Is it worth trading up in the draft?

Andrew Symes explores the risk-reward of moving up in the draft and asks if it’s really worth it?

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Podcast

I joined Ollie Connolly on his podcast to discuss the ongoing series and which teams may move up in the forthcoming draft.

Download Links: ITunesHipcastStitcherRSS Feed

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2012

Dallas Cowboys v Washington Redskins

By Andrew Symes

It is the first day of the draft and excitement is building.  Who will my team select? Will they get the big name wide receiver with whom they have been linked for months? Will he still be there when we draft? The tension is palpable. Then the commissioner steps forward on the stage and declares that a trade has taken place.  The entire NFL world watches to see who it is who has played this game of roulette, who has become so enamoured with a prospect that they simply could not wait until their allotted draft slot.  There will undoubtedly be trades that take place on April 30th that will create buzz and thrills for fan bases around the world.

But is it worth it? Here I will delve into what history has told us of draft day trades, focussing on the first round.  Using the Draft Value Trade Chart made famous by ex-Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson, as well as analysing what impact those players have had, I will look to assess each trade and ponder the repercussions of every decision made by those general managers involved. Here I will take a look at the 2012 draft, the final draft in the series.

Second Pick

Who: Robert Griffin III, Quarterback

Teams: Washington and St. Louis Rams

The Deal:  Washington traded up to this selection giving St. Louis three first-round selections in 2012 (6th overall), 2013 (22nd), and 2014 (2nd), and a 2012 second-round selection (39th).

Draft Value: Washington’s picks ended up being valued at a whopping 4500 points in exchange for a pick valued at 2600 points.

Analysis: After one year, it looked as though St. Louis had been fleeced and missed out on a once-in-a-generation talent. Fast forward two more seasons, and the Rams had a joke at Washington’s expense by sending out all the players that they had gained through this trade for the coin toss when the two teams met in 2014.  Griffin had an electric 2012, stagnated in 2013 following a torn ACL, and then regressed under the stewardship of Jay Gruden.  Unless Gruden is willing to change the make up of his offense to play to Griffin’s strengths, it is likely he will fail to live up to the potential he showed as a rookie. I still believe Griffin has the talent to make this trade seem more even in the future, but it may well be under a new head coach, or even with a different franchise that this may take place.

Verdict: Miss. Griffin has the talent level to make this pick worth it down the road, but the volume of picks lost has left a dearth of talent around him.

Third Pick

Who: Trent Richardson, Running Back

Teams: Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings

The Deal: Cleveland gave up four picks to move up just one spot giving Minnesota their first (4th), fourth (118th), fifth (139th), and seventh round (211th) selections.

Draft Value: The third overall pick is worth 2200 points and Cleveland gave up picks worth 1901 points.

Analysis: One of the most bizarre trades of any draft. Cleveland moved up one pick to take a player that would have been available at number four anyway. Minnesota were always going to take Matt Kalil, but managed to gain three more picks in the process.  Richardson is now with his third team, after being traded away for a first round pick in his second season with the Browns to the Colts. At least they managed to get some value back after cutting their losses before Richardson’s trade value had deteriorated.

Verdict: Miss. But kudos for admitting their mistake relatively quickly and stealing a first round pick from the Colts.

Fifth Pick

Who: Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver

Teams: Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Deal: Jacksonville moved up two spots from seventh overall by sending over a fourth round selection (101) to Tampa

Draft Value: It cost Jacksonville 1596 points to move up to the fifth overall pick worth 1700 points.

Analysis: Blackmon would almost certainly have been chosen by the Rams at six if the Jags had not leapfrogged them. Blackmon has shown flashes of elite level talent to match his lofty draft status, but his off field substance abuse and legal troubles have stopped him taking the field for the majority of his short career and he is currently suspended from the league. It makes one wonder how much homework the Jaguars had done on him before the draft or if they thought they could truly help him to overcome those red flags.

Verdict: Miss. Another wasted first round pick that has kept Jacksonville struggling for talent in the ensuing years.

Sixth Pick

Who: Morris Claiborne, Cornerback

Teams: Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams

The Deal: Dallas gave up their first round pick (14 overall) and second round pick (45) to take the Rams sixth overall pick which they had gained from Washington in the Griffin trade.

Draft Value: Dallas’s picks are valued at 1550 points for the Rams pick that was worth 1600 points.

Analysis: Dallas took a huge jump up the board to take the LSU product who seemed like a slam dunk pick. The main problem was that Dallas had too many holes on their roster to justify that leap up the board and the price of the trade. Claiborne was part of a secondary that was torn to shreds as one of the worst pass defenses in NFL history in 2013.  An improved 2014 season followed which was aided by the offense fueling a great running game that chewed up the clock and left the defense on the sideline for large periods but Claiborne was not on the field for every snap, which is just unimaginable for a number six pick in his third season in the league. 

