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First-round picks could be on the trading block on Day 1 of the NFL draft

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First-round picks could be on the trading block on Day 1 of the NFL draft
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First-round picks could be on the trading block on Day 1 of the NFL draft

2024-04-25 05:23 Last Updated At:05:31

The No. 1 pick in the NFL draft already has traded hands, with Carolina sending it more than a year ago to Chicago in a trade to move up to take Bryce Young first overall in 2023.

Based on recent history, plenty more first-round picks should change hands on Thursday night with teams either looking to move up a spot or two for a specific player or to make a bigger investment with future picks to trade up for a franchise quarterback.

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FILE - LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) runs for a touchdown against Florida during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023. Daniels is a possible first round pick in the NFL Draft.(AP Photo/Derick Hingle, File)

The No. 1 pick in the NFL draft already has traded hands, with Carolina sending it more than a year ago to Chicago in a trade to move up to take Bryce Young first overall in 2023.

FILE - Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) throws a pass during an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers have surrounded Young with highly paid offensive linemen and some new offensive weapons including Diontae Johnson after a season in which they went 2-15. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman, File)

FILE - Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) throws a pass during an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers have surrounded Young with highly paid offensive linemen and some new offensive weapons including Diontae Johnson after a season in which they went 2-15. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman, File)

1st round picks could be on the trading block on day 1 of the NFL draft

1st round picks could be on the trading block on day 1 of the NFL draft

1st round picks could be on the trading block on day 1 of the NFL draft

1st round picks could be on the trading block on day 1 of the NFL draft

FILE - Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams throws a pass during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against UCLA, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Los Angeles. Williams is expected to be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun, File)

FILE - Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams throws a pass during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against UCLA, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Los Angeles. Williams is expected to be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun, File)

Over the past five drafts, there have been 28 trades during the first day of the draft that included first-round picks, with five of those deals involving picks in the top 10.

Three of those five draft-day trades involving top 10 picks came last season, with Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort making two of them. The Cardinals traded down from No. 3 to No. 12 to let Houston take eventual Defensive Rookie of the Year Will Anderson Jr.

Arizona then moved back up to No. 6 to take tackle Paris Johnson.

There were six trades during last year’s opening night of the draft involving first-round picks, with Jacksonville also making two. The Jaguars moved down from No. 24 to No. 27 in a pair of deals that netted them picks in the fourth, fifth and seventh rounds.

The busiest draft day in terms of trades in recent memory came in 2022 when there were nine trades on opening night involving first-round picks.

While trading first-round picks during the draft is common, giving up a first-round pick before the season that turned out to be the No. 1 overall pick is quite rare.

The last time it happened before Carolina’s trade with Chicago was in 1983 when Cincinnati dealt quarterback Jack Thompson to Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers went 2-14 in 1983 and had to send the top pick in the 1984 draft to Cincinnati. The Bengals then traded that pick to New England. The Patriots drafted Irving Fryar No. 1.

The same thing happened five years earlier when San Francisco traded the pick that turned out to be No. 1 overall to Buffalo for O.J. Simpson.

The Bills used the pick on Tom Cousineau, who went to Canada instead of signing with Buffalo and then later was traded to Cleveland when he came back to the NFL.

In a draft that is shaping up as a potential record breaker for offensive players in the first round, running backs might have a long wait to start going off the board.

No running backs are projected to go in the first round on Thursday night as teams are shying away from investing big resources in a position that has a short shelf life and often has many viable options later in the draft.

This could be the third time in the common draft era that started in 1967 that no running back is picked in the first round, with it also happening in 2022 and 2014. The high for running backs came in 1971 when eight of the 26 first-round picks were used for the position. There were five first-round backs taken in 2008, which is equal to the total from the previous four first rounds combined.

The latest for the first running back to be selected is No. 54 when Tennessee took Bishop Sankey in 2014. Bryce Hall went 36th to the New York Jets in 2022 in the only other draft without a first-round back.

