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A look at the last 20 years of top-15 trade ups


k-train
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Here is a list of the players acquired by trading up in the top 15 picks of the draft since 2000.

I'm also including the players taken with the #16 pick each year in red
^^ indicates a team traded up from farther back in the draft to get that player


2000
#3 WAS - Chris Samuels (OT)
#10 BAL - Travis Taylor (WR)
#12 NYJ - Shaun Ellis (DE)
#16 SF - Julian Peterson (LB)

2001
#1 ATL - Michael Vick (QB)
#14 TB - Kenyatta Walker (OT)
#16 NYJ - Santana Moss (WR) ^^

2002
#6 KC - Ryan Sims (DT)
#14 NYG - Jeremy Shockey (TE)
#16 CLE - William Green (RB)

2003
#6 NO - Jonathan Sullivan (DT)
#13 NE - Ty Warren (DT)
#15 PHI - Jerome McDougle (DE)
#16 PIT - Troy Polamalu (S) ^^

2004
#6 CLE - Kellen Winslow Jr. (TE)
#16 PHI - Shawn Andrews (G) ^^

2005
#13 NO - Jammal Brown (OT)
#16 HOU - Johnston (DT)

2006
#11 DEN - Jay Cutler (QB)
#12 BAL - Haloti Ngata (DT)
#16 MIA - Jason Allen (S)

2007
#14 NYJ - Darrelle Revis (CB)
#16 GB - Justin Harrell (DT)

2008
#7 NO - Sedrick Ellis (DT)
#8 JAX - Derrick Harvey (DT)
#15 KC - Branden Albert (OT)
#16 ARI - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (CB)

2009
#5 NYJ - Mark Sanchez (QB)
#16 SD - Larry English (DE)

2010
#11 SF - Anthony Davis (OT)
#12 SD - Ryan Matthews (RB)
#13 PHI - Brandon Graham (DE)
#16 TEN - Derrick Morgan (DE)

2011
#6 ATL - Julio Mothertruckin' Jones (WR)
#10 JAX - Blaine Gabbert (QB)
#16 WAS - Ryan Kerrigan (DE)

2012
#2 WAS - Robert Griffin III (QB)
#3 CLE - Trent Richardson (RB)
#5 JAX - Justin Blackmon (WR)
#6 DAL - Morris Claiborne (CB)
#16 NYJ - Quinton Coples (DE)

2013
#3 MIA - Dion Jordan (DE)
#8 STL - Tavon Austin (WR)
#16 BUF - EJ Manuel (QB)

2014
#4 BUF - Sammy Watkins (WR)
#8 CLE - Justin Gilbert (CB)
#16 DAL - Zack Martin (G)

2015
#15 SD - Melvin Gordan (RB)
#16 HOU - Kevin Johnson (CB)

2016
#1 LAR - Jared Goff (QB)
#2 PHI - Carson Wentz (QB)
#9 CHI - Leonard Floyd (LB)
#16 DET - Taylor Decker (OT)

2017
#2 CHI - Mitchell Trubisky (QB)
#10 KC - Patrick Mahomes (QB)
#12 HOU - Deshaun Watson (QB)
#16 BAL - Marlon Humphrey (CB)

2018
#3 NYJ - Sam Darnold (QB)
#7 BUF - Josh Allen (QB)
#10 ARI - Josh Rosen (QB)
#14 NO - Marcus Davenport (DE)
#16 BUF - Tremaine Edmunds (LB) ^^

2019
#10 PIT - Devin Bush (LB)
#16 CAR - Brian Burns (DE)

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That 2013 was terrible. Wouldnt be mad with a trade up to 8-11 if we could hang on to our 2nd rounder which is possible if we include a pick or two next year which would hopefully be helped by adding our comp picks. Brown is my first choice but I wouldn't be mad with Okudah or Simmons at all. Henderson I'd be disappointed about but hopefully he'd prove people wrong 

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In 2017, I would have rather us traded our whole draft to go up for either Myles Garrett or Jamal Adams rather than use the picks on Takk, Duke Riley, Harlow, Saubert, Brian Hill and Kazee.