Verdict: Miss. Claiborne has failed to develop into a shutdown corner of any note.

12th Pick

Who: Fletcher Cox, Defensive Tackle

Teams: Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks

The Deal: The Eagles moved up three spots by sending Seattle the 15th overall pick and fourth and sixth round selections (114 and 172)

Draft Value: It cost Philadelphia 1138 points to trade up and take over Seattle’s pick worth 1200 points.

Analysis: Cox has developed into a monster on the defensive line. His statistics do not back up his impact, but he occupies blockers at the point of attack and shuts down opposing running games. He takes on double teams which frees up his outside linebackers – namely Connor Barwin – to rack up the sacks and pressure the quarterback instead. He has had his fifth year option picked up and if it was not for a certain JJ Watt would be in the conversation of one of the best 3-4 defensive linemen in the game right now.

Verdict: Hit. Cox is the centrepiece of the defense in Philly.

21st Pick

Who: Chandler Jones, Defensive End

Teams: New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals

The Deal: New England gave up their 27th overall pick and a third round selection (93) to move up six spots.

Draft Value: The 21st pick is valued at 800 points with New England giving up picks worth 808 points.

Analysis: New England rarely move up in the draft, but when they did to grab Jones, they got great value.  Jones is perfect for Bill Belichick and can be used to set the edge in the run game, or to rush the passer, and is a genuine every down lineman who has helped New England to a Super Bowl victory. He is a jack of all trades which has meant he has had to do the dirty work which does not play to his greatest strengths at times, but his attitude makes him a perfect pick for the Patriots.

Verdict: Hit. Does Belichick ever do anything wrong in the draft?

25th Pick

Who: Dont’a Hightower, Linebacker

Teams: New England Patriots and Denver Broncos

The Deal: New England traded the second of their first round selections (31st overall) and a fourth rounder (126) to move up six spots.

Draft Value: This time it cost New England 646 points to trade up to a pick valued at 720 points.

Analysis: With having two first round picks, everyone expected New England to trade one of them away and move out of the first round, but instead shocked the league by moving up with them both. Again, they received great value, making a mockery of the draft value chart, and picked up a guy who, along with Jones, has become a defensive leader. In the Super Bowl, the play before Malcolm Butler’s interception, Marshawn Lynch looked destined to score the go ahead touchdown, but it was Hightower who made a forgotten play to bring the Beast down one yard shy of the goal line. That one play would be enough to justify his pick, never mind the consistent excellence he has also displayed over his three years in the league.

Verdict: Hit. Another slam dunk for the Patriots.

29th Pick

Who: Harrison Smith, Safety

Teams: Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens

The Deal: Baltimore received the Vikings second round selection (35 overall) and a fourth round selection (98) in exchange for the 29th pick. 

Draft Value: The Vikings gave up picks worth 658 points to take a chance at number 29, a pick valued at 640 points.

Analysis: The Vikings did well to move up six places by only giving up one of their fourth round selections to take Smith, a young safety who has blossomed into a playmaker in the secondary. He is hard-hitting and has a knack for being in the right place at the right time, and gives coach Mike Zimmer a leader to scan the field and give protection in his Cover 3 scheme. While he flies under the radar playing in one of the quieter markets in the league, he would undoubtedly go in the top 15 if there was a 2012 redraft.

Verdict: Hit. Smith is one the most underrated safeties in the league.

31st Pick

Who: Doug Martin, Running Back

Teams: Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos

The Deal: Denver swapped this selection (31) and their fourth round (126) selection to Tampa for their second (36) and fourth round (101) selections.

Draft Value: Tampa’s two picks were valued at 636 points, while Denver’s two picks were valued at 646 points. 

Analysis: Martin exploded as a rookie and the ‘Muscle Hamster’ looked primed to take the league by storm in 2013. However, over the next two seasons, Martin has struggled to stay healthy and does not even look to be a guaranteed starter any more in Tampa. While he is certainly talented, he has not been able to find holes or make players miss, lacking elusiveness to go with the muscle and strength he undoubtedly has but has not put to good use. While Tampa did well in terms of the value with this trade, swapping picks rather than trading them away, Martin has not lived up to his first round billing.

Verdict: Miss. Martin looks as though injuries have slowed his career and needs an injection of some kind to take him back to those rookie days.

You can find Andrew on Twitter @asymes86 and join in the conversation with @UKEndZone

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2011

Tennessee Titans v Atlanta Falcons

By Andrew Symes

It is the first day of the draft and excitement is building.  Who will my team select? Will they get the big name wide receiver with whom they have been linked for months? Will he still be there when we draft? The tension is palpable. Then the commissioner steps forward on the stage and declares that a trade has taken place.  The entire NFL world watches to see who it is who has played this game of roulette, who has become so enamoured with a prospect that they simply could not wait until their allotted draft slot.  There will undoubtedly be trades that take place on April 30th that will create buzz and thrills for fan bases around the world.

