Whenever we talk about trades in the first round of the NFL Draft, they almost ALWAYS center around a team , right? But deals in the opening round aren't exclusive to guys who line up under center, and we've seen plenty of clubs make moves up the draft board to take several non-quarterbacks over the years.
Just last year, we saw a handful of teams move up to take players at different positions. The Saints traded up for wideout Chris Olave, the Eagles jumped up to No. 13 to take defensive lineman Jordan Davis, and the Chiefs traded up to take corner Trent McDuffie.
With the 2023 NFL Draft approaching, we're going to stay in this arena and take a look at a few trade-up scenarios for teams that don't involve them landing a quarterback.
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Cowboys trade up for Bijan Robinson
Jerry Jones is no stranger to making flashy moves, and a trade-up for Texas running back Bijan Robinson would certainly qualify. Regardless of position, he is one of the most talented prospects in this year's draft and is expected to be a legitimate game-wrecker once he gets into the NFL.
For Dallas, moving up from No. 26 overall and into the late teens or early 20s to get Robinson in the fold (if he even makes it that far) also fills a need. The club released long-time running back Ezekiel Elliott earlier this offseason and placed the franchise tag on Tony Pollard, who is recovering from a leg injury he suffered in the postseason. So, the Cowboys don't have much long-term stability at the position, and Robinson would immediately form a strong combination with Pollard for 2023.
Steelers trade up for Jalen Carter
There's already some smoke surroundingand the possibility of the team trading up for him, so this scenario does have some legs. The Georgia defensive lineman is arguably the most talented defensive player in this class, but his stock has taken a hit due to . Still, his camp seems to think that he'll come off the board early, as it has declined all visit requests from teams outside of the top 10. If that holds true, Pittsburgh would need to make a rather big trade to get within Carter's expected range.
Currently, the Steelers are set to pick at No. 17 overall. If they were to call up their in-state brethren in the Eagles and jump up to No. 10, that might put them in range to land an impact player like Carter along their defensive line.
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Patriots trade up for Paris Johnson Jr.
Bill Belichick rarely trades up in the first round of the NFL Draft. More often than not, he's making a trade to go in the other direction while collecting an array of assets. However, the Patriots have a tremendous need along the offensive line, specifically at tackle. Isaiah Wynn is still a free agent, and both Trent Brown and Riley Reiff are signed through just this season.
With all that in mind, they may have to move up a bit from No. 14 overall if they want to have their pick of this year's crop. Ohio State's Paris Johnson Jr. is arguably the top tackle, and they'd likely need to jump up a few spots to get in his range, while also leapfrogging other tackle-needy teams like the Jets (No. 13) and Titans (No. 11). So, Belichick could call up Eagles GM Howie Roseman and see what it'd take to swing up to No. 10 and secure Mac Jones a starting tackle for the foreseeable future.
Chargers trade up for Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Kennan Allen will be 31 by the start of next season and was limited to just 10 games in 2022, so it may be wise for Los Angeles to get out in front of that position by bringing in another highly talented pass-catcher for Justin Herbert. Smith-Njigba would be an ideal heir apparent to Allen as a speedy weapon out of the slot and a solid complement to Mike Williams on the outside.
The Chargers are currently slated to pick at No. 21 overall, and there is a possibility -- depending on what mock drafts you read -- that Smith-Njigba will be there when they are on the clock. However, others show him coming off the board just outside the top 10. Here, we'll have the Chargers moving up into that relative position by trading up to No. 12 with the Texans, who gain several assets in return after taking a QB No. 2 overall.