NFL Draft: Trading Future Early Picks Is a Bad Idea

I know that some Patriot fans probably think that the Patriots trade just to trade, and that it doesn’t do any good if you never use them. Those with short memories, that is. The trade back has gotten them future picks that included Vince Wilfork (in the Kyle Boller deal) and Jerod Mayo (as part of Joe Staley deal). Those two deals by themselves should demonstrate the value of the New England strategy.

Monday, I talked about not liking the Saints and Falcons strategy of trading up by including a package that included future first round picks. That was based on more general data that included career values by draft position. I think people tend to respond better to concrete examples. I also wanted to see if perhaps teams that traded up and mortgaged the future were doing do because they were getting better value and were better evaluators (ummm, as you will see below, no).

I went through the previous 15 drafts and found every trade that primarily involved draft picks (it wasn’t a current veteran player who was a centerpiece to the deal, like the Cutler or Seymour trades) and involved one team receiving another team’s future 1st or 2nd round pick to get the deal done. I also include my quick assessment of whether the team that traded a future pick won or lost the deal in retrospect.

  • Alphonso Smith (2009) for Earl Thomas (2010) TOO EARLY
  • Everette Brown and Mike Goodson (2009) for Mike Iupati (2010) TOO EARLY
  • Jeff Otah (2008) for Eric Wood (2009) plus Tyrell Johnson and Mike McGlynn (2008) TOO EARLY
  • Jacob Hester (2008) for Michael Mitchell (2009) and Josh Johnson (2008) DRAW
  • Joe Staley (2007) for Sedrick Ellis (2008) and John Bowie (2007) [NE eventually traded for Jerod Mayo pick] LOSS
  • Brady Quinn (2007) for Kevin Kolb (2007) and Felix Jones (2008) [DAL traded Kolb pick for Anthony Spencer] BAD LOSS
  • Tony Ugoh (2007) for Kentwan Balmer (2008) and Dashon Goldson (2007) LOSS
  • Rocky McIntosh (2006) for Anthony Fasano (2006), Drew Coleman (2006), and Eric Weddle (2007) LOSS
  • Jason Campbell (2005) for Karl Paymah (2005), Manny Lawson (2006), and Brandon Marshall (2006) LOSS
  • Eli Manning (2004) for Philip Rivers (2004), Shawne Merriman (2005), Nate Kaeding (2004), and Jerome Collins (2005) LOSS
  • JP Losman (2004) for Marcus Spears (2005), Julius Jones (2004), and Sean Ryan (2004) BAD LOSS
  • Chris Cooley (2004) and Mark Wilson (2004) for Josh Bullocks (2005) and Rodney Leisle (2004)  GOOD WIN
  • Kyle Boller (2003) for Vince Wilfork (2004) and Ben Joppru (2003) BAD LOSS
  • Wade Smith (2003) for Madieu Williams (2004) [NE traded Williams pick for Corey Dillon] LOSS
  • Michael Vick (2001) for LaDainian Tomlinson (2001), Reche Caldwell (2002), Tay Cody (2001), and Tim Dwight LOSS
  • Morlon Greenwood (2001) and Otis Leverette (2001) for Sheldon Brown (2002) LOSS
  • Ricky Williams (1999) for Cade McNown (1999), Lavar Arrington (2000), D’Wayne Bates (1999), Desmond Clark (1999), Nate Stimson (1999), Khari Samuel (1999), Billy Miller (1999), and Lloyd Harrison (2000) [Washington traded the McNown pick as part of package to get Champ Bailey] LOSS
  • Reggie Kelly (1999) for Jamal Lewis (2000) BAD LOSS
  • Mikhael Ricks (1998) for John Abraham (2000) BAD LOSS
  • Patrick Surtain (1998) for Rashard Anderson (2000) GOOD WIN
  • Ryan Leaf (1998) for Andre Wadsworth (1998), Corey Chavous (1998), and David Boston (1999) LOSS
  • Bryan Still (1996) for Reidel Anthony (1997) DRAW
  • Terrell Fletcher (1995) for Pete Kendall (1996) BAD LOSS
  • J.J. Stokes (1995) for Craig Powell (1995), Mike Frederick (1995), Dave Barr (1995), and Ray Lewis (1996) BAD, BAD, LEROY BROWN LOSS

I count 2 Good Wins to 5 Draws/Too Early, 10 Losses, and 7 Bad Losses. So basically, out of the last 24 trade-ups that involved a future first or second round pick, only two could have been qualified as a success in retrospect. That’s a bad hit rate.

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