But is it worth it? Here I will delve into what history has told us of draft day trades, focussing on the first round.  Using the Draft Value Trade Chart made famous by ex-Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson, as well as analysing what impact those players have had, I will look to assess each trade and ponder the repercussions of every decision made by those general managers involved, starting with the 2011 draft.

Sixth Pick

Who: Julio Jones, Wide Receiver

Teams: Atlanta Falcons and Cleveland Browns

The Deal: Atlanta sent Cleveland five draft picks, their 2011 first round (pick 27), a second rounder (59) and a fourth rounder (124), as well as their 2012 first round pick (22) and a fourth round pick(118), and received the sixth overall pick in exchange.

Draft Value: The sixth overall pick is worth 1600 points, and Atlanta sent picks that were eventually worth 1876 points, or equivalent to around the fourth overall pick.

Analysis: Jones is one of the top playmakers in the league and has certainly shown he was worthy of being taken with such a high draft pick, but whether the trade was worth the cost to Atlanta is another matter.  In his first two years in the league, Atlanta reached the playoffs each season, but have failed to do so in the ensuing two seasons.  Jones has suffered through injuries, including spending almost the entire 2013 campaign on the sidelines.  The effects of trading away so many picks have left the Falcons weak on the defensive side of the ball with a lack of depth being exposed, eventually resulting in the departure of coach Mike Smith at the end of the past season.

Verdict: Miss.  While Jones is certainly one of the best in the league at his position, the trade left the Falcons weaker down the road.  If they had stayed where they were with all those picks, they could have drafted Torrey Smith or Randall Cobb who both went in the second round of the same draft, as well as building depth and having a chance to take a player like Bobby Wagner in the 2012 draft.

Tenth Pick

Who: Blaine Gabbert

Teams: Jacksonville Jaguars and Washington

The Deal: Jacksonville traded its first round pick (16 overall) and a second round pick (49) for the right to draft Gabbert with Washington’s tenth pick

Draft Value: The tenth overall pick is worth 1300 points, with the Jaguars sending over 1410 points, the equivalent of the eighth overall pick

Analysis: Gabbert was in danger of sliding down in the first round, but with Tennessee snatching up Jake Locker with the eighth pick, quarterbacks were flying off the board.  This left Jacksonville in desperation mode and they jumped up ahead of other quarterback needy teams to take him.  It turned out to be a huge mistake.  Gabbert never looked ready for the NFL, holding his offense hostage as he took sack after sack, even going down when he imagined pressure might be on the way. He was eventually traded to the San Francisco 49ers in March 2014 for just a sixth round pick to cap a miserable three years in Florida. In turn, Washington picked linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, one of the few bright spots on the defensive side of the ball over the past few years.

Verdict: Miss. One which set the Jaguars back years.

21st Pick

Who: Phil Taylor, Defensive Tackle

Teams: Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs

The Deal: Cleveland sent the 27th overall pick which it acquired as part of the Julio Jones trade as well as a third round pick (70) in exchange for the 21st overall selection from the Chiefs.

Draft Value: The 21st selection holds a value of 800 points, with the Browns parting with picks worth 920 points, equivalent to the 18th overall pick.

Analysis: Armed with the bounty that they had been handed by the Falcons, the Browns probably felt as though trading up here was a win-win situation, drafting the man they had targeted by moving around the board. Taylor had a great first year in the league, racking up 4 sacks in his 16 starts on his way to making Pro Football Weekly’s All-Rookie team.  But production has tailed off drastically, with just 26 starts in the next 48 games the Browns played due to injuries.  He has also tallied just three more sacks in the following three seasons.  Taylor possesses all the physical tools but he has not made it work.  Making it worse, the third round selection that the Browns handed to the Chiefs as part of the deal was used to select Justin Houston, the All-Pro linebacker who led the league in sacks last season.

Verdict: Miss. I doubt many casual fans would even know Taylor’s name.

28th Pick

Who: Mark Ingram, Running Back

Teams: New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots

The Deal: New Orleans traded its second round pick in 2011 (56th overall) and their 2012 first round pick (27th overall) for the right to draft the Heisman trophy winner at New England’s 28th slot.

Draft Value: The 28th pick is worth 660 points and the Saints gave up a whopping 1020 points, equivalent to the 16th overall pick.

