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Top 10 traded NFL players to watch in training camp in 2021

New Orleans Saints vs Carolina Panthers
New Orleans Saints vs Carolina Panthers
ANALYST

Nearly two dozen NFL players were traded this off-season, and several have been finalized as we enter training camp.

Some big names like Julio Jones, Orlando Brown Jr, Jared Goff and Matthew Stafford were shipped off to new cities. Just because a player is traded doesn't guarantee a starting position or even a roster spot, though.

Here are the top ten players that were traded ahead of NFL training camp who deserve some attention, whether it is for a position battle or how they adapt to a new team.

#1 - WR Julio Jones

Trade - Falcons trades Julio Jones and 2023 sixth-round pick to Titans for 2022 second-round and 2023 fourth round.

It wasn't much of a surprise when Julio Jones was traded. The Tennessee Titans got a major upgrade at WR even though they weren't huge favorites to get him.

Jones is already making an impression with his new team, helping coach up younger receivers like AJ Brown at training camp. Everyone feels Julio Jones could make an immediate impact on the Titans, but there is still the lingering question of how his hamstring would hold up in the training camp and beyond.

There haven't been any complications yet, but there haven't been any live practices or games yet with training camps fast approaching. Watch out for his overall health and how he performs in the upcoming training camp for his team.


#2 QB Teddy Bridgewater

Trade - Panthers traded Teddy Bridgewater to Broncos for a 2021 sixth-round pick.

Teddy Bridgewater joined Carolina after sitting behind Drew Brees in New Orleans. Despite having the best year of his career, the Panthers traded for Sam Darnold, and they weren't going to have a backup QB making $21 million a year.

The Denver Broncos took on Bridgewater and re-signed him on a one-year, $11.5 million contract. Denver wanted Bridgewater to either push Drew Lock or to outright win the starting role.

Instead, there is a heated QB training camp battle between the two, and it seems to be anyone's to win. Watch the Denver QB battle and see if Teddy Bridgewater's experience gives him the edge in training camp.


#3 QB Sam Darnold

Trade - Jets traded Sam Darnold and a 2021 sixth-round pick to the Panthers for a second and fourth-round pick in 2022.

The New York Jets held the second overall pick in the draft, and Sam Darnold clearly had no future left in New York. He went to Carolina and kicked out Teddy Bridgewater.

The Panthers already love what they see from Darnold in training camp and feel their roster could help turn the young QB's career around. There's an actual backfield with true talent and a decent group of receivers. Watch out for Sam Darnold to build connections with his playmakers and protectors during training camp, and watch his on-field confidence come pre-season.


#4 QB Matthew Stafford

Trade - Lions traded Matthew Stafford to Rams for 2022 and 2023 first-round picks, 2021 third-round pick and Jared Goff.

It's rare to see a trade that involves a swap of players these days. Everyone in the NFL, whether a Lions fan or not, was happy to see Matthew Stafford get out of Detroit, where his career was stalling.

The Rams became an instant favorite to make the playoffs after the trade, and Stafford is a contender for the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award. Watch out for how Matthew Stafford handles big-market media and what the offense looks like with a fresh QB during training camp.


#5 OG Gabe Jackson

Trade - Raiders traded Gabe Jackson to Seahawks for a 2021 fifth-round pick.

San Francisco 49ers vs Oakland Raiders
San Francisco 49ers vs Oakland Raiders

We all know how unhappy QB Russell Wilson was last year with his offensive line's poor pass blocking.

Jackson was rated the 16th-best guard by the PFF last season and will come in to help open up the run game further and keep Wilson on his feet. Watch out for improvements on the OL with Jackson and if he can teach the other linemen some tricks in training camp.


#6 - TE Josh Oliver

Trade - Jaguars traded Josh Oliver to Ravens for a conditional 2022 seventh-round pick.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Indianapolis Colts

Surprisingly, Josh Oliver is becoming one of the hottest names on this list. Oliver hasn't played much in the last two seasons due to injury but is possibly going to bump some players off the roster.

His coaches are raving about his untapped potential as a pass-catcher, and he could even usurp Nick Boyle as TE2 during training camp. Watch out for Oliver's continuing growth in Baltimore in training camp and how he is used in their multi-TE sets.


#7 - OT Trent Brown

Trade - Raiders traded Trent Brown and 2022 seventh-round pick to Patriots for 2022 fifth-round pick.

Trent Brown returns to the New England Patriots after being with the team in 2018. He was part of a soft rebuild that helped the team win Super Bowl LIII.

Brown was the highest-paid OL back in 2019, with a four-year, $66 million deal. His performance dipped after he went to the Raiders and got a new deal as he also dealt with lingering health issues. Watch out for Trent Brown to act like he never left in training camp and help turn around the Patriots once more.


#8 - QB Carson Wentz

Trade - Eagles traded Carson Wentz to Colts for a 2021 third-round pick and 2022 conditional second-round pick.

The Colts have been running with veteran QB rentals rather than taking a young rookie in the draft.

Carson Wentz was benched last year by the Eagles due to his turnovers and poor pocket vision. Phillip Rivers had a nice final run with the Colts, but Carson Wentz is just 28.

Don't assume Wentz will be a long-term solution in Indianapolis or be able to fix his turnover issues in just a year. He could have a rough training camp this year. Watch out for how he commands himself in the pocket in training camp and if a change of scenery turns out to be good for him or not.


#9 - C Rodney Hudson

Trade - Raiders traded Rodney Hudson and a 2021 seventh-round pick to the Cardinals for a 2021 third-round pick.

In 2019, Hudson became the highest-paid center in the NFL. He ended 2020 as the seventh-highest graded center on PFF and goes into this year as the best center in the league.

Kyler Murray was only sacked 27 times last year but is still a mobile QB, and his OL needs to help protect him so he can get a pass to their amazing playmakers. Watch out for Hudson, as he could be a huge improvement from Mason Cole last year and help the OL have a strong training camp.


#10 - DE Michael Brockers

Trade - Rams traded Michael Brockers to Lions for the 2023 seventh-round pick.

Michael Brockers made a name for himself with the Rams but could have been a much bigger star had he fit in the scheme better. He's already 30 but looked like a raw talent last year.

There is plenty of room for improvement this year, but can he develop that much at his current age? Watch out for how Brockers could improve his block-shedding and pass-rush finesse moves during the training camp.

Edited by Bhargav
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