2012 NFL Draft Trades: Grades & Analysis for Every Trade of Round 1

Ryan Alfieri@Ryan_AlfieriCorrespondent IIIApril 27, 2012

2012 NFL Draft Trades: Grades & Analysis for Every Trade of Round 1

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    There is no score to keep, but the NFL draft is always an adrenaline rush as teams make decisions that will impact their franchises for years to come.

    There were some shocking picks tonight and some trades that no one saw coming, such as Dallas moving up for Morris Claiborne or the Patriots moving up not once, but twice to solidify their front seven. 

    Here is a recap of every trade in the first round with grades to follow. 

Cleveland Browns Trade 4th, 5th, 7th Round Picks for Trent Richardson

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    In the first big move of the night, the Browns gave up three late picks to the Vikings to move up just one spot in the draft in order to secure the rights to pick Trent Richardson. 

    Minnesota did an admirable job in creating a seemingly dead market for the third pick, convincing the Browns that another team would jump in front of them to land Richardson. 

    In terms of trade value, it works out about even according to the trade chart. Cleveland was able to not give up any early picks, which is key for a team that lacks impact players. 

    For Minnesota, moving back a spot had no impact on their draft plans; they were not in the market for Trent Richardson with Adrian Peterson on the roster. 

    Yes, it is a lot to give up for a running back, but Richardson is no ordinary back. He will be the star of the Browns' offense for the foreseeable future. 

    Grade: A-

Jacksonville Jaguars Trade 1st and 4th Round Picks for Justin Blackmon

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    In a somewhat surprising move, the Jaguars moved up two spots to secure the rights to Justin Blackmon. 

    For the price, I have no problem with this move. Regarded as the top receiver in the draft by most experts, there was no guaranteeing that he would be available at pick No. 7. Sacrificing just a fourth-round pick to ensure that they got their man, this was a good move. 

    Blackmon is not on the same level as Julio Jones or A.J. Green, but the Jaguars receiving corps needs all the talent he can get. 

    On the other side, I was surprised that Tampa was willing to pass on a chance at a player like Morris Claiborne for just a fourth-round pick. 

    Grade: A-

Dallas Cowboys Trade 1st and 2nd Round Picks for Morris Claiborne

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    Dallas made the first big jump up the draft in a move with the St. Louis Rams to land the consensus top corner in the draft, Morris Claiborne. 

    Claiborne is a terrific cover corner and will be a huge upgrade in a secondary that gave up a ton of yards last year, especially late in games. With Brandon Carr on the other side, Dallas will now have a brand new starting cornerback tandem. 

    As for the price of the pick, moving up seven spots to such a high position in the draft is well worth the price of a second-round pick, especially considering how Claiborne fills a huge area of need for the Cowboys. 

    Grade: A

Philadelphia Eagles Trade Picks No. 15, 114, and 172 for Fletcher Cox

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    After watching the most productive defensive tackle on the board slip to No. 12, the Eagles pounced on the opportunity to get a steal in the top half of the first round. 

    Cox is regarded by some to be the top defensive lineman in the draft. Unlike Dontari Poe, he has actually produced against top competition in the SEC. 

    The Eagles only had to give up a pair of later round picks to move up and get a great prospect at a position of need. Hard to knock them for such a move. 

    Grade: A

New England Patriots Trade 27th and 93rd Pick to Select Chandler Jones

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    After spending the last several years trading down in the draft, Belichick decides to shake things up by moving into the Bengals' spot for Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones. 

    Jones is a raw prospect with great size for as 3-4 outside linebacker. However, injuries have put a damper on his college production. 

    Jones was a player rumored to go in the top 16 picks, so New England had to be a bit surprised to see him still on the board. Giving up a third-round pick is not a real hefty price, but the Patriots only have a few picks this year, all of them in the top four rounds. 

    Grade: B+

New England Patriots Trade Pick No. 31 and 126 for Dont'a Hightower

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    Belichick has now traded up twice in the same draft, both times in the first round. 

    Yep, we've seen it at. 

    The Patriots clearly need help on the defensive side of the draft, but I fail to see the fit here. The Pats seem set at inside linebacker with Mayo and Spikes. Hightower is not good enough in coverage to be used on third downs in coverage. 

    He does have some pass rush ability, but with Nick Perry still on the board, the Pats still could have waited to see how the board played out if they wanted to add another pass rusher. 

    This pick would have been questionable enough at No. 31, but sacrificing a precious pick for a projection player is a head-scratching move. 

    Grade: C-

Minnesota Vikings Trade Pick No. 35 and 98 for Harrison Smith

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    There is no question that the Vikings are at the bottom of the league in terms of safety play. With few options left at the safety position, Minnesota made a move to get the second-best safety in the draft. 

    Harrison is not going to be the next Troy Polamalu, but he is a two-time captain and an all-around solid player that would be an instant upgrade over anyone else on the depth chart. 

    The Vikings were able to get a bunch of extra picks from the Browns earlier in the draft, so to spend an extra mid-round pick to secure a starter at a position of desperate need makes plenty of sense. 

    Grade: B

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Trade Picks No. 36 and 101 for Doug Martin and Pick No. 126

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    With Greg Schiano running the show, the Bucs are going to go back to playing smart, ball-control football. Outside of Trent Richardson, you would be hard-pressed to find a better player than Doug Martin to fit Schiano's mentality. 

    Martin is a very well-rounded back that is excellent in pass protection, a rarity for young backs. 

    Tampa gave up very little to move back into the first, swapping just fourth-round picks to get a quality football player.

    Grade: A