5 NFL Draft trades we’d love to see in 2023

NFL Draft trades have had a huge impact around the league over the past several years. Let’s look at last year as a case study. The Philadelphia Eagles would not have earned a trip to the Super Bowl without pulling off a blockbuster trade for star wide receiver A.J. Brown during the 2022 NFL Draft.

This has been a common theme for contending teams. That is to say, adding proven veterans to the mix during the draft rather than relying on rookies.

As the 2023 event quickly approaches, there’s been numerous rumors linking the Chicago Bears to a trade down from the No. 1 spot. Quarterback-needy teams are already calling general manager Ryan Poles and Co. That’s another backdrop here.

In continuing with this theme, let’s check in on five NFL Draft trades we’d love to see during the 2023 event in Kansas City.

Related: Ranking the top-10 running backs in the 2023 NFL Draft

Cincinnati Bengals send Tee Higgins to the New York Giants

nfl draft trades: tee higgins trade to the new york giants
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  • Giants get: Tee Higgins
  • Bengals get: 25th pick, 3rd-round pick

Bengals owner Mike Brown has been notoriously cheap when it comes to offering up contract extensions to core players. He also follows a contract structure that doesn’t necessarily fit in with the modern game.

Cincinnati has to worry about extending the star duo of quarterback Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase in the coming years. Both are going to demand top-of-the-market contracts. That makes Higgins expendable at this point in the receiver’s career.

  • Tee Higgins stats (2020-22): 215 receptions, 3,028 yards, 19 TD, 65.7% catch rate

As you can see, Higgins has looked like a true No. 1 receiver throughout his young career. Set to hit free agency after the 2023 season, he’s going to want to be paid like it. Cincinnati can’t afford it.

The same thing can’t be said for an up-and-coming Giants team that earned a surprise playoff appearance a season ago. Assuming New York retains young quarterback Daniel Jones, getting him more weapons at wide receiver must be in the cards. Using a late first-round pick and a Day 2 selection to acquire the young Higgins would be a boon.

Related: Quarterback trades we’d love to see this offseason

New York Jets deal Zach Wilson during NFL Draft

nfl draft trades, zach wilson trade washington commanders
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The Jets’ brass would like us to believe that Wilson has a future with the team despite benching the immature young quarterback multiple times during his sophomore season. With Wilson’s early-career performance akin to one of the biggest NFL Draft busts in history, JaMarcus Russell, there’s no reason to believe New York will hold on to him. Just look at how poorly the former No. 2 pick has performed through two seasons.

If you’re being compared to Russell, there’s very little belief that somehow a turnaround is going to be in the cards. In this scenario, New York rids itself of Wilson in exchange for a second-round draft pick. Selecting 47th overall, the Washington Commanders take a chance that a change of scenery will do Mr. Wilson some good.

Related: Updated NFL Draft rumors

Indianapolis Colts move up to No. 1 pick for Bryce Young

nfl draft trades: indianapolis colts trade for bryce young
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  • Colts get: 1st pick
  • Bears get: 4th pick, 2nd-round pick, 3rd-round pick, 2024 1st-round pick

There has been widespread speculation that the Chicago Bears will move down from the No. 1 pick in the draft. Some reports indicate that Chicago is not sold on Justin Fields as its quarterback of the future. We’re just not seeing that after how he performed with a limited supporting cast as a sophomore last season. In short, Chicago simply needs to find Fields more skill-position players.

This would help general manager Ryan Poles and Co. in that regard. The aforementioned hypothetical trade nets Chicago a future first-round pick as well as two earlier-round selections in 2023 to move down just three spots. Heck, the team could even more down a few more spots while adding more draft capital.

As for Indianapolis, it’s pretty darn clear that going the stopgap route at quarterback has not been fruitful. Embattled general manager Chris Ballard needs to get that future franchise guy, even if it costs multiple draft picks. In this scenario, Indianapolis picks up former Alabama standout Bryce Young as a Day 1 option. It’s one of the NFL Draft trades that makes the most sense this spring.

Related: Sportsnaut’s 2023 NFL mock draft

Las Vegas Raiders land their franchise quarterback

nfl draft trades: las vegas raiders trade for c.j. stroud
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  • Raiders get: 2nd pick
  • Texans get: 7th pick, 2nd-round pick, 3rd-round pick, 2024 1st-round pick and 2nd-round pick

Sitting pretty with the second pick, Houston could very well stand pat and select a quarterback. In this scenario, it would likely be Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud. Even then, there is something to be said about listening to offers for the pick. Under new head coach DeMeco Ryans, the Texans are not a quarterback away from competing. Why not find a stopgap option while building up talent at other positions on the roster?

This hypothetical trade would enable Houston to acquire four valuable picks while only moving down to the seventh selection. Heck, the team might have a choice between Will Levis and Anthony Richardson at seven.

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As for Josh McDaniels and the Raiders, it seems that they’re not looking to make a big splash to replace Derek Carr with a veteran upgrade. Vegas’ brass has made that clear by indicating that its situation at quarterback might not be fully settled in 2023.

Hence, this blockbuster. Instead of going the veteran route, Las Vegas finds a high-upside potential franchise guy to shine in Sin City. It would come in the form of Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud in the 2023 NFL Draft. This deal could also come together pretty quickly given the relationship Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler has with Texans front office head Nick Caserio dating back to their days together in New England.

Related: Updated 2023 NFL Draft order

New England Patriots pull off blockbuster Deebo Samuel trade

nfl draft trades: deebo samuel trade to the new england patriots
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
  • Patriots get: Deebo Samuel
  • 49ers get: 14th pick, Michael Onwenu

San Francisco has some tough financial decisions to make after a second consecutive loss in the NFC Championship Game. After eclipsing 1,000 yards for the first time in his career, the decision on wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk’s fifth-year option is looming. The 49ers will also soon make Nick Bosa the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history.

As of right now, San Francisco boasts seven players who are currently among the highest-paid players at their respective positions in the NFL. It’s not reasonable to believe that Aiyuk and Bosa will join that group without one or two being sent elsewhere. Void of picks in the first two rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft, it makes sense to acquire a Day 1 selection for Samuel. Add in a studly guard in that of Onwenu, and this would be a great deal for San Francisco.

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We can talk about Mac Jones until we’re blue in the face. But one thing has become clear. New England lacks the wide receiver talent to help any quarterback under center. Despite an injury-plagued 2022 campaign, Samuel is one of the top offensive weapons in the game. He can line at all wide receiver spots and in the backfield. He can take it to the house on any given play.

In reality, the Pats have not had a weapon like this since Randy Moss was in his prime. Yielding a mid-first-round pick and an interior offensive lineman to add Samuel would be a boon. Expect this to be one of the many potential NFL Draft trades that could actually go down.

This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.

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