The 201 NFL Draft is in the books, and we have plenty of content to catch you up on everything that happened, from team grades to winners and losers and plenty more. But now it’s time to take a big-picture look at all the wheeling and dealing that went on during the three-day marathon.
Teams made 38 trades during the event that included at least one pick (we’re not counting the soon-to-be legendary Ryan Switzer for Jihad Ward swap), including seven deals made in the first round. And we’re here to tell you who made the best and worst moves up the board.
In this ranking, we’re judging trades based solely by the team acquiring the most notable asset at the time the trade was made. For example, when the Bills moved from No. 12 to No. 7, they did so in order to draft Josh Allen, so we’re grading that deal from a Bills perspective. When the Steelers shipped Martavis Bryant to Oakland for a third-round pick while Round 1 was underway, they didn’t do it to immediately select a player, so we’re looking at that deal from the Raiders‘ perspective.
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Enough of the chit-chat, let’s get to it.
I like Marcus Davenport and think he could develop into a great player, but this is a massive price to pay for a guy who isn’t a locked-in blue-chipper at the top of the draft (like Bradley Chubb) or a franchise QB. When the deal was announced, I thought (as did many others, I’m sure) that they were jumping up for Lamar Jackson and planning for the future, which would have been understandable.
Getting Davenport instead helps their chances at a title while Drew Brees is still the QB, but there were guys available at the end of the first round who could have also done that and let you add another impact player (or a Brees heir) in Round 1 next year. Give me that 2019 first plus a Taven Bryan, or a Harold Landry, or a Dallas Goedert, over Davenport.
- Raiders get WR M.Bryant
- Steelers get No. 79
The Raiders need depth at receiver, so this is a move that makes sense on the surface. But consider that Martavis Bryant is coming off a down season and that he has just one year left on his deal. Now consider that the Raiders could have drafted Michael Gallup or any of a number of receivers had they kept No. 79 and gotten four years of control on that prospect for pocket change. This deal feels like a big overpay for the Raiders.
Jordan Mailata has never played football; he was selected off Russell Crowe’s rugby team in Australia. Seriously. That’s not the type of guy you trade two picks for, including one next year. Sure, other teams met with Mailata and may have ended up sniping the Eagles before No. 250. If that happens, how about you take a guy who has some experience playing football? Desmond Harrison is one wild card who went undrafted at tackle, I’d rather have him than spend two picks on such an unknown quantity in the rugby player.
- Bills get No. 7 (QB Allen)
- Bucs get No. 12, 53, 56
I’m all for trading what you have to in order to get a guy who could be a franchise quarterback if you need one, but aside from the fact the Bills got a QB, there isn’t too much to like about this deal.
First, the price they paid was wildly expensive, making it seem like that was what they had settled on to move up to No. 5 for Josh Allen, then just kept their side of the deal the same when the Broncos had Bradley Chubb fall into their laps. By my calculations, the difference between No. 7 and the package the Bills traded is worth about No. 47 overall, which is a higher pick in and of itself than either they gave up.
Then you have the fact that it could easily turn out they passed on a better QB in Josh Rosen, who the Cardinals also moved five spots up for while paying a much smaller price. If the Bills move up to No. 10 for the more pro-ready Rosen and pay like a fourth-rounder, I might put that deal No. 1. But to overpay for a guy who is more projection than production at this point has to make this rank pretty low.
- Raiders get No. 65 (OT Parker)
- Ravens get No. 75, 152, 212
In terms of pick value this wasn’t a bad move, but I’m not sure I understand it. The Raiders need talent on defense, yet they trade three picks for a tackle after selecting a tackle in Round 1? And Brandon Parker wasn’t even a highly-rated prospect; I can’t see why you’d trade up 10 spots for him when Orlando Brown and other solid tackle prospects are on the board, especially when it costs two extra picks to do so.
A former top-10 overall pick, Tavon Austin is reportedly seen as a running back by the Cowboys. So rather than use No. 192 on a low-cost player, maybe even a third-down type running back like they want Austin to be, the Cowboys would rather pay a guy $3 million to play a new position. Forget the name value, not sure I get this one. Iowa’s Akrum Wadley went undrafted; why not just take him?
- Chiefs get No. 75 (DT Nnadi)
- Ravens get No. 86, 122
This was a big overpay, and the Chiefs did it so they could select a run defender who at his best is likely playing on first and second down. And they traded up earlier to get their third-down defensive tackle. Derrick Nnadi is an OK value in the third round, but it would have been smarter to stay put and pivot to another position if he’s gone.
