Our own J.T. Olson already discussed the thought of the Bucs trading back with the Jacksonville Jaguars during the NFL Draft.

What a would trade up -with a different team, of course- look like?

There’s one team in particular that could join the Bucs on the dance floor and that’s the Tennessee Titans, who currently sit at No. 22 in the 2021 NFL Draft

What would it take for Tennessee to slide back to No. 32 in a trade with the Bucs? How would it benefit both parties? Is it even possible?

Let’s dive in.

What’s the trade?

  • Tampa Bay receives pick No. 22. 
  • Tennessee receives picks No. 32, No. 95, and a 2022 third-round pick. 

Why does this make sense?

The Titans currently have nine draft picks. They also have a plethora of needs. If they were to make this move, it would give them 10 total draft picks in 2021, plus eight picks in 2022.

Thanks to largely extremely unsuccessful moves in 2020 free agency and the draft, they are behind the eight ball when it comes to certain positions on the roster. Cornerback, wide receiver, offensive tackle, tight end, and EDGE (despite the addition of Bud Dupree) are all big-time needs.

This scenario largely depends on who is available at corner, wide receiver, and offensive tackle. The other aforementioned positions can certainly use more bodies and playmakers, but these three are the most important. There’s a good chance that the players the Titans consider to be the best on their board aren’t there at 22. The good news for the Two-Toned Blue, however, is there will be plenty of viable candidates at those positions later on. Moving back to No. 32 shouldn’t put that thought process in jeopardy.

The salary cap has also been an issue for the Titans in 2021. It could be an issue for them in 2022, as well. Therefore, they need as many cheap bodies as possible to fill the current void -or replace expensive veterans- over the next few years. It’s obvious that the more picks the Titans have, the better off they are at preventing potential cap issues down the road. This trade would give them five picks in the first three rounds of this year’s draft, including three in the third round. That type of flexibility in the third could also help them move up in, let’s say, the second round, as well.

Something tells me that would be hard to pass up.

For the Bucs, it’s a chance to lock up one of their top EDGE prospects or anyone else that may be of interest to them. And while you can find really, really good value in the third round -e.g. Chris Godwin- don’t forget about last year’s trade for Tristan Wirfs. Tampa Bay gave up a fourth-rounder to move up one spot, but landed what looks to be a Pro Bowl/All-Pro player for the next 10 years. It would be worth the Bucs’ time and energy to move up for a shot at landing a player like that.

Plus, as it currently stands, there isn’t much room on Tampa Bay’s roster for competition. The Bucs have plenty of room for depth, but it’s hard to see the Bucs signing all eight draft picks in 2021. Losing a pick (or two) could offset the lack of roster spots.

How have other teams fared in this type of trade?

There are two examples that give us a really good idea of what it’s like to move from No. 32 to No. 22. I’ll also use Rich Hill’s updated draft value chart as well as Jimmy Johnson’s chart in order to gauge the following trades:

  • 2013: The Atlanta Falcons trade No. 30, No. 92, and No. 198 to the then-St. Louis Rams for the No. 22 overall pick in the first round.
  • 2019: The Green Bay Packers trade No. 30, No. 114, and No. 118 to the Seattle Seahawks for the No. 21 overall pick in the first round.

Now, these two examples aren’t carbon-copies of moving from No. 32 to No. 22, but they are certainly close enough. There isn’t much of a difference when using Rich Hill’s updated draft value chart and Jimmy Johnson’s chart to evaluate the trades, either. The moves average a 24-point difference when combining the two metrics, a 10-point difference when using Hill’s chart, and a 38-point difference when using Johnson’s.

This potential trade meets all of the aforementioned thresholds, with the Bucs paying a little more than what the Titans are giving away. That may seem unfair on the surface, but such is life when you want to move up in the NFL Draft.

According to the charts, the Bucs could get away with sending the Titans their 2021 fourth-round pick, but if I’m the Titans, I wouldn’t want all of my newly-acquired picks to be at the back of the round. A future third-round pick is a) better than a 2021 fourth-rounder and b) gives the Titans a chance at picking higher than the back of the third round in 2022. One would think those are much more enticing options.

And if I’m the Bucs, I’m assuming that I’m picking at the end of the third round in 2022, anyway, so it’s not that big of a loss at the end of the day.

Final Word

It’s obvious that all of this depends on how the draft boards shake out, but there is one factor that you don’t have to be inside a war room to identify: Jon Robinson and Jason Licht are not afraid to make moves during the draft.

Both teams are in peculiar positions. One (the Bucs) doesn’t have many roster spots in need of improvement, while the other one (the Titans) does. Combine that with two former co-workers -in separate conferences, mind you- who are willing to maneuver as they see fit and it’s easy to see why this could work out.