Trading down in the NFL Draft

If you had the #1 pick, which of these packages would you accept? (For the purposes of this exercise, Teddy Bridgewater is the would-be pick)

None of them. If you need a QB, you draft Bridgewater; otherwise, you don’t need to trade for a QB.

Has there ever been a trade for the top pick that didn’t at least include a 1st round pick from next year’s draft as well?

Washington traded a lot more than any of those options for the #2 pick. I wouldn’t take any of those options if I had the #1. If you make any of those offers for the #1, you might insult that GM and damage your ability to make deals in the future.

I asked it the way I did to see if people prefered an established QB or a highly regarded prospect.

Okay, I guess I am the only one who has voted so far. Getting an established starting QB, as well as an A.J McCarron of Tajh Boyd to sit on the bench and learn, and two other picks? I think it is worth it.

Here is the trade value chart that a lot of NFL teams use to evaluate draft trades. The first pick is worth 3000 points, and you’re proposing the following trades:1. (assuming the offering team has pick #5): 1700 + 25.4 + 12.6 + 3rd string QB

  1. (assuming the offering team has pick #15): 1050 + 72 + 34.5 + 2nd string QB

  2. (assuming the offering team has pick #25): 720 + 330 + 145 + starting QB

To make the trade even according to that chart, you’d have to value the 3rd string QB as the 11th pick of the draft; the 2nd stringer as the 4th pick of the draft, or the starter as the 4th overall pick.

The only offer that might not be laughed at is #3, and that would depend more on the QB offered than the draft picks. You’d have to take into account not just his ability, but also his contract - with the rookie contracts in the most recent CBA, high draft picks are worth much more than they used to be. This is especially true for the high dollar positions like QB - compare RGIII’s (4 years, $21.12M, fully guaranteed) or Cam Newton’s (4 years, $22M, fully guaranteed) rookie contracts to Sam Bradford’s (6 years, &48M, $50M guaranteed).

Add to that the fact that players aren’t eligible for free agency until they’ve accrued four years of experience (i.e., when their rookie contracts expire), and the very early picks are a whole lot more attractive than they used to be. Unless you’re offering a pro-bowl QB (which raises the question of why you’re making the offer), it’s going to be a short conversation.

I don’t think there’s a generic answer to that - it depends on a) who’s in the draft, b) who’s being offered in trade, and c) what your current roster looks like. I know I couldn’t give you a one-size-fits-all answer. Given an “average” team, I’d be inclined to stick with Bridgewater, but I’d probably take your third offer if the starter were Russell Wilson or Andrew Luck. I’d consider, but probably ultimately reject, Kaepernick or RGIII.

All academic, because nobody who has a QB I’d take is going to make that offer. You’d be more likely to see someone like Roethlisberger or Romo attached to that kind of offer. If you’ve got a team like Denver did when they signed Manning, maybe you take that, with the understanding that you’re going to have to start from scratch in a few years.

Too many variables!