Unbelievably, I still like my original off-the-cuff list, for the most part.
As I've really started following this more than I ever typically have, my sense is that, as it is currently organized, the first ten picks of the NFL Draft are going to cost a team so much money relative to the other single-player contracts that that teams will always be on the quest to get "maximum value" if they land one of these picks.
But this year Front Office's who are picking Top Ten are also thinking about the certainty that the Owner's are going to be able to squeeze the the Players into accepting some kind of substantive Rookie Salary Cap making this year the last (or, at best, the penultimate) of an era.
Who wants to be the bozo who signs Bosworth the Bust for 41 million guaranteed this year when next year no Owner will pay peanuts for these picks, be they 3rd, 9th, or 34th or 134th taken.
Add to this that there seems to be some strong misfits between those players often cited as "Best Available" and many teams who are set to pick Top Ten this year...
So, I'm going out on a limb and suggest that while teams often look to trade down out of these high level picks, this year an huge number will want to do so, hoping to trade back to a mid-to late First Round for their first pick where the contract eventually signed will prove more palatable to Owners. Let's face it: one of the very few things that NFL owners have to motivate them to improve the state of their Golden Geese is appearing foolish in the eyes of the other Owners.
But trading takes two, so would anyone do so? My guess is that the answer is likely no...
Except... What happens if 3 or 4 teams in the first, say, 9 picks want to trade down but can't find any takers in the later part of the Round? Then they might be will to accept a lot less for their pick than the going-market value and this might encourage more strategic swaps with teams with late Top Ten and early teens picks who are already set to pay hefty rookie contracts themselves.
E.g., You know your franchise quarterback is not on the roster if you are the 49ers and you have TWO picks between 10-20 overall. Package them off and get yourself into the top five and steal him from the Seahawks (or maybe even from the Redskins).
1. St Louis Rams - Sam Bradford (QB)
2. Detroit Lions - Ndamukong Suh (DT)
3. Tampa Bay Bucs - Gerald McCoy (DT)
4. Washington Redskins - Anthony Davis (OT)
5. Kansas City Chiefs - Russell Okung (OT)*
6. Seattle Seahawks -Jimmy Clausen (QB)
7. Cleveland Browns - Eric Berry (FS)
8. Oakland Raiders - Trent Williams (OT)
9. Buffalo Bills - Bryan Bulaga (OT)*
*Obviously it won't happen, but if the asking price for #5 overall seriously drops, why not jump up here if you are the Bills and grab Clausen from Seattle (assuming, of course, they like him)? Seattle would probably grab CJ Spiller (RB) if they lost Clausen likely leaving one of the top three highly-praised OT's this year available for KC to grab at 9. Win-win? Or, as Michael Scott would say, win-win-win.