Analysis: New Orleans invested much in Ingram, who had just rushed Alabama to a national title, and needed a bruising back to compliment the scat backs in their stable.  His first three seasons produced only 12 starts, before he finally established himself in 2014 as the feature back, starting 13 games.  He has still not had a 1000 yard rushing season, and is certainly not an explosive playmaker: his longest run is 35 yards.  He has signed a new contract with the Saints for the next four years but he has never lived up to his billing as a first round running back.  With the picks that they received, New England chose Shane Vereen and Chandler Jones, making them the clear winners in the deal.  Vereen has had a similar career to Ingram at the same position, while Jones has become one of the leaders of the Patriots defense, helping lead them to Super Bowl success.  How New Orleans must wish they had those two players instead.

Verdict: Miss. The success of the Patriots’ picks puts the decision to trade up for Ingram into the ‘must do better’ category.

You can find Andrew on Twitter @asymes86 and join in the conversation with @UKEndZone

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2010

Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles

By Andrew Symes

It is the first day of the draft and excitement is building.  Who will my team select? Will they get the big name wide receiver with whom they have been linked for months? Will he still be there when we draft? The tension is palpable. Then the commissioner steps forward on the stage and declares that a trade has taken place.  The entire NFL world watches to see who it is who has played this game of roulette, who has become so enamoured with a prospect that they simply could not wait until their allotted draft slot.  There will undoubtedly be trades that take place on April 30th that will create buzz and thrills for fan bases around the world.

But is it worth it? Here I will delve into what history has told us of draft day trades, focussing on the first round.  Using the Draft Value Trade Chart made famous by ex-Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson, as well as analysing what impact those players have had, I will look to assess each trade and ponder the repercussions of every decision made by those general managers involved. Here, I delve into the 2010 draft class.

11th Pick

Who: Anthony Davis, Offensive Tackle

Teams: San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos

The Deal: San Franciso moved up two spots by sending the 13th overall pick and a fourth rounder (113).

Draft Value: The 49ers picks were valued at 1220 points in exchange for a pick valued at 1250 points.

Analysis: As the Broncos started their move around the board to gain more value picks, the 49ers decided to invest heavily in their offensive line in the first round of this draft, using a second first rounder on Mike Iupati from a trade a year earlier with Carolina, which paved the way to the success that Jim Harbaugh was able to enjoy when he took over the reigns a year later. Davis has started 71 games, primarily at right tackle, and is still only 25 years old.  The 49ers have had one of the most successful running games in the league over the past five years, and Davis has been a huge part of that. Signed up through the next three years in the Bay area, Davis is an under appreciated player who flies under the radar.

Verdict: Hit. Giving up just a fourth rounder to build one of the top offensive lines in the league has to qualify as a success.

12th Pick

Who: Ryan Mathews, Running Back

Teams: San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins

The Deal: The Chargers sent their first and second round picks to Miami (28th and 40th) to move all the way up to 12 overall.

Draft Value: San Diego’s picks were valued at 1160 points for a pick worth 1200 points.

Analysis: Star running back and future Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson had finally cut ties with the Chargers, who identified Mathews as his successor in their backfield.  However, it took until his fourth season with the team, in 2013, for Mathews to play in all 16 games as injuries kept on cropping up, casting doubts upon his durability.  He posted six 100 yard games that year, and rushed for a career high 1255 yards, but injury once again cropped up, limiting him severely during the Chargers playoff appearances. His play was good enough for the Chargers to keep him for the 2014 season, but injury once again stopped him from playing a full part.  He was allowed to leave in free agency this offseason, signing a three-year deal with the Eagles.

Verdict: Miss. Mathews’ injury problems meant he was never able to live up to his billing as LT’s heir.

13th Pick

Who: Brandon Graham, Defensive End

Teams: Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos

The Deal: Philli traded their first round selection (24th overall) and two third round picks (70 and 74) to move up 11 spots for Graham.

Draft Value: The Eagles picks were worth 1200 points for a pick valued at 1150 points.

Analysis: The Eagles made a splash moving up in the first round to draft Graham, as Denver once again moved down to gain more ammunition. He has, however, underwhelmed hugely.  Drafted as a partner for Trent Cole to generate sacks, he has managed only 17 in his five years with the Eagles and has never developed into the game changing terror that Philadelphia hoped for when they gave up three picks for him.  His lack of impact made it a small wonder when he re-signed with the Eagles when his rookie deal came to an end this offseason, somehow managing to convince the Eagles to hand him a four-year, $26 million dollar contract to keep his services.

Verdict: Miss. Despite some improvements in 2014, it was a surprise that the Eagles did not cut their losses this offseason.

22nd Pick

Who: Demaryius Thomas, Wide Receiver

Teams: Denver Broncos and New England Patriots

The Deal: Denver sent the 24th overall pick and packaged in a fourth round pick (113) to move up two spots.