Dont even get me started on 2014, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2007

We have had a multitude of drafts to where we would have been better off just selling the farm for one of the elite picks.

Edited by Snafu
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Teams have traded into the top 15 to draft a CB just three times in the last two decades:

Darrelle Revis
7x Pro Bowl , 4x First Team All Pro

This is the one time someone got it right trading up into the top 15 for a CB. The Jets got fantastic production out of him for several years. After he suffered a torn ACL & threatening to hold out over his contract, they were able to trade him for the #13 overall pick & a 3rd rounder from Tampa. That's tremendous value in both getting him & getting rid of him.

Morris Claiborne
0x Pro Bowl , 0x First Team All Pro

He was decent for Dallas for 5 years when he was on the field, but never came close to living up to the hype, largely due to injuries. He's been sort of a journeyman since & done nothing of consequence except get hurt some more & get suspended. He got himself a Super Bowl ring with KC this [ast season, despite the fact that he was inactive for the actual game.

Justin Gilbert
0x Pro Bowl , 0x First Team All Pro

He only played for 2 years w/ Cleveland before they traded him to Pittsburgh for a 6th rounder. He played one year for the Steelers then got suspended for a year & has not played since. Yikes.

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Certainly isn't obvious that the trade ups were better.  When including draft capital, would certainly make it not an obvious proposition.

I think this highlights that even those upper guys aren't as much a "known quantity" as people like to think they are before the draft.

Just makes it clearer that we should stay or move back to me.

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As for the CBs teams took at #16 over that span:

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
2x Pro Bowl , 0x First Team All Pro

DRC was a solid CB with playmaking ability. Had a few really good seasons in Arizona before bouncing around a bit & playing solid for the Giants for a few seasons. Never became an elite CB but had moments of being a really good one.

Kevin Johnson
0x Pro Bowl , 0x First Team All Pro

He hasn't been able to stay healthy enough to make an impact.

Marlon Humphrey
1x Pro Bowl , 1x First Team All Pro

Just 3 seasons into his career, he's showing that he's the real deal thus far.
 

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9 minutes ago, takeitdown said:

Certainly isn't obvious that the trade ups were better.  When including draft capital, would certainly make it not an obvious proposition.

I think this highlights that even those upper guys aren't as much a "known quantity" as people like to think they are before the draft.

Just makes it clearer that we should stay or move back to me.

Yeah, after getting all this together & really looking at it from a bigger picture standpoint, I'm definitely leaning that way as well... especially for the positions we'd likely be targeting in a trade up scenario.

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Not trying to knock you OP,  but this proves nothing to me.

Just because other bone-headed GM's made moves to get a guy that they liked, it has nothing to do with our team. Also, it doesnt factor in the players that went top 15 that were worth being traded up for, but werent. Nor does it take into consideration our draft classes like 2017, 2012, 2010, 2009 and 2007 where we would have been better off using every draft pick we had to move up for an elite guy, than wasting literally every pick we had on the guys we got.

 

IMO, draft picks are over-valued. People treat them like gold doubloons. Those picks aint worth **** until you turn them into something. If there's a guy you feel 100% confident is a game changer for your team, it's worth whatever draft capital it takes to get him.

Edited by Snafu
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37 minutes ago, Snafu said:

In 2017, I would have rather us traded our whole draft to go up for either Myles Garrett or Jamal Adams rather than use the picks on Takk, Duke Riley, Harlow, Saubert, Brian Hill and Kazee.

Dont even get me started on 2014, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2007

We have had a multitude of drafts to where we would have been better off just selling the farm for one of the elite picks.

