The 2023 NFL Draft is upon us, which not only means new players coming into the league. It also means getting ready for NFL draft trades. Last April, we saw A.J. Brown, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, and Troy Hill moved on draft weekend. This year, with what’s widely regarded as a weak draft class, teams may prioritize proven veterans over picks leading to more NFL draft trades. With that in mind, here are five last-minute NFL Draft trade predictions including new teams for DeAndre Hopkins, Dalvin Cook, and Derrick Henry.
DeAndre Hopkins to Ravens
A DeAndre Hopkins trade seems inevitable this offseason, and if the Arizona Cardinals are smart (which is questionable), they will make a move on day one or two of the 2023 NFL Draft.
After a drama-filled offseason, it seems like the Baltimore Ravens will get a long-term deal done with Lamar Jackson, which means they are back in the business of trying to build a Super Bowl contender around their franchise QB.
The Ravens have already signed Odell Beckham Jr., and their recent track record of drafting wideouts is below average (to be generous). Trading a second and a third-round pick for DeAndre Hopkins makes a ton of sense and will finally give Jackson a WR corps that defenses fear.
Dalvin Cook to the Bills
The Buffalo Bills need a three-down running back and, sadly for Western New Yorkers, Texas superstar Bijan Robinson will not make it to No. 27 in the first round of the NFL Draft. That means the team will have to pick another back in a later round with serious deficiencies, or they can use a second-round pick to get an established back in Dalvin Cook.
The Minnesota Vikings are ready to hand the reigns over to Alexander Mattison and (likely) a rookie back, which will save $8 million in much-needed salary cap space in the process. Plus, picking up an extra second-round selection is an added bonus.
This is a win-win trade that allows both teams to get better in 2023. And it has the additional fun nugget that the trade would unite Dalvin Cook with his younger brother, James Cook, in the Bills backfield.
Ryan Tannehill to the Packers
After the Aaron Rodgers trade, the Green Bay Packers are flush with draft picks and ready to start the Jordan Love Era in 2023.
Right now, though, 2018 seventh-round pick Danny Etling, who has never thrown an NFL pass is the only other QB on the Packers roster. The team can use a veteran to help tutor Love in the quarterback room and potentially step in and win games if the QB misses any time next season.
With all the best options in this capacity already off the free-agent market, the Packers should be able to send a third-round pick to the Tennessee Titans for Ryan Tannehill. The Titans have Malik Willis and could draft Hendon Hooker or even CJ Stroud if he falls in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
This leaves Tannehill as surplus to requirements, and moving him would save almost $20 million against the cap this season. The move makes sense for the Packers, and the Titans can use the pick to get more young players in the door or even use it to trade up if they think they can get Anthony Richardson or Will Levis.
Derrick Henry to the Cowboys
Once again, Bijan Robinson figures into this trade. The closer the draft gets, the more likely it seems that the Atlanta Falcons are looking at the Longhorns star at No. 8 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. That leaves the Cowboys without a high-end Ezekiel Elliott replacement.
Tony Pollard will be the No. 1 back this season in Dallas, but the team still needs a thunder to Pollard’s lightning. And there’s no bigger thunderclap in the NFL than Derrick Henry.
Mike McCarthy wants to run the ball early and often, even in a modern NFL that’s much more pass-happy. Sending a third-round pick to Tennessee should get a Derrick Henry trade on draft day done.
Austin Ekeler to the Eagles
One more running back trade, one more note that Bijan Robinson isn’t going to make it even to No. 10 and the Philadelphia Eagles. That doesn’t mean the Eagles won’t make a move to replace Miles Sanders.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler is a jack-of-all-trades like Sanders is, but he is a little more explosive and powerful than last year’s Pro Bowl back. Sending a third and a fourth to the Chargers for Ekeler should make it happen, and the Chargers can turn around and take a replacement back with that pick.