Draft Value: Denver’s picks were worth 808 points for a pick worth 780 points

Analysis: Thomas has emerged as one of the NFL’s premier receivers and if this was the only pick the Broncos made in the first round, it would qualify as excellent draft day work.  The big bodied man-made an immediate impact with 8 catches for 97 yards and touchdown in his NFL debut against Seattle and has not looked back since. His connection with Peyton Manning gave the Broncos a focal point for the record-setting offense in 2013. Although he is currently under the franchise tag, make no mistake that Denver will get a deal done to keep the talented receiver in Colorado for the best years of his career.

Verdict: Hit. One of the top five players at his position in the league.

24th Pick

Who: Dez Bryant, Wide Receiver

Teams: Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots

The Deal: Dallas sent New England their 27th overall pick and a third rounder (90) to move up three places.

Draft Value: The pick was worth 740 points and Dallas gave up picks valued at 716 points.

Analysis: New England traded down for a second time, missing out on the two premier receivers in the draft. Dallas, meanwhile, were the team to pull the trigger on the mercurial Bryant, undoubtedly a top five pick if not for his off field issues.  Under the very watchful eye of Jerry Jones and heavy surveillance by the Cowboys security staff, he seems to have matured, and his on field talent has been able to speak for him. After a quiet rookie season, Bryant has exploded, becoming Tony Romo’s first legitimate target at wide receiver since Terrell Owens left town.  His ‘catch’ in the NFC Divisional round this year almost took Dallas through to the NFC Championship game and his hunger to win is fantastic. The Cowboys need to tie him down to a long-term deal as he was also franchise tagged this offseason. From the Patriots perspective, they missed out on Bryant and Thomas, but did draft Pro Bowl safety Devin McCourty and used one of the picks they gained to draft Aaron Hernandez in the fourth round, who – lest we forget – was almost the steal of the draft until his legal troubles (mild) unravelled.

Verdict: Hit. Bryant is a leader who wants the best of himself and his team every time he takes the field. A great punt on a man with character issues by Jones that is paying dividends.

25th Pick

Who: Tim Tebow, Quarterback

Teams: Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens

The Deal: Denver sent a second rounder (43), third rounder (70) and fourth rounder (114) for the right to draft Tebow at 25 overall.

Draft Value: The 25th pick is valued at 720 points, with Baltimore receiving picks worth 676 points, about the same as value as the 27th pick.

Analysis: Having sealed the receiver they wanted in Thomas, Denver went all out to get their franchise quarterback too. Tebow was seen as maybe a late first round pick by some analysts, but more likely a second round pick who needed to develop. When Denver made this splash for the nations’s darling, it immediately became a boom or bust moment.  Tebow took over as starter midway through a flagging season and led the Broncos to the playoffs, culminating in a highlight play of an 80 yard touchdown to Thomas to beating the Steelers in overtime of the Wild Card round. That was as good as it got for Tim, as when John Elway stepped in following a shocking 2011 season he made it his priority to move for Peyton Manning and Tebow was swiftly traded to the Jets for merely a sixth round pick, ending his Colorado stay.

Verdict: Miss. Tebow has now latched on with the Eagles after spending two season out of the league.

30th Pick

Who: Jahvid Best, Running Back

Teams: Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings

The Deal: Minnesota traded up four places from 34th overall and sent a fourth round pick (100) in exchange for the 30th overall pick from their NFC North rivals

Draft Value: The 30th pick is valued at 620 points with Minnesota giving up 660 points of value with their two picks, equivalent to the 28th overall pick.

Analysis: The Vikings ensured their division rivals would have to pay dearly to get their hands on Best. For the Lions, they were looking to provide a back who could give balance to an offense that was purely reliant on the skills of Calvin Johnson at wide receiver. It never worked out, as concussion issues limited Best to only two seasons in the league, including just 22 starts and six touchdowns.

Verdict: Miss. Best’s career never got going at all.

You can find Andrew on Twitter @asymes86 and join in the conversation with @UKEndZone

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2009

New England Patriots v New York Jets

By Andrew Symes

It is the first day of the draft and excitement is building.  Who will my team select? Will they get the big name wide receiver with whom they have been linked for months? Will he still be there when we draft? The tension is palpable. Then the commissioner steps forward on the stage and declares that a trade has taken place.  The entire NFL world watches to see who it is who has played this game of roulette, who has become so enamoured with a prospect that they simply could not wait until their allotted draft slot.  There will undoubtedly be trades that take place on April 30th that will create buzz and thrills for fan bases around the world.

But is it worth it? Here I will delve into what history has told us of draft day trades, focussing on the first round.  Using the Draft Value Trade Chart made famous by ex-Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson, as well as analysing what impact those players have had, I will look to assess each trade and ponder the repercussions of every decision made by those general managers involved. Here, I look at the 2009 draft.

