We rarely see the top overall pick in a draft traded, especially a few weeks before the draft is set to even begin. Yet, that’s exactly what happened with the top-2 overall picks in the 2016 draft.
Those crazy deals undoubtedly gave us two of the most crazy trades in NFL draft history, but here they all are in one place for you.
The price points for these trades were essentially based off the 2012 RG3 trade (which you’ll read about later). But as time goes on the price rises, which is why L.A. and Philly had to pay so heavily to move up in a draft where the top-2 QB prospects don’t even compare to Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin. We have no clue what will wind up happening with these two trades, but history tells us that the Titans and Browns will likely win the deals. Here’s the prices they paid.
Tennessee chipped in its fourth and sixth-rounders this season, along with the top overall selection, in exchange for two first-round picks, two second-round picks (both this year) and two third-round picks.
Cleveland threw in a future fourth-round pick along with No. 2 overall in order to acquire two first-rounders (one being the No. 8 overall pick that the Eagles moved up to in a trade with Miami), and a second, third and fourth-round pick.
Tonight we can start to put some names to all these picks, but even then, it takes another five years to tell who the real winner is.
The Browns just had to have Trent Richardson. So much so that they felt the need to trade up from No. 4 to No. 3 to get him when the team holding that third pick was the Vikings … who had Adrian Peterson. It didn’t make much sense, but to swap picks the Vikings basically stumbled upon three free late-round picks from Cleveland. Maybe if the Browns were on to something here and hit on the pick it wouldn’t be a big deal. But Richardson is one of the biggest busts in recent draft history. At least they were able to get a first-rounder for T-Rich from the Colts … which they went on to use on Johnny Manziel.
Why did the Browns feel so compelled to move up and find a star in 2012? Probably because they passed up on Julio Jones the year before. This is just kind of how things go for Cleveland. The Falcons jumped all the way from No. 27 to No. 6 to get Jones, but it’s clearly been worth it. The final price tag for Jones was a pair of first-round picks, a second-rounder and two fourth-rounders. Here’s proof that trading up can be the right move if you’re smart about it.
The Falcons needed a QB badly in 2001 and were willing to pay the price to get Michael Vick. They moved from No. 5 overall to the top of the draft, which cost them their first and third-rounders in that draft and a second-round pick the next year (along with Tim Dwight). Vick may have worked out for a few years in Atlanta, but the Chargers used that No. 5 pick on LaDainian Tomlinson and also came out of the draft with Drew Brees.
This was one of the more interesting trades in NFL history. The Chargers selected Eli Manning with the top overall pick, but it was well known Eli wouldn’t play in San Diego. Once the Giants selected Philip Rivers at No. 4 overall, the swap was on. The Chargers also got three future picks, one of which was used to select Shawne Merriman. Both teams have made out well since the trade, but clearly the edge has to go to Eli and the Giants considering the two Super Bowl victories they’ve pulled out.
Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf? That was the question back in ’98. The answer is obvious now, but back then the Chargers felt confident enough to make a major move up to No. 2 to take the Colts’ leftovers. To move up just one pick, San Diego handed over the No. 3 and 33 overall picks along with the No. 8 pick in the 1999 draft. It goes without mentioning that the Chargers lost this trade, but Arizona didn’t exactly win it either, squandering those picks on players that never became stars.
The reason the Rams had all this wealth to jump up and grab the top overall pick this season? All the picks they received in the RG3 trade. Washington received the No. 2 overall pick while St. Louis got a return of three first-rounders and a second-round pick. At first it looked like the Redskins made out like bandits, but things change quickly, and now the Browns are the only team willing to take a chance on Griffin. Of course, their QB of the future was right in front of them in Kirk Cousins, who Washington selected later in the same draft. The Rams passed on Griffin because they already had Sam Bradford, but they did use those picks to build up a dominant defense. A lot rides on them finding their QB at the top of this year’s draft. And now, of course, Bradford is angry in Philly because the Eagles traded up for the pick after his ex-team’s to select a QB to replace him. Funny how all this ties together.
Mike Ditka and the Saints were heavily criticized for this move back in 1999, but just imagine if a team pulled a stunt like this in today’s NFL. In exchange for the No. 5 overall pick, used to select Ricky Williams, New Orleans sent Washington ALL SEVEN of its picks in the ’99 draft (including No. 12 overall) along with first and third-rounders in 2000. The ‘Skins swindled Champ Bailey and LaVar Arrington out of the trade while the Saints moved Williams for a pair of first-round picks after just three seasons. An entire draft plus more was once traded for a running back.
The Vikings really wanted Herschel Walker, but the Cowboys were playing hard to get, eventually getting Minnesota to vastly overpay. Walker went to the Vikings (where he’d manage three mediocre seasons) along with four late-round picks. The Cowboys, on the other hand, received five players, three first-rounders, three second-rounders and a pair of third-round picks. Talk about a haul. Two of those picks were used on Emmitt Smith and Darren Woodson. Essentially the trade created the entire ’90’s Cowboys dynasty.
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