When looking for a franchise quarterbacks, said franchises must avoid the allure of “trading up” for one. This is not a hard and fast rule that applies to all trades up for all quarterbacks, but the splashy, top-three move has simply not paid off very often; this is actually as true for non-quarterbacks as it is for quarterbacks.
Prior to 2016’s two huge draft deals, the previous players traded for in the top three were Dion Jordan, Trent Richardson, Robert Griffin III, Michael Vick, Chris Samuels, Ricky Williams, and Ryan Leaf. A year before Leaf, the St. Louis Rams traded up for Orlando Pace, a Hall of Fame tackle, however the pick they surrendered was used on Walter Jones, a better Hall of Fame tackle.
The Rams know not the errors of their ways. Or anyone else’s ways, for that matter.
Despite him not being that great of a quarterback prospect, the Los Angeles Rams dealt a hot combo of two first, two second, and two third round picks to the Tennessee Titans for Jared Goff, a fourth, and a sixth. The move gave the Rams a QB (of sorts) but gutted them of any day two picks in 2016 (they could have drafted Michael Thomas in round two, Joe Thuney in round three, for example) and has cost them the fifth overall pick in 2017, plus their comp pick at the end of round three.
That being the fifth overall pick because, well, LA was awful in their first season back in Los Angeles.
The Rams went 4-12 with Goff failing to take part in a win any of his seven starts. Goff completed 54.6% of his passes for five touchdowns, seven interceptions, 5.3 yards per attempt, five fumbles, 26 sacks, and a rating of 63.6. By many accounts, he was the worst quarterback in the NFL, not a good sign even for a rookie in an era where rookies like Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz, and even Cody Kessler showed everything from greatness to promise.
The only promise that Goff brings is the one that his team won’t be able to add a premier player at the top of the draft to help him.
On Tuesday, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell posted a ranking of the NFL teams with the most and least amount of draft capital compared to what their original value would have been prior to any deals or comp picks. In a world where they didn’t relieve themselves of a top five pick for a QB who wouldn’t go in the first round this year, the Rams saw their value plummet from fifth to 31st.
Only the New England Patriots, the defending Super Bowl champs who pick last in every round, traded their first rounder for Brandin Cooks, traded out of the second round to the third for Kony Ealy, forfeited a fourth rounder for Deflategate, and traded a fifth rounder for Barkevious Mingo, have less draft capital than the Rams.
But the Patriots are great and LARM is still trying to climb out of the cellar.
Though the defense figures to be solid again because of Aaron Donald, and the offense has added a top-three left tackle with the free agent signing of Andrew Whitworth, it must be hard for Rams fans to not imagine what Justin Evans, Malik Hooker, John Ross, O.J. Howard, or even ... DeShaun Watson could look like on this roster. The 2017 first round class has a good shot to be one of the best ever, but unless they trade up, the LA Rams won’t be a part of it.
And isn’t trading up what got them into this mess in the first place?
Seahawks draft capital
For their part, the Seattle Seahawks saw their capital increase from 26th to 19th thanks to the two third round comp picks they received. However, the actual amount of value added was really minimal when you consider that they don’t have picks in the fourth and fifth round and in fact, went down overall, but their ranking went up because of other teams plummeting further.
The Cleveland Browns have the most draft capital, picking twice in the top 12, and five times in the top 65.
The Titans, now the holder of the Rams fifth overall pick, move up in ranking from 18th in draft capital following a 9-7 season, to fourth. Tennessee could have had even more but they dealt their 2017 second pick a year ago in order to move up to select Jack Conklin, a move that is proving to be genius given that Conklin is already a top-10 left tackle.
The Minnesota Vikings dropped from 14th to 28th thanks to their deal for Sam Bradford last September, giving the Philadelphia Eagles their first round pick and keeping Philly’s draft capital relatively the same despite their huge move up for Carson Wentz last year.
The San Francisco 49ers are second in draft capital, holding 10 picks en total, including second overall.