This could be the fourth draft ever with quarterbacks going with the top three picks after it previously happened in 1971, 1999 and 2021 and possibly the first with four QBs going in the top nine picks. The 2018 draft had four quarterbacks taken in the top 10 in Baker Mayfield (first), Sam Darnold (third), Josh Allen (seventh) and Josh Rosen (10th).

The record of 19 offensive players taken in the first round could fall this year, with BetMGM Sportsbook projecting an over-under of 21 1/2 offensive players. There were 19 taken in 2009, 2004 and 1968.

The latest pick for the first defensive player in the common draft era came in 2021 when Carolina took cornerback Jaycee Horn eighth overall.

BetMGM also has set the over-under on first-round receivers at 6 1/2 with the record of seven happening in 2004. This could be the record fifth straight draft with at least four receivers going in the first round.

The most offensive linemen taken in the first round was 10 in 1968, with the over-under this year set at 9 1/2.

The last two Heisman Trophy winners should hear their names quickly on draft night, with 2022 winner Caleb Williams projected to go first to Chicago and last season's winner, Jayden Daniels, likely to go in the top five.

This would be the eighth time in the common draft era that two Heisman Trophy winners were selected in the same draft, with it last happening in 2018 when 2017 winner Baker Mayfield went first to Cleveland and 2016 winner Lamar Jackson went 32nd to Baltimore.

There's been only one year when two Heisman winners went in the top five of the same draft, with 2013 winner Jameis Winston and 2014 winner Marcus Mariota being taken with the top two picks in 2015.

The other years in the common draft era with two Heisman Trophy winners were 2011 (Cam Newton and Mark Ingram), 2010 (Sam Bradford and Tim Tebow), 1992 (Desmond Howard and Ty Detmer), 1985 (Herschel Walker and Doug Flutie) and 1980 (Billy Sims and Charles White).

One byproduct of the transfer portal in college football is fewer players entering the draft from colleges outside of the Power Five conferences.

Last year's draft was the first in the Power Five era when no players from schools outside the biggest conferences and Notre Dame were taken in the first round. North Dakota State offensive lineman Cody Mauch was the first player from outside the Power Five to be drafted when he went 48th to Tampa Bay.

There's only one player this year from outside the Power Five ranked in the top 50 on the big board for Pro Football Focus, with Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell projected as a first-rounder.

In the 10 previous drafts, there were 34 smaller school players taken in the first round, with at least two going in every year outside of 2020.

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl

FILE - LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) runs for a touchdown against Florida during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023. Daniels is a possible first round pick in the NFL Draft.(AP Photo/Derick Hingle, File)

FILE - LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) runs for a touchdown against Florida during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023. Daniels is a possible first round pick in the NFL Draft.(AP Photo/Derick Hingle, File)

FILE - Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) throws a pass during an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers have surrounded Young with highly paid offensive linemen and some new offensive weapons including Diontae Johnson after a season in which they went 2-15. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman, File)

FILE - Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) throws a pass during an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers have surrounded Young with highly paid offensive linemen and some new offensive weapons including Diontae Johnson after a season in which they went 2-15. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman, File)

1st round picks could be on the trading block on day 1 of the NFL draft

1st round picks could be on the trading block on day 1 of the NFL draft

1st round picks could be on the trading block on day 1 of the NFL draft

1st round picks could be on the trading block on day 1 of the NFL draft

FILE - Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams throws a pass during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against UCLA, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Los Angeles. Williams is expected to be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun, File)

FILE - Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams throws a pass during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against UCLA, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Los Angeles. Williams is expected to be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun, File)

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Fani Willis and judge presiding over Georgia Trump election case defeat challengers

2024-05-22 09:55 Last Updated At:10:00

ATLANTA (AP) — Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, the Georgia prosecutor who brought a sprawling racketeering case against former President Donald Trump and others, has won the Democratic primary in her bid for reelection.