Fifth Pick

Who: Mark Sanchez, Quarterback

Teams: New York Jets and Cleveland Browns

The Deal: The Jets sent their first and second round picks (17 and 52 overall) as well as three players – Kenyon Coleman, Brett Ratliff and Abram Elam – in exchange for the fifth overall pick.

Draft Value: The points value of the picks the Jets sent came to 1330 for a pick valued at 1700, with the players involved used as the make-weights for the point differential.

Analysis: Back when Rex Ryan was a rookie head coach, he pulled the trigger along with GM Mike Tannenbaum to select Sanchez, who had just one year of starting experience at USC. Sanchez lead a proficient offense that dealt in a ground and pound manner to two straight AFC Championship games in his first two years, but was never able to grow as quarterback.  He signed a massive second contract which left everyone scratching their heads and when his play continued to drop off left the Jets in shocking cap situation.  Tannenbaum was promptly dismissed, but Sanchez still managed to provide one more low light before exiting Gotham and forever bringing the word “buttfumble” into modern footballing lexicon.  He is now with the Eagles after being released at the end of 2013.

Verdict: Miss. It was a swing that looked good after two years, but ultimately left the Jets still striving to find Joe Namath’s heir. 

17th Pick

Who: Josh Freeman, Quarterback

Teams: Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns

The Deal: Tampa sent their 19th overall pick and a sixth round pick (191st) for the Browns 17th pick.

Draft Value: The Bucs traded picks worth 890 points for a pick valued at 950 points

Analysis: Tampa have struggled for consistent quarterback play for year and when they took Freeman, it looked like a good deal.  They certainly got good value for moving up just two spots.  Freeman sat for most of his rookie year before taking over in his second season and looking like a solid prospect, leading the Bucs to a 10-6 record and was named as an alternate to the Pro Bowl.  However, he flamed out amidst accusations of poor work ethic and tardiness and is now sitting deep on the Miami Dolphins roster after a year out of the league.

Verdict: Miss.  It was worth a shot, but ultimately in vain.

19th Pick

Who: Jeremy Maclin

Teams: Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns

The Deal: Philadelphia sent their 21st overall pick and a sixth rounder (195) to move up to Cleveland’s 19th spot.

Draft Value: Philadelphia sent picks worth 813 points for a pick worth 850 points.

Analysis: Maclin has been a good player for the Eagles, before missing an entire year with a knee injury.  Regime change at the head coaching position did not set Maclin back, as he excelled and produced career numbers last season under Chip Kelly.  Giving up just a sixth round pick showed great acumen to take a guy who had been projected as a top ten pick relatively low in the first round.  Maclin was a centrepiece in an offense that has had inconsistent quarterback play, but the fact the Eagles were unable to sign him to a long-term deal is certainly a downside. Cleveland, after all of the manoeuvring down the board, eventually took Pro Bowl center Alex Mack at 21, to cap some clever work. 

Verdict: Hit. For such a cheap trade this was worth it, and would have been even better if they could have signed Maclin to a long term deal.

23rd Pick

Who: Michael Oher

Teams: Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots

The Deal: Baltimore sent their 26th overall pick and a fifth rounder (162) to move up three spots and take New England’s 23rd pick.

Draft Value: Baltimore sent picks valued at 730 points for a pick worth 760

Analysis: Oher is probably better known as the star of the movie ‘The Blind Side’ than he is for his football play.  Oher started for a the Ravens as they won the Super Bowl following the 2012 campaign. He became a solid player for the Ravens, but never truly bloomed into a starting left tackle and was allowed to leave in free agency last year, signing with the Tennessee Titans.  After just one year, he was released and is now the likely right tackle with the Carolina Panthers. 

Verdict: Miss. Although Oher was a solid starter, it was not worth the trade up for him.  The Ravens did not give up a lot for him, but the fact he was a first rounder who was not offered a second contract shows the trade was unsuccessful.

26th Pick

Who: Clay Matthews, Linebacker

Teams: Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots

The Deal: Green Bay gave up a second round pick (41) and two third rounders (73 and 83) for the right to select Matthews at 26 overall from the Patriots.

Draft Value: The Packers gave up picks worth 710 points for a pick worth 700 points.

Analysis: This is the only trade up Green Bay have made for over a decade, but when they made their move, they made a great pick. Matthews – whose father was an All-Pro linebacker, uncle is a Hall of Fame guard, and has a brother and two cousins also playing in the league – has been the leader of the defense since being drafted, with his flowing blond locks becoming a familiar sight in chasing down quarterbacks.  He has won a Super Bowl in his time with Green Bay, forcing a fumble in the show piece game too. With the Steelers driving down the field and the score at 21-17 in Green Bay’s favour at the start of the fourth quarter, Matthews delivered a bone jarring hit that forced Rashard Mendenhall to fumble the ball near the Packers 30 yard line.  The Packers kept the lead and won.  That alone is worth trading up for.  Despite injuries playing a part, when he is on the field he is still one of the finest pass rushers in the league.