- Patriots get No. 56 (CB Dawson)
- Buccaneers get No. 63, 117
The Patriots made a lot of moves in this draft, landing future picks and plenty of later selections. But I wasn’t a fan of this one. No. 117 is what they got to move down from No. 43 to 51, which they did rather than draft a Josh Jackson or Dallas Goedert. To use it to move up for a corner in Duke Dawson who probably would have made it to No. 63 is a misstep, especially considering the deal was an overpay. I actually prefer the corner the Bucs landed at No. 63, Carlton Davis.
This wasn’t a severe overpay, but I’m not sure Tyquan Lewis was talented enough to be a Round 2 selection. I’m certainly not a fan of trading something, even a late pick, to make sure I lock him in. The Colts later traded a better defensive lineman away for a late pick on Day 3.
- Chiefs get No. 46 (OLB Speaks), 100
- Bengals get No. 54, 78
The value here in moving up is fine, but I’m not sure I necessarily like the prospect. Breeland Speaks was a defensive tackle in college, yet the Chiefs are going to play the 285-pounder at outside linebacker in base sets. The Chiefs will have the benefit of playing him inside on third down, where he obviously has experience, but if an edge rusher was the priority, I would have been much happier with a guy like Lorenzo Carter at No. 46. At the very least, stay put at No. 54, where Speaks would have likely been available.
- Browns get No. 105 (WR Callaway)
- Patriots get No. 114, 178
I didn’t expect to see Antonio Callaway drafted this high due to off-field concerns, and I certainly didn’t expect a team to trade up for him. He’s talented, but so is Josh Gordon, and I’m not sure it’s worth spending two picks to get a guy who could be a potential headache down the road.
Dante Pettis could end up being a nice weapon as a receiver and in the return game, but there were better receivers on the board, and this is a big overpay to move up 15 spots. Pettis’ talent could still win out, but that doesn’t mean this was a smart move. Nice job by Washington to move down to No. 59 and still land Derrius Guice though.
Tyler Conklin was a decent value this late, but I’m not sure he’s worth spending two picks on. Still, there wasn’t much talent at the position drafted behind him. The weird part of this deal was that the Jets sent that package right back to the Vikings 10 picks later for two other picks. Maybe the Jets need to learn to say no.
- Vikings get No. 167 (K Carlson), 225
- Jets get No. 180, 204
I’ll give the Vikings bonus points for fleecing the Jets in this deal, as the Jets should have refused to give them a second pick back after just agreeing to move back earlier. We also saw some quality talent come off the board in the 13 spots between No. 167 and 180, including tackle Jamarco Jones and defensive lineman Duke Ejiofor. But trading up for a kicker? This feels like a lose-lose.
- Lions get No. 43 (RB K.Johnson)
- Patriots get No. 51, 117
I like Kerryon Johnson, and this is a bit of a bargain to move up to No. 117, so I’m not going to complete going to trash the move. But Johnson could have easily made it to No. 51, and even if he didn’t Derrius Guice didn’t come off the board until No. 59. If Guice ends up a better pro than Johnson, this is going to look like a terrible decision.
- Titans get No. 152 (DB Cruikshank)
- Ravens get No. 162, 215
I think Dane Cruikshank could end up carving out a role for the Titans, so I have no issue landing him here. But the Titans made two trades up earlier in draft (and I loved both of them), leaving them short on picks heading into Day 3. To sacrifice another to move 10 spots, even if it’s a guy you like, isn’t a great move, and it left them with just four drafted players by the end of the day.
- Lions get No. 114 (DE Hand)
- Patriots get 2019 3rd
This was about the range for Da’Shawn Hand to go. He’s a former top recruit and it’s possible Matt Patricia unlocks his talent. But I’m not sure about giving up a 2019 third for him, which is the offshoot of trading up for the running back earlier and sacrificing No. 117 in the process.
- Packers get No. 88 (ILB Burks)
- Panthers get No. 101, 147
I thought Oren Burks was a bit of a reach in Round 3, but the deal to move up for him was relatively fair. I prefer inside linebackers like Kenny Young and Josey Jewell, and the Packers could have been better off staying put and taking one of them.
- Buccaneers get No. 94 (OL Cappa)
- Vikings get No. 102, 180
I love the value the Bucs got in moving back to No. 12 in Round 1, especially considering Quenton Nelson was off the board. There wasn’t much interior line talent left on the board at this point in the third round, so if the Bucs are convinced Alex Cappa can develop into a starter at guard, this move is going to be worth it. I don’t know that he was worth taking this high, but the 49ers were picking next and had worked Cappa out, so who knows.
