2012 NFL Draft Grades: Grading Best Trades from Draft Weekend

Kyle Ramos@Kyle_RamosCorrespondent IApril 30, 2012

2012 NFL Draft Grades: Grading Best Trades from Draft Weekend

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    The first round of this year's NFL draft saw a lot of shuffling around in the draft order with eight trades taking place and teams moving up and down.

    It was certainly a hectic day for GMs trying to make moves to fill team needs and get the top player on their draft boards.

    Now, let's take a look at some of the best trades that went down during the first round of the draft this past Thursday.

St. Louis Rams Trade 2nd Overall Pick to the Washington Redskins

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    This was a trade done long before draft day, and the Rams made a splash by trading out of the Andrew Luck/Robert Griffin III sweepstakes.  

    Knowing they had a valuable pick on their hands and plenty of teams desperate to have it, St. Louis did the right thing by trading down to the No. 6 spot held by the Redskins and received a nice package of picks in the process.

    In return for their second overall pick, the Rams received the No. 6 pick, as well as the 2012 second-round pick and two first-round picks (in 2013 and 2014) from the Redskins.

    Though the Rams ended up trading down again with the sixth pick, it was a lucrative decision for them to deal their way out of the No. 2 spot and still make a solid draft selection in the first round (DT Michael Brockers).

    While Washington drafted what many are speculating to be their quarterback of the future in RGIII, the Rams will have the next few drafts to rebuild their team with several draft picks.


    Grade: A

Dallas Cowboys Trade Up to No. 6

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    After a disastrous end to last season that saw the Cowboys miss the postseason by one game, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is looking to get his team back on track by improving their defense.

    Dallas decided to go for the best defensive back in the draft in Morris Claiborne by trading up to the sixth overall pick and did so with minimal damage.

    The Cowboys dealt their 14th overall pick and their second-round pick to the Rams in exchange for Claiborne who could become a very special player in the NFL.  Dallas will be welcoming him with open arms after their atrocious play in the secondary last season which ranked them 23rd in passing yards allowed.

    Overall, this was a good move by a team that needed some good young talent to stay afloat in a very tough NFC East division.


    Grade: A-

Minnesota Vikings Trade Down to No. 4

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    Last week there was a lot of rumors about the Vikings possibly shopping their third overall pick, and this was eventually confirmed when the Cleveland Browns made a draft-day decision to trade up one spot and select running back Trent Richardson.

    This was a great scenario for Minnesota who received the fourth overall pick plus Cleveland's fourth, fifth and seventh round selections as well.

    The best part of this was that the Vikings still got the player they wanted (Matt Kalil) and took advantage of a Browns team that wanted to protect the player that they coveted the most.


    Grade: A+

New England Patriots Trade Up Twice to No. 21 and No. 25

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    The Patriots have been notorious to be quiet in recent years in terms of moving around in the draft order, but after a year where they struggled defensively, New England sought to acquire young talent in a draft abundant with defensive players.

    New England decided to essentially put all of their eggs into one basket (the first round) and used their later round picks to trade up and select DE Chandler Jones with the 21st pick and LB Dont'a Hightower with the 25th pick.

    Both of these players could develop into contributors for a lackluster Patriots defense which was second to last in the NFL in yards allowed per game (293.9).


    Grade: B+

Philadelphia Eagles Trade Up to No. 12

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    The Eagles made plenty of offseason acquisitions last year but failed to live up to expectations and missed the playoffs.

    Philadelphia was looking to build on the strong foundation of its defense this year, however, and traded up with Seattle to the 12th overall slot.

    In the process, the Eagles traded away their first-round pick along with their fourth- and fifth-round selections.

    With their pick, the Eagles got a great prospect in Fletcher Cox who may end up being the best nose tackle in the draft this year, and he may make an impact on an already solid Philadelphia defense.


    Grade: B

Jacksonville Jaguars Trade Up to No. 5

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    Holding the seventh overall pick, the Jags weren't too sure if they would be able to get their man.  

    So they made their move and swapped first-round picks with the Buccaneers (and added in their fourth-rounder) to move up to fifth overall and select arguably the best wide receiver prospect in the draft in Justin Blackmon.

    This move fills a huge need that the Jags had and might give quarterback Blaine Gabbert the weapon he needs to expedite his development.  

    By giving up only one additional pick to trade into the Top Five of the draft, Jacksonville might have made the steal of the draft by getting Blackmon at such a low cost.


    Grade: A