Verdict: Hit. Green Bay value draft picks higher than anyone, but Matthews proved to be worth much more than a low first round pick.

You can find Andrew on Twitter @asymes86 and join in the conversation with @UKEndZone

————————————————————————-

2008

Divisional Playoffs - Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots

By Andrew Symes

It is the first day of the draft and excitement is building.  Who will my team select? Will they get the big name wide receiver with whom they have been linked for months? Will he still be there when we draft? The tension is palpable. Then the commissioner steps forward on the stage and declares that a trade has taken place.  The entire NFL world watches to see who it is who has played this game of roulette, who has become so enamoured with a prospect that they simply could not wait until their allotted draft slot.  There will undoubtedly be trades that take place on April 30th that will create buzz and thrills for fan bases around the world.

But is it worth it? Here I will delve into what history has told us of draft day trades, focussing on the first round.  Using the Draft Value Trade Chart made famous by ex-Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson, as well as analysing what impact those players have had, I will look to assess each trade and ponder the repercussions of every decision made by those general managers involved. It is time to look at the 2008 draft, which featured a record 34 trades in total, including four first round pick swaps from the 2007 draft.  These eight draft day deals involved 14 different teams.

Seventh Pick

Who: Sedrick Ellis, Defensive Tackle

Teams: New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots

The Deal: New Orleans sent their first round selection (tenth overall) and a third round selection (78) in exchange for the Patriots seventh pick and a fifth rounder (164 overall).

Draft Value: New Orleans gave up 1500 points to select Ellis, exactly what the seventh pick is deemed to be worth, receiving 1526 in exchange from New England, meaning they came out on top value wise.

Analysis: A complex trade where New Orleans actually moved up the board and gained value in picks too, to gain a Patriots selection that they had inherited themselves after a trade the year before with the 49ers.  Forget the value though, because that is about all the Saints can claim was successful with this trade.  Ellis played in all but four games in his five years with the Saints, winning a Super Bowl in his second season, but he was never able to live up to his lofty draft status, eventually retiring aged just 27. The Patriots selected Jerod Mayo at 10, who has reached the Pro Bowl and become one of their defensive leaders, with an attitude that shows utter desire and professionalism.

Verdict: Miss

Eighth Pick

Who: Derrick Harvey, Defensive End

Teams: Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens

The Deal: Jacksonville sent a first rounder, two third round picks and a fourth round pick (26, 71, 89 and 125) to move up 18 places in exchange for the Ravens eighth overall pick.

Draft Value: Despite the volume of picks sent, the Jags actually sent just 1127 points worth of picks for a pick worth 1400 points.

Analysis: Jacksonville paid a big price in the volume of picks – despite getting value for it – to move up for one of the most athletic pass rushers to enter the draft.  However, Harvey is one of the all-time draft busts, flaming out of Jacksonville after three years and only eight sacks, and has not picked up on any roster since playing for the Broncos in 2011.  The number of picks sent cost Jacksonville the chance to build depth on their roster and started a decline that has not stopped since. Baltimore were shrewd enough to use the ammunition they received from the trade to change the fortunes of their franchise, as we will see in a few picks time.

Verdict: Miss

15th Pick

Who: Branden Albert, Offensive Tackle

Teams: Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions

The Deal: Kansas sent their first round pick (17), a third rounder (66) and a fifth rounder (136) in exchange for the 15th overall pick and Detroit’s third round selection (76).

Draft Value: Kansas gave up 1248 points in exchange for 1260 points of value from Detroit.

Analysis: Albert is one of the finest left tackles in the league and has certainly shown he was worth the faith that the Chiefs showed in moving up to select him.  He took his time to adjust in the NFL, having played second fiddle to Eugene Monroe and D’Brickashaw Ferguson in college which left him playing guard rather than tackle.  But he became a solid starter and was is reliable as any blind side blocker.  The downside of this trade is that the Chiefs were unable to sign him a long-term deal, and after a year playing under the franchise tag, he left last year to sign in Miami for a $47 million deal over five years.  The Lions have struggled to find anyone to protect Matthew Stafford since and should have stayed put to take him.

Verdict: Hit. Just. Albert has shown he was worthy of trading up for, but the later Chiefs regime was unable to secure him long-term.

18th Pick

Who: Joe Flacco, Quarterback

Teams: Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans

The Deal: Baltimore sent the first round pick they had acquired from Jacksonville (26 overall), as well as one of the third round picks (89) and a sixth round selection (174) in exchange for Houston’s 18th pick.

