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The Way We Hear It — NFL draft

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    The Way We Hear It — NFL draft

    Trade activity heats up


    By Nolan Nawrocki
    April 27, 2006



    As we enter the final 48 hours before the draft, teams are putting the final touches on their draft boards and working the phones more aggressively for trade partners. Based upon what we know, here is some of the activity that is occurring.

    One player personnel director predicted last night that there would not be more than one trade made in the top 10, and from our estimation, he’s right on target, but that does not mean there are not serious suitors looking to move and a possibility that a number of deals could evolve.

    Following is a breakdown of trade interest affecting the first round:

    The Saints are still interested in moving down a few picks and securing A.J. Hawk but have been unsuccessful in attempts to strike a deal and likely will have to remain at the No. 2 spot and make a pick.

    The Packers and 49ers are also very open to moving down a spot or two but may not be able to generate the interest from teams falling directly behind them in the draft order.

    The Jets are seriously exploring their options and have a lot of flexibility with nine picks in their shopping cart.

    The Bills are exploring a move down.

    Arizona would entertain offers and could be in a prime position if two quarterbacks are available at No. 10 — a very realistic possibility that could likely trigger the first trade.

    Baltimore and Philadelphia could consider options to move up, with Oregon’s Haloti Ngata being very intriguing, but both are more likely to slide back, perhaps more than once.

    Minnesota and San Diego are prime suitors to move up.

    In the back end of the first round, there could be a lot of teams fleeing, including the Bengals, Bears, Panthers, Colts and Seahawks. There’s a good chance several of them will not have a first-round selection, but the moves are likely to be Draft Day decisions, with the availability of select players being key to any movement.

    Trades could alter Draft Day decisions

    Trade talk is accelerating as teams prepare to set their rosters prior to their draft and enter Saturday knowing exactly what they need. Very key to the first round is the status of Green Bay WR Javon Walker, who team sources say has turned down offers for a contract extension and is so disgruntled with the situation that he is demanding to be traded.

    The Packers are standing firm on their requirement that first-round compensation be given in exchange for Walker and do not plan to deal him if they do not receive their desired request. Not willing to cave, Philadelphia and San Francisco have removed themselves from the equation because they are not willing to part with a first-round pick, considering Walker is coming off a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament injury.

    The leading candidates to land Walker are Denver and New Orleans. Walker is a better alternative than any receiver in this draft. The question is whether he will be ready for training camp. With him being unlikely to be at full health for the start of camp, teams are being more stubborn about giving up a first-round selection. But if a player is included in the deal to sweeten the pot, the Packers’ demands for a high selection could be appeased.

    Mike Shanahan likes to build his roster with established veterans, much like Al Davis, and is believed to be the front-runner to get a deal done. The Broncos have already offered WR Ashley Lelie in a one-for-one trade, and the Packers turned it down weeks ago. The way we see it, Denver’s return to the bargain table is a reflection of very serious interest, and it is likely to give up more to get a proven veteran.

    Others who have shown interest in Walker are New England, Miami and Kansas City.

    If Walker is moved, the Packers’ selection at No. 5 could begin leaning toward Vernon Davis. If they do not trade Walker prior to the draft, Ohio State LB A.J. Hawk would get the nod.

    Other players who have been mentioned in recent trade talks include Raiders WR Jerry Porter, Chargers LB Donnie Edwards, Eagles C Hank Fraley and Bears DE Michael Haynes.

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