The last time a cornerback was the featured part of a trade for a first round pick in the NFL draft, Darrelle Revis was not born yet, Ghostbusters had not opened in theatres, Mary Lou Retton was not a national sensation, and just eight days earlier, scientists announced the discovery of HIV as the cause of AIDS.
On May 1, 1984, the Kansas City Chiefs sent star cornerback Gary Green, who had been a pro bowler each of the three previous seasons, to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for the 21st pick in the draft, who Kansas City would use on left tackle John Alt. Green played for the Rams for the next two years, making another pro bowl in 1985 as Los Angeles reached the NFC Championship Game. He would not play again after that game, though, retiring before the next season because of a herniated disc.
Mike Haynes was also traded for a first round pick in the 1984 draft, in a transaction that occurred six months earlier, near the end of the 1983 season. That trade worked out very well for the Raiders, as Haynes was a key part of the Super Bowl run that year, and was named all-pro each of the next two seasons.
Using prosportstransactions.com ‘s NFL draft tracker, I went through the archives of draft trades for those where a veteran player was traded for (at least) one first round pick. It can be a bit of a grey area, but I basically settled on looking for the trades that met the following: (1) the veteran player was the key figure in the trade, as judged by the picks (if any) coming back, and (2) it was a net of at least one first rounder, so that cases where picks where 1st rounders were swapped with veterans thrown in were not included.
Over the last 25 years, thirty-eight trades of veterans as the key trade part have involved a first round pick. Twelve of those were for a quarterback (and I’ll cover those separately later, because it is so much fun). Here are the other 26.
Looking through the results of the picks taken at the spot that the team gave up, versus what the team acquiring the player got back, I got eight in favor of the veteran, eight that were roughly a draw, and ten in favor of the team getting the draft picks. That isn’t taking into account the value based on salary; it’s only the results for the first five years after the trade. Wide receivers traded for first round picks has been a particularly dubious adventure. From Randal Hill (for what turned out to be Troy Vincent) to Peerless Price, Deion Branch, or Roy Williams, it has not worked out.
[photo via USA Today Sports Images]
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