Taking a look at the final draft order, there are a host of pressure points for potential activity on draft day. Here are four spots where the landscape of this year's draft could change:
Pick No. 2: St. Louis Rams
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The Rams have openly proclaimed the second pick available to willing suitors, and the presence of Robert Griffin III will make it an enticing spot for several quarterback-needy teams around the league. The Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins are in desperate need of a franchise quarterback, making it highly likely one of those teams will make a strong play for the pick in the weeks leading up to the draft.
With each of those three teams residing within the top 10, the Rams hold tremendous leverage in a trade market and their ability to drive up the price will certainly affect the rest of the draft, particularly the first round. Of the contenders, the Browns have the most ammunition to make the trade with two selections (Nos. 4 and 22) in the first round. Given the plethora of holes on the Rams' roster, the extra picks in the first stanza could help Jeff Fisher orchestrate a quick turnaround in St. Louis.
If the Rams opt to keep the pick, the decision between Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon and USC LT Matt Kalil could reshape the remainder of the draft. For instance, an early selection of Blackmon would push RGIII down the board, leading to a potential avalanche of activity within the top five selections. In addition, an unexpected selection by the Rams would reshuffle the order of draft prospects on the big board and change the possibilities available for teams selecting immediately after St. Louis.
No. 5: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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The Buccaneers are in a prime position to address a need at cornerback or running back with the fifth pick, but the trade market could become enticing with QB-needy teams looking to move up to select the third-rated quarterback in front of the Redskins. There are certainly questions regarding the worthiness of Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill and his counterparts vying for third-QB status, but the desperation of teams to fill a void in that all-important position could lead to a premature selection following a trade.
Miami, in particular, is a viable candidate to make a move due to the connection between new offensive coordinator Mike Sherman and Tannehill (who spent time together at Texas A&M). The combination of experience and chemistry would certainly hasten Tannehill's transition to the pro game, allowing the Dolphins to hit the ground running in a new offensive system.
The Seattle Seahawks could also be in play as a trade partner, if a third quarterback emerges as a hot commodity in the weeks leading up to the draft. The thought of missing out at that position can overwhelm a decision maker, and result in a surprising trade that alters the draft-day landscape.
No. 8: Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins could go hard after the third-rated quarterback in the draft, but the trade value could become cost prohibitive and force Miami to follow an alternative plan.
If the Fins eschew the trade possibility and focus on addressing their needs at defensive end (pass rusher) or offensive tackle, a run on either position could reshape the draft. Defensive ends, in particular, tend to fly off the board if a few of the elite prospects are selected early, and the Dolphins could set off the run by nabbing South Carolina's Melvin Ingram, North Carolina's Quinton Coples or Alabama's Courtney Upshaw at No. 8.
Last year, the San Francisco 49ers' selection of Aldon Smith at No. 7 set off a trend that saw eight pass rushers came off the board in the first round, including six defensive end/hybrid linebackers in a 13-pick window. In 2010, the Philadelphia Eagles' pick of DE Brandon Graham at No. 13 was part of a run that saw three pass rushers (Graham, Jason Pierre-Paul and Derrick Morgan) come off the board in a four-pick span. Given the premium placed on pass rushers in this year's draft, the selection of one early could turn the draft on its head.
The Dolphins could also set the table for a run on offensive tackles by picking Iowa's Riley Reiff as a potential replacement for Marc Colombo. The former Hawkeye is widely regarded as the second-best prospect at the position, and his early selection will lead teams in need of offensive tackles to jump up the board to have a chance at Stanford's Jonathan Martin or Ohio State's Mike Adams near the middle of the first round. While scouts are mixed on whether either prospect is worthy of carrying such a lofty grade, the shallow pool of franchise-caliber offensive tackles drives up the demand in a market driven by the passing game.
No. 11: Kansas City Chiefs
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The Chiefs are sitting pretty with a spot right outside the top 10. Kansas City has the opportunity to fortify its offensive line with an elite blocker, scoop up a potential difference maker who surprisingly remains on the board following the first 10 picks or trade the pick to an interested suitor for additional picks later in the draft.
If they do opt for offensive line help, the Chiefs will likely need to determine the better value between an elite interior blocker (Stanford's David DeCastro) and a pair of intriguing offensive tackles (Martin and Adams). While conventional wisdom suggests taking a potential franchise tackle over the guard, DeCastro is a special player capable of emerging as a perennial Pro Bowler at the position.
If the Chiefs sit tight and cast their eyes on top 10-caliber talent that falls into their lap, they should take comfort in knowing J.J. Watt, Patrick Willis, DeMarcus Ware, Jay Cutler and Ben Roethlisberger were all nabbed at the No. 11 spot. With a handful of talented players poised to slide due to a whirlwind of anticipated trade activity, the Chiefs could land a true gem with this selection.
If GM Scott Pioli believes he can pick up a coveted prospect later in the round, dealing this draft slot could provide him with a few extra picks to retool his roster. Given the fact that he will likely lose a few key veterans in free agency, the additional selections could keep the Chiefs in AFC West contention in the midst of transition.