2014 NFL Draft: Could the Arizona Cardinals trade up in the first round for Clowney?

Scott Halleran

It's a crazy thought, but would it be worth it?

The Arizona Cardinals have the 20th pick in this year's NFL Draft, to be held May 8-10. Mock drafts have had the team selecting anywhere from quarterback to offensive line to safety. The overall belief is that they can acquire a quality, impact player at number 20. Some fans would even like the Cardinals to trade down a few picks, still picking up a player that can step in immediately and make an impact, but also stockpile picks in later rounds for more team depth.

One thing that hasn't been brought up much is the possibility of trading up.

Let's throw this hypothetical out there -- what would you say if the Cardinals were to think about trading up...way up? It wouldn't be to draft Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater...or even Derek Carr. What if they were considering trading up to number two with the St. Louis Rams to get Jadeveon Clowney?

Now, while hardly something credible, this actually isn't just something I came up with out of left field. It is actually something out there.

Based on recent talk, it seems that the Cardinals are leaning towards adding to an already very good defense to help it reach elite levels. Why not do that by adding the best defensive player on the board?

Now, while most projections see him as a 4-3 end, he does have the build to be a 3-4 edge rusher at 6-5, 266 pounds.

Imagine getting a John Abraham-type player (6-4, 263), but not in his final seasons? He could be that elite pass rusher that the Cardinals really have not had at all since Simeon Rice (although Bertrand Berry was very good in his seasons here). Can you imagine that sort of talent off the edge with the rest of the defense?

Now, you have to consider the cost. It would, at a minimum, cost the 20th and 52nd picks (the team's first and second round selections) in this year's draft, plus the team's 2015 first rounder.

Obviously, this would give the Cards even less picks. They only have six going into the draft, and this trade would make it only five.

Less picks makes it more important not to miss on any of them. They missed on two of their nine last year, as Ryan Swope retired after getting a concussion in mini-camp and D.C. Jefferson was cut during the season. Missing on two of five would really hurt the team in the years to come...unless Clowney turned out to be all that many believe he will be at the next level.

Of course, there is the issue of 2015 and not having a first round pick. Right now, it appears that it will be the team's designated quarterback year, as Carson Palmer might or might not play with the team beyond this season. No first round pick would make it really hard to draft an expected "franchise" player.

Would that trade up be worth it? Would adding Clowney to this team's defense be worth it? The defensive line is great, the edge would include run stuffers like Matt Shaughnessy, Sam Acho and Lorenzo Alexander, all while adding Clowney as a pass rushing threat with John Abraham.

Then you have Daryl Washington in the middle, backed up with a defensive secondary that includes Patrick Peterson, Antonio Cromartie and Tyrann Mathieu.

Are more draft picks better, or are better draft picks worth more?

It definitely is something to think about.

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