Unless they decide to fill a different hole and look to 2025 for Shedeur Sanders or Quinn Ewers.

*BONUS HOT TAKE* Pats land Justin Jefferson

Let’s be clear here. I don’t think this will happen. But it’s the NFL, and if I’ve learned anything about being a fan, it’s that truly anything can happen.

What I think is actually going to happen is Minnesota trades up to pick 4 and takes McCarthy, but if you stop and think about this for even a second, it just might make sense for both sides.

Minnesota currently owns the 11th pick (their own) and the 23rd pick (from HOU). With Cousins’ departure, there’s been some noise created surrounding Justin Jefferson’s future as a Viking. If he WERE to leave, who’s to say New England couldn’t be a potential suitor with about $60 million dollars in cap space?

I also highly doubt New England is willing to surrender the third overall pick, but if they do, receiving the 23rd overall pick could still put Bo Nix or Michael Penix Jr. in their laps, two very capable prospects that could easily turn into your new guys. Meanwhile, Minnesota could then take McCarthy or Drake Maye at 3 and still have their own pick at 11 to find JJ’s replacement.

AGAIN, not for a second do I think this will happen (nor do I want it to, being a Dolphins fan), but this is a very unpredictable league, and it’s a trade that could very well benefit both sides.