Willis defeated progressive attorney Christian Wise Smith in the primary election and is now set to face off against Republican Courtney Kramer in the fall. Willis told reporters after her victory that the voters sent a message that “people want a DA that is just, that treats everybody equally and that works hard, and they know that they have that in me.”

Meanwhile, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, the judge who was randomly assigned to preside over the election interference case, also fended off a challenger, winning a nonpartisan election to keep his seat.

The Trump election case and racketeering cases against well-known rappers have boosted Willis’ public profile. But on Tuesday night she touted her efforts to fight violent crime by being tough on gang members while also saying she worked to give second chances to first offenders and created programs to catch at-risk youth before they get caught up in the criminal justice system.

“The people said yes to justice. The people said yes to safety. The people said yes to integrity. The people said yes to Fani Willis," Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said to applause Tuesday night at Willis' victory party.

With her name recognition, the advantages of incumbency and a hefty fundraising haul, Willis’ victory in the primary was not terribly surprising. As she moves on to the general election, the odds would seem to be in her favor as well. Fulton County includes most of the city of Atlanta and is heavily Democratic, about 73% of its voters having cast ballots for President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

But Willis was taking nothing for granted after her primary win, telling supporters, “The campaign does not end tonight. It begins tonight.”

“My opponent is completely unqualified,” she said, later adding, “But while she is inexperienced and unqualified and does not represent the values of my county, don't get confused. She is a real threat because of who backs her and how they back her.”

Willis urged her supporters to continue to back her financially, noting that there was a store selling campaign merchandise onsite during her victory party.

Kramer, who has ties to some of Trump’s most prominent allies in Georgia and has drawn campaign contributions from both the county and state Republican parties, told reporters when she qualified to run that the Trump indictment prompted her to challenge Willis. In a post on the social media platform X earlier this month, she wrote, “The future of Fulton and safety in our community should not be controlled by self-interested politicians who use their office for political law fare. It’s time for a change.”

McAfee has been on the bench since last year when Republican Gov. Brian Kemp appointed him to fill an empty seat. He has since become one of the most high-profile judges in Georgia since he was randomly assigned last year to preside over the election interference case. With the added advantages of incumbency, strong bipartisan backing from heavy hitters and an impressive fundraising haul, he was the likely favorite to win.

Willis and Smith both worked in the Fulton County district attorney’s office under then-District Attorney Paul Howard. They both challenged their former boss in the Democratic primary in 2020. Willis and Howard advanced to a runoff that she won, and she ran unopposed in the November general election that year.

Kramer ran unopposed in the Republican primary Tuesday and has already been focusing her attention on attacking Willis. A lawyer who interned in the Trump White House, she has ties to some of the former president's prominent allies in Georgia.

Kramer and her backers will undoubtedly continue to focus on what even some of Willis' closest allies have seen as a major misstep — her romantic relationship with a special prosecutor she hired for the election case. Claims by defense attorneys in the case that the romance created a conflict of interest threatened to derail the prosecution.

McAfee ultimately ruled that it did not create a conflict of interest that should disqualify Willis, but he said she could only continue the case if the special prosecutor, Nathan Wade, stepped aside. Wade promptly left the case, but a defense appeal of McAfee's ruling is now pending before the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Wade was among those gathered at an event space in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood Tuesday evening to celebrate Willis' win.

Willis obtained an indictment in August against Trump and 18 others, accusing them of participating in an alleged illegal scheme to overturn Trump's narrow loss in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. Four people have pleaded guilty after reaching deals with prosecutors. Trump and the 14 others who remain have pleaded not guilty.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis arrives before she speaks after winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis arrives before she speaks after winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis arrives before she speaks after winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis arrives before she speaks after winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

In this photo combination of file images, Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee presides in court, left, while Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, right, looks on during a hearing on the Georgia election interference case, March, 1, 2024, in Atlanta. (AP Photos/Alex Slitz)

In this photo combination of file images, Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee presides in court, left, while Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, right, looks on during a hearing on the Georgia election interference case, March, 1, 2024, in Atlanta. (AP Photos/Alex Slitz)

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