- Chiefs get No. 198 (G McKenzie)
- Patriots get No. 233, 243
The Chiefs got value in the cost they paid to make this deal, and they have to get bonus points for the troll job inherent in selecting the son of a division rival’s general manager. However, Kahlil McKenzie is nothing but a project as a conversion of offensive line, so I’m not sure I would have paid two picks for him.
- Eagles get No. 49 (TE Goedert)
- Colts get No. 52, 169
Bonus points for moving up a couple spots (at a value price) and taking a tight end out of their division rivals’ grasp the day it’s reported Jason Witten is likely retiring. And his name is Dallas Goedert? Can’t get much better than that. The only knock against this deal is that I’m not sure how much of a priority a second tight end should be, especially considering this was their first pick of the draft.
- Raiders get No. 87 (DE Key)
- Rams get No. 89, 217
Arden Key is seen as a guy with off-field flags, but he has as much upside as the top pass-rushers in this draft when he’s on the field. And rather than sit tight and hope the Panthers pass on him at No. 88, they sacrifice a late pick to go up and get him. It’s the type of move worth making for someone with this much upside. And right after the Raiders made the move, the Panthers traded back, which could mean he was their target.
- Patriots get OT Brown, No. 143
- 49ers get No. 95
The Patriots picked up a tackle in Trent Brown who made strides last season in pass protection, and if he proves a capable starter, it’s going to make this deal look great. He only has one year left on his deal and is coming off labrum surgery, so don’t be surprised if the team tries to lock him up on an affordable extension. Brown makes for a nice insurance policy in case Isaiah Wynn isn’t cut out for tackle and has to kick inside to guard.
- Seahawks get No. 149 (P Dickson)
- Broncos get No. 156, 226
This didn’t cost the Seahawks much, but trading up for a punter? That always seems like a bad idea, but this is the rare punter who might be worth it. I thought Michael Dickson would go in Round 4, so this is a nice value here.
- Falcons get No. 194 (WR Gage)
- Rams get No. 244, 256
Not a big fan of the player they got here in Russell Gage, especially after spending a first-rounder on Calvin Ridley earlier. But if Gage excels on special teams, he’s worth a pick this late. And the price can’t be beat, with it only costing the Falcons the last pick in the draft to jump 50 spots.
- Redskins get No. 197 (LB Hamilton), 256
- Rams get No. 205, 231
Decent move for the Redskins here, and I like getting that second pick in the deal. Shaun Dion Hamilton is a much better player than being selected this late would have you believe. If he can stay healthy, the Redskins got a steal here.
- Panthers get No. 136 (LB Haynes)
- Rams get No. 147, 197
This was a good spot to take a talent like Marquis Haynes, and the cost to trade up wasn’t too bad. I would have been surprised to see him last 11 more picks.
- Ravens get No. 32 (QB Jackson), 132
- Eagles get No. 52, 125, 2019 2nd
The Ravens did a lot of wheeling and dealing in Round 1, and while I like this deal best for them of the three they made, I feel like the missed opportunity of not getting more to move down from No. 22 resulted in this deal including a second-rounder next year. For instance, if they had landed a third-rounder to trade down to No. 28 before taking Hayden Hurst, could they have traded No. 65 (acquired in the trade down from No. 16) in this deal rather than a future second? The Eagles started the day with no Day 2 picks, so landing No. 52 and 65 could have had appeal to them.
But that’s picking nits. This wasn’t a terrible price to move up for a potential franchise quarterback, and if Lamar Jackson turns out to be a star, it’s a price NFL teams should be willing to pay 100 times out of 100.
- Bears get No. 51 (WR Miller)
- Patriots get No. 105, 2019 2nd
Love Anthony Miller, and I think he could be a starter in the NFL for a long time. I’m usually not a fan of trading future picks, but this wasn’t a terrible price to pay for Miller, and when you consider the Bears’ first two picks (Roquan Smith, James Daniels), this gives them a stellar draft class while still in the middle of the second round.
- Rams get No. 160 (OLB Okoronkwo)
- Broncos get No. 183, 217
This is a great value in terms of cost, jumping up 23 spots and only having to pay No. 217 to do it. The Rams also got a potential steal in Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, who could flourish as a pass-rusher under Wade Phillips. This was a sneaky good deal that was likely overlooked on draft day.
