Trader Ted could have the Packers on the move again.
Sports Illustrated's Peter King is reporting that the New England Patriots want to move up in the first round. The Patriots, who hold the 23rd selection of the first and three choices in the second, have offered that top pick and the second of their second-rounders, No. 47. According to King, the Patriots were rebuffed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are scheduled to pick eighth, and may turn their attention to Ted Thompson's Packers, who are scheduled to pick ninth.
If the Patriots want to move up, it's because they have a player in mind. Therefore, no deal would be announced until the Patriots find out whether the player they desire is on the board at No. 9 on Saturday afternoon.
A trade down, of course, also would be dependent on how Thompson views the draft board when the Packers are on the clock. There may be a player he loves that has fallen into his lap. Or, the player he loves might be available a dozen slots later. That's what happened last year, when Jordy Nelson was the Packers' preference about two weeks before the draft and Thompson traded out of the first round on draft day to get him.
"Trading down, trading up, it's all a question of supply and demand," Thompson said during his predraft news conference on Monday. "If at your pick, there are multiple players that you would like to have at that pick, and you don't have any real hard preference and you'd be fine with any of them and you could move a few spots and know that you can still get one of those players, then sometimes ... it makes a lot of sense to move back and pick up an extra pick later on."
Moving down would cost the Packers 14 spots in the first round. On the positive side, they'd have two second-round choices (Nos. 41 and 47) and two third-rounders (Nos. 73 and 83). With the Packers needing to fill vacancies or add depth at nose tackle, defensive end, outside linebacker, offensive tackle and cornerback, that extra early selection would be useful.
Plus, and this can't be discounted, there's an enormous savings in guaranteed money. Last year, Jacksonville handed Derrick Harvey $17.2 million in guaranteed money while Dallas gave Felix Jones only $7.7 million guaranteed. (Harvey was selected eighth and Jones 22nd; they were chosen for this story to better reflect what this year's ninth and 23rd picks will receive.)
At No. 9, the players Thompson would be considering, depending on what happens in the prior picks, include Boston College nose tackle B.J. Raji, LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson, Ohio State defensive back Malcolm Jenkins, Mississippi tackle Michael Oher, Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith, Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree and the top pass-rushing linebacker prospects — Texas' Brian Orakpo, Penn State's Aaron Maybin or Florida State's Everette Brown.
At No. 23, a few of the names in play would be Arizona offensive tackle Eben Britton, Missouri defensive tackle Evander Hood (who would be a defensive end), and 3-4 outside linebacker prospects Clay Matthews Jr. of USC, Larry English of Northern Illinois, Robert Ayers of Tennessee and maybe even Florida State's Brown.
"I think from No. 11 to 32, the prospects are pretty closely graded," Scout.com draft analyst Chris Steuber said. "There's a lot of depth in this draft, especially with the hybrids, wide receivers and cornerbacks. The top OTs will be selected early, but a guy like Eben Britton could be there at No. 23. I think it's something the Packers should think about depending on how the board looks at No. 9."
With two third-rounders, Thompson could use one of them to trade back up to the middle of the first round.
The pool of players who might be on the board with those second-round picks include Boston College nose tackle Ron Brace, South Carolina offensive tackle Jamon Meredith, cornerback Sean Smith of Utah, USC defensive end Fili Moala, at least one of the top centers (Cal's Alex Mack, Louisville's Eric Wood and Oregon's Max Unger), at least one of the top safeties (Missouri's William Moore, Western Michigan's Louis Delmas and Oregon's Patrick Chung) and more 3-4 pass-rushers (Cincinnati's Connor Barwin, Richmond's Lawrence Sidbury and Utah's Paul Kruger).
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Bill also is giving Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook.