Moving Up, Moving Down: Winners and Losers of Draft Day Trades

Christian PurcellContributor IMay 4, 2010

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots watches the second quarter of the game against the Buffalo Bills on September 14, 2009 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Every general manager in the NFL is highly qualified and exceptionally capable of doing their job. As fans, we often feel the need to criticize, even though we don't have comparable knowledge of the business or the game.

In the 2010 NFL draft, some teams exhibited questionable decision making, and although I'm well aware that my credentials don't give me the ability to criticize those decisions, I feel it is well within my rights to question the thought process.

Every draft is better analyzed in retrospect, however, there are certainly teams that will benefit from draft day trades in the short term. Equally, there are teams and players that will pay the consequences for the same transactions.


New England Patriots:

The Patriots achieve success in draft day trades by ensuring they get good value for each of their transactions.

Value for draft picks can be determined as follows,

When trading draft picks, NFL teams consult a chart that gives a numerical value for every pick in the draft. With these values, teams know how to package their picks to make a fair trade.

On this chart the first overall pick has a value of 3000, the 100th overall pick has a value of 100, and the 200th overall pick has a value of 12.4.

For example, at the end of the first round, the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings exchanged draft picks.

To Detroit,

  • 30th overall(620)
  • 128th overall(44)

To Minnesota,

  • 34th overall(560)
  • 100th overall(100)
  • 214th overall(6.8)

Margin: Minnesota +2.8.

Based this draft chart, the Patriots 'won' every deal they made on draft day. In the span of three days, New England made six trades and gained a total value of 122.6.

Individually, those trades seem irrelevant, but cumulatively, those trades amount to an additional 3rd round selection.

Not included above, the fact that the Patriots exchanged their third round selection for Carolina's second round selection on 2011, which will almost certainly be a pick in the first half of the round.

So to recap, the Patriots gained 122.6 in six draft day transactions. They then exchanged the 89th overall selection, value of 121, for a second round pick.

In other words, smart draft day decisions allowed the Patriots acquire a top-50 pick in 2011.

Kevin Colbert, Director of Football Operations, Pittsburgh Steelers

Kevin Colbert is responsible for the most heavily criticized trade of the 2010 offseason.

Trading Santonio Holmes for a fifth round selection is puzzling for even the most cautious Colbert supporter.

To restore faith in the Steeler fan base, Colbert needed to make an impact with that particular selection. In bringing back Bryant McFadden and a 6th round selection, the Steelers did just that.

Going into 2010, the Steelers had two glaring needs, offensive line and secondary. In exchange for Santonio Holmes, the Steelers added a proven starter at corner, while also giving the team the ability to use their early selections to help their offensive line.

Tyson Alualu, defensive end, Jacksonville Jaguars:

Tyson Alualu didn't benefit from a trade, but instead, a lack there of.

The Jaguars wanted to use their first overall selection on Alualu, however I feel confident in saying, they didn't want to select him 10th overall.

Post-draft, reports have surfaced that the Jaguars were actively trying to move down in the draft, but couldn't find a partner to trade with.

They were left with a decision, select the player they wanted or choose another player who would be qualify as a top-10 pick.

The Jaguars failure to find a trading partner, guaranteed Alualu a multi-million dollar deal, as oppose to the significantly smaller contracts given to players selected late in the first round.

Miami Dolphins:

In the acquisition of Brandon Marshall, the Dolphins sacrificed their second round selection in 2010.

In the first hour of the draft, the Dolphins were able to recuperate that pick, while still addressing their primary need in the first round.

In trading the 12th overall selection, the Dolphins added Brandon Marshall, while still adding two quality pass rushers in the first two rounds.

Although Jared Odrick and Koa Misi may not have been the best pass rushers available, they are a very good fit for Miami's 3-4 defense.

Taking the Brandon Marshall trade into account, the Dolphins were able to address two pressing needs, while only sacrificing 26 positions in the draft.


Denver Broncos:

Even though they have been subject to criticism, declaring the Broncos as 'losers' in 2010, has absolutely nothing to do with the players they selected.

Instead, we'll have to refer, once again, to our draft value chart.

In the same way the Patriots added value with every transaction, the Broncos gave value away in every draft day trade.

In the first round, no team was more active than Denver, with four trades, the Broncos gained two first round selections for a value deficit of 131.

Most notably, in trading up to select Tim Tebow, the Broncos lost the equivalent of a fourth round selection.

Antonio Cromartie, CB, New York Jets:

The Jets didn't make a trade in the first round, however, trades made by other teams could have effected the future of Antonio Cromartie.

Kyle Wilson should never have been available at 29th overall. Teams that traded out of the first round would have certainly selected Wilson, but through a sequence of unpredictable selections, Wilson fell to the Jets.

Antonio Cromartie is good, but from early indications, Kyle Wilson appears to be very good.

Although it isn't a foregone conclusion, no one would be surprised to see Wilson surpass Cromartie on the depth chart at some point in 2010.

With one selection, Antonio Cromartie's 2010 outlook has gone from promising to abysmal.

Cromartie will be a free agent at the end of 2010, his earning power as a nickel corner would be a significant step down from that of a starting corner.

Oakland Raider Quarterbacks:

With the JaMarcus Russell experiment all but over, the quarterback position for the Raiders was up for grabs. Charlie Frye, Kyle Boller and Bruce Gradkowski would have been given equal opportunity to earn the job.

With the addition of Jason Campbell, it's likely that two of those quarterbacks will be cut before the beginning of the season.

Quite a turnaround, to go from a potential NFL starter in the NFL to potential UFL starter.

At least they can ease their minds with the fact that JaMarcus Russell will earn 9.5 million dollars for sitting on the bench in 2010.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.