Insider notes on 2024 NFL Draft: Trade talk heating up for Broncos' #12 pick, Cowboys eye top center, and more 

NFL: NFL Annual League Meeting
Insider notes on 2024 NFL Draft: Trade talk heating up for Broncos' #12 pick, Cowboys eye top center, and more

While there’s been plenty of talk on trades at the top of the draft, there’s been little word on teams in the middle and late portion of Round 1 hoping to move down. Here’s an idea of who will look to maneuver in the first frame as well as where a pair of late first-round picks could land.

2024 NFL Draft: Brace yourselves for a number of trades Thursday night

Some people are expecting a lot of trades in the first round Thursday night. Forgetting the possibility of the Patriots, Cardinals and Chargers moving down, who else could be looking to deal in Round 1?

Several people believe the Seahawks will revert to old ways and move down from the 16th selection, hoping to acquire more picks. I’m told the Miami Dolphins could look to deal down if Graham Barton is unavailable to them at pick 21, which he’s unlikely to be. Miami would then target an interior offensive lineman or defensive tackle if they trade down.

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Which teams could trade up? Last week during an appearance on the Seahawks Draft Blog podcast with Rob Staton, I speculated that the Philadelphia Eagles could potentially trade up with Seattle, jumping ahead of Jacksonville for one of the higher-rated cornerbacks. And according to sources, the cornerback the Eagles desire is Quinyon Mitchell.

NFL: Combine
NFL: Combine

As of Tuesday afternoon, I’m told the Eagles are speaking with the Denver Broncos about trading for the 12th selection so they can draft the Toledo cornerback. The Broncos, in turn, would receive the Eagles' pick in the first round (22nd selection) which they would use to draft quarterback Bo Nix - a strategy I outlined on Monday. The Eagles have a pair of picks in round two and would part with one of them to move up to the Broncos' spot.

This assumes the Pittsburgh Steelers don’t beat out the Eagles for that pick. I’m told the Steelers and Broncos are talking trade as Pittsburgh is another team that is targeting Mitchell and would move up to draft him.

One of the more interesting rumors, and one with justification, has the Washington Commanders moving into the back end of Round 1, presumably from pick number 36, to select an offensive tackle, namely Jordan Morgan. This makes almost too much sense for it not to happen, as the Commanders have five additional picks in the top 100 selections after the second overall choice.

There is also a drop-off at the offensive tackle spot after the top eight players at the position. The argument will likely come down to trading into the back end of Round 1 to secure Morgan versus staying pat and selecting Patrick Paul of Houston with the 36th pick.

2024 NFL Draft: Where will Jackson Powers-Johnson land?

NCAA Football: Oregon at Arizona State
NCAA Football: Oregon at Arizona State

It seems Johnson's draft stock may be cooling a bit, though some contend that he did not deserve the mid-first round grades many, including yours truly, handed him several months ago. Right now, it looks like the former Oregon junior will come off the board anywhere from the bottom third of Round 1 to the 40th selection.

The Dallas Cowboys desperately need a center and the team has interest in Powers-Johnson. I’m told the two sides hit it off when JPJ was in Dallas for an official 30 visit. The Green Bay Packers have also done a lot of work on the offensive lineman.

Also, keep the Detroit Lions on the radar for JPJ. The Lions have an ageing interior offensive line, including Kevin Zeitler, who they signed to a one-year deal, and former first-round pick Frank Ragnow. Sources tell me this could be Ragnow’s final season, and he may retire once the Lions' campaign in 2024 is completed.

While many feel the Miami Dolphins will select Powers-Johnson with the 21st pick, I’m told there’s not been a whole lot of interest from the team. There was an erroneous report that the center was in Miami for an official-30 visit, but I’ve been told that is unequivocally false and he did not visit the Dolphins.

2024 NFL Draft: Missouri's Darius Robinson charms teams

Where will Darius Robinson of Missouri end up in the draft?

Sources tell me the bottom third of Round 1 and emphasize that it would be a shock if he’s not selected during the initial 32 picks. The Arizona Cardinals presently have two selections during the final 10 of the initial frame and could use one on Robinson. Though the Cardinals signed three defensive linemen in free agency, the contract for Bilal Nichols would not prevent them from drafting Robinson.

The San Francisco 49ers are also mentioned as a perfect fit for Robinson, and the team has some interest in the defensive lineman. Ditto the Tampa Bay Bucs, who could select him with the 26th pick as they feel he’s a perfect fit for their scheme.

Robinson has come across incredibly well during interviews, and teams view him as a prospect who will do whatever is necessary to improve his game. He displayed as much during a recent interview conducted by myself and Robert Gullo for Sportskeeda when Robinson told us that during every one of his official-30 visits he asks coaches, “What do I need to do to get better?” And it’s more than just a rehearsed line.

2024 NFL Draft: Teams already prepping for UDFA signings

Teams are already gearing up for post-draft activity, as they have been engaging players they hope to sign after the draft with phone calls or Zoom meetings. Of course, this assumes the players are not selected during the draft. This is nothing new, as teams have sent out form letters or made calls to players they would be interested in signing as priority free agents in the past.

What I do find interesting, and different, is teams have been grilling players about interest from other franchises. Teams have asked about official-30 visits, phone calls, meetings and other forms of communications players on the UDFA list have had with other teams.

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