Honestly it's getting to the point where I just see a giant lottery and you hope for the best lol

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12 minutes ago, Snafu said:

Not trying to knock you OP,  but this proves nothing to me.

Just because other bone-headed GM's made moves to get a guy that they liked, it has nothing to do with our team. Also, it doesnt factor in the players that went top 15 that were worth being traded up for, but werent. Nor does it take into consideration our draft classes like 2017, 2012, 2010, 2009 and 2007 where we would have been better off using every draft pick we had to move up for an elite guy, than wasting literally every pick we had on the guys we got.

 

IMO, draft picks are over-valued. People treat them like gold doubloons. Those picks aint worth **** until you turn them into something. If there's a guy you feel 100% confident is a game changer for your team, it's worth whatever draft capital it takes to get him.

All these teams trading up were certain the player would work.  More so than teams who just took the guy at their spot.  The trade up is the indication of just how certain they were.

And still, it's a mixed bag.

Players at the top of the draft are more likely to do well...but not necessarily that much more likely, and not likely to outperform the 2 or 3 players you give up for them.  It's more clearcut if you're getting a guy who was a consensus top player for 2-3 years in college and nailed the combine.  On a late riser, it's riskier.  In a year like this one, without 30 visits, etc, all picks are riskier.  Boards are going to be all over the place, so you're better off to trade back and grab the players you had rated highly, but other teams didn't have rated as highly.  We could conceivably get 3 guys we rate as first rounders if we trade back and get a late 1st and two 2nds.

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3 minutes ago, Mr. Captain Falcon said:

Honestly it's getting to the point where I just see a giant lottery and you hope for the best lol

Exactly. People are trying to make a science out of this ****. Doing analytics and statistics of past draft positions and ****. There is no science to it. 

The best any team can do is to find a guy are two that they think can really help their team, and do whatever is necessary to get those guys.

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The Tavon Austin trade up is a good case study for what a trade from #16 to #8 could look like. The Rams traded for the Bills’ first- and third-round choices (Nos. 8 and 71), with Buffalo getting St. Louis’ first-, second-, third- and seventh-round choices (Nos. 16, 46, 78, 222). With the No. 8 pick, the Rams drafted West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin. At No. 16, the Bills selected Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel.

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1 hour ago, takeitdown said:

Just makes it clearer that we should stay or move back to me.

I've been saying it here for 20 years now, and people always hate it. However, the harsh truth of the NFL Draft is that it's a numbers game. You want more lottery balls. Period. TD is actually exceptionally good at personnel evaluation. His track record is right there with anybody in the league's, and he'd still have done better by trading down twice a draft. Andy Reid had this right before anybody else. His lack of ego has really helped him here.

And yet, every year, there's always a handful of people saying, "Trade up to get Player X! He's the magic bullet!"

The best trade we ever could have made would have been to trade down from #6 to take Aaron Donald, who was high on our board. Jake's been fine, but we could have had a DPoY AND draft compensation. That 2014 draft was really something special.

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54 minutes ago, Snafu said:

Not trying to knock you OP,  but this proves nothing to me.

Just because other bone-headed GM's made moves to get a guy that they liked, it has nothing to do with our team. Also, it doesnt factor in the players that went top 15 that were worth being traded up for, but werent. Nor does it take into consideration our draft classes like 2017, 2012, 2010, 2009 and 2007 where we would have been better off using every draft pick we had to move up for an elite guy, than wasting literally every pick we had on the guys we got.

 

IMO, draft picks are over-valued. People treat them like gold doubloons. Those picks aint worth **** until you turn them into something. If there's a guy you feel 100% confident is a game changer for your team, it's worth whatever draft capital it takes to get him.

It's all good, man.

@takeitdown's reply to you pretty much summed up everything I was gonna say in a reply to your comments. But just to add on a few things...

