There are likely going to be some lucrative trades in Round 1 of the 2019 NFL Draft, many involving prospective quarterbacks. Here are how some panned out in previous years.
The San Francisco 49ers own what could be one of the most precious commodities in the 2019 NFL Draft: the No. 2 overall selection.
Staying put would make plenty of sense, sure. Yet the Niners may be in position to command a hefty return on a would-be trade with one of a number of different teams in search of the game’s most important contributor: a quarterback.
No less than five teams will likely be on the hunt for a prospective signal-caller in this year’s draft. The New York Giants, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Denver Broncos, the Miami Dolphins and the Washington Redskins could all use a quarterback. Yet there aren’t exactly a lot of bona fide options in what is being considered a relatively weak QB draft class in 2018.
Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray just declared his intent to pursue his NFL dreams, foregoing what would have been a future with MLB’s Oakland Athletics. A shoo-in first rounder, Murray only adds intrigue to what could be a wild trade-up market this April.
For context, you might want to read this piece by The Draft Network’s Trevor Sikkema, explaining why trading up for a quarterback in the NFL Draft has become this era’s necessity.
As Sikkema pointed out, 10 of the last 11 Round 1 quarterbacks selected were acquired via a trade up. The exception, of course, being the Cleveland Browns’ Baker Mayfield, who went No. 1 overall in 2018.
Last year, in what was viewed as a strong quarterbacking class, four first-round QBs were acquired by such means:
- Lamar Jackson — Baltimore Ravens gave up a second- and a fourth-round pick in 2018, along with their 2019 second-round pick, to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for the No. 32 overall pick in 2018, along with Philly’s fourth-round selection.
- Josh Rosen — Arizona Cardinals gave up pick Nos. 15, 79 and 152 to the Oakland Raiders for the 10th overall selection in 2018.
- Josh Allen — Buffalo Bills sent their own 2018 first rounder (No. 12 overall) to move up to seventh overall, also giving up two second-round picks and getting the No. 255 overall pick from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
- Sam Darnold — New York Jets sent 2018 pick Nos. 6, 37 and 49 overall, plus a 2019 second rounder, to the Indianapolis Colts’ first-round pick (No. 3 overall).
In 2017, in what was then considered a relatively weak QB class, three quarterbacks ended up going in Round 1. 49ers fans may recall how general manager John Lynch moved down from the No. 2 overall spot in a move with the Chicago Bears, who gave up pick No. 3 overall, two Round 1 picks (one in 2018) and a fourth-round selection.
The Bears grabbed quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, while the Niners grabbed the player they wanted all along, defensive end Solomon Thomas. And all that was just for moving down one spot.
Yet the bigger trades that year involved the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and the Houston Texans’ Deshaun Watson:
- Chiefs surrendered two first-round picks (one in 2017 and one in 2018), as well as a third-round pick, to the Bills to move up to the No. 10 spot to grab Mahomes.
- Texans were involved in a three-team trade with the Browns and Philadelphia Eagles, ultimately giving up their first-round pick in 2017 and their 2018 first rounder for Watson.
The amount of success both Mahomes and Watson are having, currently, should be another means of motivation for a team looking to trade up.
As far as the 49ers’ interests are concerned, they might want to look back to the 2016 trade-ups involving quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz with the Los Angeles Rams and Eagles, respectively. That was also a thin quarterbacking NFL Draft class. And given the Niners’ hold on the No. 2 overall pick, currently, another team’s trade package could be something like what happened for both Goff and Wentz:
- Rams gave up their first-round pick, two second rounders and a third-round pick in 2016, along with their first- and third-round selections in 2017 to the Tennessee Titans, who also sent a forth- and a sixth-round pick along with the chance to grab Goff.
- Eagles surrendered pick Nos. 8, 77 and 100, as well as a 2017 first-round pick and a 2018 second-round pick, to the Browns to grab Wentz. Cleveland also added a conditional 2017 fifth-round pick in exchange.
On top of those picks, the Broncos also used their 2016 third-round pick to move up with the Seattle Seahawks to No. 26 overall to grab quarterback Paxton Lynch out of Memphis.
Along with Murray, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins and Missouri’s Drew Lock are probably the only legitimate first-round NFL Draft candidates this year. Others could rise, sure. But not likely to a top-10 status.
It’s more than possible a bidding war ensues between the number of quarterback-needy teams, making the 49ers’ pick at No. 2 overall a much sought-after commodity.
So, if the Niners are looking back at recent history and want to improve their returns, looking at some previous templates would do a lot of good.
Round 1 of the 2019 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday, April 25 at 8 p.m. ET from Nashville, Tennessee.