NFL Draft Day One: Trade Recap, Analysis

Day one is in the books, and there are countless write ups about player fits, draft grades, and best prospects left on the board.

An area much less talked about is draft-day trades. It’s easy to focus solely on the player that a team moved up for, but remember… those mid-to-late round picks can end up being all-pro players (Russell Wilson, Josh Norman, Richard Sherman, etc.). Teams certainly shouldn’t be giving up their resources without a compelling reason to do so.

So, when trading up, how much is ‘too much’ ? The NFL trade value chart provides one vehicle to determine that. As I wrote about earlier this week, teams are definitely using the chart as a framework for their trades, with the exceptions tending to come in the top six picks of the draft.

Let’s see how teams fared with this year’s Round 1 Trades. All point values are according to the trade value chart:

Titans trade #1 overall pick to Rams; Browns trade #2 overall pick to Eagles

See my article from earlier in the week for the value breakdowns of these two trades (hint: the teams trading down won in a landslide).

Browns trade #8 overall pick to Titans

The Trade:

Browns receive:

  • 15th overall pick (1050 points)
  • 76th overall pick (210 points)
  • 2017 2nd round pick (430 points – used middle of the round since we don’t know true location)
  • => Total value: 1690 points

Titans receive:

  • 8th overall pick (1400 points)
  • 176th overall pick (21 points)
  • => Total value: 1421 points
Trade Value Chart Says:

The Titans gave up 269 points, which corresponds to the 64th overall pick (Round 3, Pick 1).

Jack Says:

The Titans definitely gave up some value here. In my previous article, I identified ~100 points (equating to a 4th round pick) as the threshold below which teams didn’t seem concerned (in 85% of draft pick trades since 2011, the two sides of the trade were within 100 points of each other in terms of the trade value chart). I get that the Titans wanted/needed a tackle to protect Marcus Mariota, and Jack Conklin is a solid prospect, but they paid a significant price. When you aggregate this trade with their trade down from #1, it’s still an easy victory; however, the smart move probably would have been to stay put and draft the best player on the board at #15.

Bucs trade #9 overall pick to Giants

The Trade:

Bucs receive:

  • 11th overall pick (1250 points)
  • 106th overall pick (82 points)
  • => Total value: 1332 points

Giants receive:

  • 9th overall pick (1350 points)
  • => Total value: 1350 points
Trade Value Chart Says:

Just about even. A 20 point differential is equal to a 6th round pick and is well below the threshold of 100 points.

Jack Says:

An even trade, and more evidence that the trade value chart is being used to frame negotiations. The Giants moved up to get their guy, while the Bucs had a few choices they liked and were content to move back a bit.

Redskins trade #21 overall pick to Texans

The Trade:

Redskins receive:

  • 22nd overall pick (780 points)
  • 2017 6th round pick (15 points)
  • => Total value: 795 points

Texans receive:

  • 21st overall pick (800 points)
  • => Total value: 800 points
Trade Value Chart Says:

Just about even again. A 5 point differential is worth only a distant 7th round pick and is again well below the 100 point threshold.

Jack Says:

What do you know, another trade that molds into the trade value chart almost exactly. It makes sense for both teams and there isn’t a clear winner.

Seahawks trade #26 overall pick to Broncos

The Trade:

Seahawks receive:

  • 31st overall pick (600 points)
  • 94th overall pick (124 points)
  • => Total value: 724 points

Broncos receive:

  • 26th overall pick (700 points)
  • => Total value: 700 points
Trade Value Chart Says:

Again, a fair deal. 25 points equates to a late 5th-rounder and is below our 100 point threshold.

Jack Says:

Although this trade is a wash value-wise, I’ll give the ‘winner’ nod to the Broncos. Unlike the Rams and Eagles, who were so desperate for QB help that they panicked and mortgaged their futures, the Broncos stayed cool. They resisted the urge to trade for damaged goods like Colin Kaepernick and Sam Bradford, and they waited late enough in the draft until they could move up just a few spots and secure a solid QB prospect without sacrificing value. I don’t know if Paxton Lynch will pan out, but this was a very savvy move by GM John Elway nonetheless.

Chiefs trade #28 overall pick to 49ers

The Trade:

Chiefs receive:

  • 37th overall pick (530 points)
  • 105th overall pick (84 points)
  • 178th overall pick (20 points)
  • => Total value: 634 points

49ers receive:

  • 28th overall pick (700 points)
  • 249th overall pick (1 point)
  • => Total value: 661 points
Trade Value Chart Says:

Another trade that closely matches with the trade value chart. The 27 point difference corresponds to a mid 5th-round pick.

Jack Says:

This is perhaps the most interesting trade of the evening for me. The ESPN announcers chastised San Francisco for moving up to select Joshua Garnett, and after learning that the 49ers selected a Pac 12 prospect to join Chip Kelly, that was my initial reaction, too. However, from a value standpoint, the 49ers got the better end of the deal (albeit slightly). My conclusion is that this trade was more about the Chiefs being desperate to trade down rather than the 49ers being desperate to trade up. It was rumored that the Chiefs wanted Paxton Lynch, so after getting sniped by Denver, they were probably looking to move down no matter what.

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Engineer by day, aspiring football writer by, well, any other time that he has.

Loves data-driven, analytical approaches to NFL analysis.

Also loves pizza, gin, and taking co-ed sports too seriously.
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