• Will C.J. Stroud's perceived draft slide lead to a trade-up? Stroud's upside is too good to ignore, so a potential slip down the order could cause an early trade.
• A lack of impact interior defenders could induce a trade-up: After Jalen Carter, the 2023 class significantly drops off, meaning Pittsburgh's Calijah Kancey may become a hot commodity.
Estimated Reading Time: 5 mins
Generally speaking, trading up in the NFL draft is not a good process. The data suggests it’s very difficult to end up with a positive return relative to staying at one's original pick and protecting multiple selections. Putting all your eggs in one basket is a cautionary idiom for a reason, but there are occasions when it makes a degree of sense.
Part of drafting well is understanding supply and demand and being able to react to a glut or dearth of talent at a specific position.
With that in mind, here are some 2023 NFL Draft prospects who are worth trading up for — not necessarily because they are supreme talents, but because of the dynamics at play within that position group.
QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
Over the past week, Stroud's perceived draft stock has taken a beating. He has gone from the favorite to be selected No. 1 overall to the player who may be most likely to slip out of the top four prospects. A reported S2 Cognition test score in the 18th percentile only adds to concerns about his play under pressure (10th percentile in 2022) that could see him tumble.
At some point, however, Stroud’s upside is too good to ignore and a team without an answer at quarterback should be looking at how far they need to jump to capitalize on any kind of slip. Stroud finished his Ohio State career with a 6.4% big-time throw rate and was one of the most accurate deep passers PFF has seen in college football.
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