Draft Value: Using picks from the Jacksonville trade meant that the Ravens sent 867 points over to the Texans in exchange for the 18th pick valued at 900 points.

Analysis: Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens GM, showed skilful movement about the board to find his signal caller who has led the Ravens to a Super Bowl victory and shows rare composure in the playoffs. Sure, he could have asked for even more from Jacksonville as part of the Harvey trade, but that would be splitting hairs.  He used the bounty he was handed to make this trade happen, and the Ravens are set for at least another eight years at football’s most important position.  They picked up their signal caller and extra draft picks to boot, which shows just why Newsome is regarded so highly in the league for his ability to build a roster.

Verdict: Hit. Unquestionably.

19th Pick

Who: Jeff Otah, Offensive Tackle

Teams: Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles

The Deal: Carolina sent their 2009 first round pick (28), plus a second round (43) and fourth round (109) selection from the 2008 draft for the Eagles 19th pick.

Draft Value: Carolina sent a whopping 1206 points in total for the right to draft Otah at a position worth 875 points, equivalent to the 12th overall pick.

Analysis: Carolina lost out massively with one of the worst trades I have found in recent memory.  After a solid rookie season, Otah suffered knee injuries that left him unable to continue his career and was traded for a conditional pick to the Jets in 2012.  He was unable to pass a physical and so the trade become voided and Otah was released by the Panthers, never to play in the NFL again. Philadelphia, meanwhile, were able to use the picks given to them to select Kevin Kolb and gained their Pro Bowl tackle Jason Peters too.  One of the more lopsided trades in draft day history.

Verdict: Miss. Of the highest order.

21st Pick

Who: Sam Baker, Offensive Tackle

Teams: Atlanta Falcons and Washington

The Deal: Atlanta sent two second round picks (34 and 48) and a fourth round pick (103) to Washington for their first round pick as well as a third round (84) and fifth round (154) pick.

Draft Value: Atlanta sent picks worth 1068 points to Washington for picks worth 1000 points.

Analysis: Baker was a highly touted prospect out of USC and the Falcons saw an opportunity to give their new QB Matt Ryan a protector by moving up and snatching Baker.  The logic is sound, but the results have not been.  Baker has been a solid player, but injuries have meant he has only played all 16 games in a season twice in seven seasons, including missing 28 out of 32 games over the past two seasons as the Falcons have faltered. When fit, he is a top player, but simply put, he is too injury prone. The fact the Falcons had to use a top ten pick on Jake Matthews, another tackle, in last years draft, shows the lack of faith the organisation has in Baker’s ability to stay healthy. At pick 26, Duane Brown was taken by the Texans, who has proven to be a much more solid player.

Verdict: Miss. Baker has spent too much time watching football rather than playing.

25th Pick

Who: Mike Jenkins, Cornerback

Teams: Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks

The Deal: Dallas sent their first-, fifth- and seventh-round picks (28, 163, 235) in exchange for the Seahawks 25th pick

Draft Value: Dallas gave up 688 points for the Seahawks pick which was worth 720.

Analysis: Jenkins made the Pro Bowl as an alternate in 2009, but his career has underwhelmed.  He was unable to earn a second contract with the Cowboys as they moved on with Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr instead.  That should be all that needs to be said.  If a team trades up in the first round, they should expect to not have to look for another player at that position for a long time, but Jenkins was never able to provide any kind of stability as the Cowboys finished with disappointing records over and over. Seattle gained little from the trade either, but that does not make this trade a success.

Verdict: Miss. Jenkins is now third on the Tampa Bay depth chart, who finished with the worst record in the league in 2014.

30th Pick

Who: Dustin Keller, Tight End

Teams: New York Jets and Green Bay Packers

The Deal: The Jets sent their second round pick (36) and a fourth round pick (113) in exchange for the Packers 30th pick.

Draft Value: The Jets sent 608 points of picks in exchange for a pick worth 620 points.

Analysis: Look away now Jets fans. Keller showed flashes of potential early in his career, but without solid quarterback play, he was never able to live up to his potential.  He was eventually allowed to hit free agency, where he caught on with the Miami Dolphins before suffering a gruesome knee injury – tearing his ACL, MCL and PCL as well as dislocating the knee – in a preseason game that has left him without a team since 2013.  To make matters worse, the Packers were able to select WR Jordy Nelson, one of the league’s top receivers, with the second round pick the Jets sent away as part of the deal.

Verdict: Miss.

You can find Andrew on Twitter @asymes86 and join in the conversation with @UKEndZone

2 thoughts on “Is it worth trading up in the draft?

  1. Pingback: Is It Worth Drafting a 1st Round Running Back? | UKEndZone

  2. Pingback: The Do’s and Do Not’s for a Successful Draft Day | UKEndZone

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