- Titans get No. 41 (OLB Landry)
- Raiders get No. 57, 89
The Titans land a first-round talent at what’s going to be a position of need come 2019, and they actually come out ahead in terms of pick value in doing it. It’s a fine move for the Titans, though not as good as the one they made in the first round. It also left them a little light on remaining picks, which means bringing in fewer potential contributors, but for Harold Landry, it’s worth it.
- Raiders get No. 140 (DT Hurst)
- Colts get No. 159, 185
The Raiders had a lot of Day 3 picks to burn, and it’s worth it to use one to move up for a guy you think is a steal in the fifth round. Who knows if Maurice Hurst’s medicals ultimately keep him off the field long-term, but on talent along he’s a surefire first-rounder. That’s the type of guy you should be looking for on Day 3.
- Jets get DE Anderson
- Colts get No. 235
Henry Anderson apparently wasn’t a fit for the Colts’ new 4-3 scheme, so they decided to give him away for a late pick. But he’s an excellent run defender who should continue to play well in the Jets’ 3-4 alignment. Great pickup by the Jets here.
- Bills get No. 16 (LB Edmunds), 154
- Ravens get No. 22, 65
I was harsh on the Bills for their trade into the top 10 for Josh Allen, but I’m a much bigger fan of what they did to land Tremaine Edmunds. The price wasn’t too prohibitive, especially when you consider what the Saints paid to move up for another pass-rush talent. And the Bills were able to get a second pick back in the deal, which they used on secondary depth. Edmunds was expected to be a top-10 pick and fall no further than No. 11, so getting aggressive to get him at No. 16 was a great move.
In fact, if you swap where each of the Bills’ two first-round picks were selected, you can feel a lot better about their deals in tandem. Had they moved to No. 7 for Edmunds, paying two seconds would have been a lot, but New Orleans surrendered a 2019 first for potentially a lesser talent on defense. And getting Josh Allen at No. 16 and only having to trade back to No. 154 from 65 to do it would have been just fine with me.
- Titans get No. 22 (LB Evans), 215
- Ravens get No. 25, 125
After Leighton Vander Esch came off the board at No. 19, there was just one off-ball linebacker worth taking in the first round, and Titans made a great move to get him. The Ravens were clearly looking to move back, and they actually got the worse side of this deal from a pick value perspective.
That may be the price they paid to choose not to trade with their division rivals, as one can assume the Steelers would have beaten this offer. In fact, from a value perspective, the No. 22 pick matches up with a package of No. 28 and 92, the latter being the Steelers’ third-rounder. Why wouldn’t the Ravens call up the Steelers and try to get that deal before taking this one, unless they were completely against the idea of Rashaan Evans landing in their division? Whatever the case, the Titans come out looking great in this deal.
- Steelers get No. 76 (QB Rudolph)
- Seahawks get No. 79, 220
Look, I can’t pretend to tell you whether Mason Rudolph is going to be a franchise quarterback. But the Steelers could have taken him at No. 28 and I wouldn’t have had an issue with it. Who knows how much longer Ben Roethlisberger has, and Rudolph at least has potential to be their next long-term starter. And they paid next to nothing to move in front of the division-rival Bengals, who were seen as a darkhorse to take Lamar Jackson in Round 1 and had the next two picks after No. 76. Great move for Pittsburgh.
- Packers get No. 18 (CB Alexander), 248
- Seahawks get No. 27, 76, 186
The Packers made a smart decision by trading back from No. 14 and picking up a 2019 first-rounder from the Saints. And that decision came out looking even better when they were still able to get the player they wanted by trading back up.
It’s unlikely Jaire Alexander would have made it to No. 27, with teams like the Bengals and Panthers as possible landing spots. So the Packers packaged two picks to make a move up while also getting a second pick back from the Seahawks. And if you’re scoring at home, having a 2019 first-round pick is far preferable to keeping control of No. 76 and 186. Regardless of how Alexander turns out, the Packers made a pair of excellent deals in Round 1.
- Cardinals get No. 10 (QB Rosen)
- Raiders get No. 15, 79, 152
Unlike the other team that traded into a top 10 for a quarterback, the Cardinals made a fantastic deal. Not only did they pay about market price to move up for a quarterback, which teams tend to overpay for thanks to the value associated with landing a franchise passer at an under-market deal, they may have gotten the better quarterback of the two to slip out of the top five. Maybe even the best QB in the draft overall.
Josh Rosen looks ready to play from Day 1 if that’s what the team wants, and it’s entirely possible he’ll be playing before too long if that Cardinals offensive line fails to keep Sam Bradford healthy. The Cardinals needed a long-term starter in the worst way, and despite starting the day picking 15th, they may have landed one for a relatively small price. Well done.
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