I didn't do this with any sort of agenda one way or another, I just thought it'd be interesting to see all of the info in one place. What people deduce from that & whether or not they find it interesting or valuable info is entirely up to them. Personally, I felt like it showed there were both good and bad moves made. My own takeaway was that it was pretty dependent on position though... but again, to each their own.

Also, I didn't include "players in the top 15 that were worth being traded for, but weren't", because for that exact reason... they weren't traded for. At the time these drafts happened, nobody valued them enough to make a trade up... or else they would've traded for them & they would've been included on the list.

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Occasionally it messes with the player you trade up for. "Wow, they traded up for me, I'm the best. I don't have to work hard because of all my natural talent." And then you hear guys like Tom Brady, Frank Gore, and Grady Jarrett use being picked in later rounds as motivation to show all those teams that passed them over how bad they f'ed up.

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43 minutes ago, HASHBROWN3 said:

and all the TATF chicken littles went...

see no evil soccer GIF by Red Bull

So many here burning to trade up into top 5 or their heads will explode I think!

I say we stay at 16 or move back a bit.  WTF, it'd be enjoyable gathering picks & stocking the cupboards.  More fun to watch also.

I either want to go up for Chase or Simmons, stay put for Kinlaw, or move back for Winfield Jr.

Any of those happen and I'll be as happy as a pig in ****.

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20 hours ago, jidady said:

I've been saying it here for 20 years now, and people always hate it. However, the harsh truth of the NFL Draft is that it's a numbers game. You want more lottery balls. Period. TD is actually exceptionally good at personnel evaluation. His track record is right there with anybody in the league's, and he'd still have done better by trading down twice a draft. Andy Reid had this right before anybody else. His lack of ego has really helped him here.

And yet, every year, there's always a handful of people saying, "Trade up to get Player X! He's the magic bullet!"

The best trade we ever could have made would have been to trade down from #6 to take Aaron Donald, who was high on our board. Jake's been fine, but we could have had a DPoY AND draft compensation. That 2014 draft was really something special.

Jake's been sort of what was expected, and we sorely needed a tackle.  But yeah, Donald was the main guy that excited me that year.  He had some risk to him (small school, etc) but man he looked the part.  And turned out he was it.

Here's the thing on this draft.  In general you get more value from trading back.  But in this draft, you've seen several analysts say there's no consensus...that boards are all over the place.

Well, that means if you're a good drafting team, it's MORE likely a guy you like is going to drop to you that wouldn't normally.  Because a guy you like as the 20th best player may be the 40th best on most teams.  The lack of consensus means the guys who have a better eye for talent can get even more disproportionate value than normal.  Hang back and take the good players that drop that you never expected to see that low.

I've said it elsewhere, but if traded back to late 1st and grabbed a 2nd, It's very possible we could have 3 guys we grade as 1st rounders that we get in the 1st and 2nd.  Easily could have a DT, S, CB that we grade as first rounders that we can grab.

That's the way to do the best when there's more uncertainty.  

Especially if you believe you have a developmental coaching staff.  Just trading up for the best guy is saying "we can't really scout or develop, so we're going to give everything away to get this one person who everyone agrees is good."

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1 minute ago, takeitdown said:

 The lack of consensus means the guys who have a better eye for talent can get even more disproportionate value than normal.

Especially if you believe you have a developmental coaching staff.  Just trading up for the best guy is saying "we can't really scout or develop, so we're going to give everything away to get this one person who everyone agrees is good.

Your last paragraph really drives the point home. The sentence I pasted is the crux of the situation. I'll go back to the Rich McKay era. We took Jordan Beck over Michael Boley at #90 overall one year.

Then, because that was a deep draft, too, opinions were all over the place about the guys outside the top 75. When we were up at #160, Boley was still available. So, we jumped all over him, and he wound up as not just the better linebacker of the two but one of our best front seven players of the 21st century.

When we give up picks, we negate the chances of situations like that unfolding.

And yes, with a trade back, we should have a real chance at getting four or five players that we give first/second round grades.

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