The NFL draft always lends itself to trades, especially this year, with one of the deepest talent pools in a while and front offices able to re-assess after Rounds 1 and 3 because of the switch to a primetime draft. Obviously, the transactions on draft night can have franchise-shifting ramifications. Real Clear Sports analyzed the best draft-day deals in NFL history this month and determined that San Francisco's acquisition of the 16th overall pick in the 1985 draft in exchange for the 49ers">49ers' 28th and 56th overall picks (the teams also swapped third-round picks) was the best of alltime. Why? Jerry Rice. The Niners drafted the Mississippi Valley State wide receiver with the pick while the Patriots used their selections to take Trevor Matich and Ben Thomas.
We won't know for a couple of years whether someone pulled off a Rice-like heist in 2010, but here's a quick analysis of the trades that went down in the first round Thursday night:
The Deal: Denver traded the No. 11 overall pick to San Francisco in exchange for the No. 13 pick overall and a fourth-round pick (No. 113).The Reaction: Let's call it a 5 out of 10 from the crowd. A slight gasp, followed by indifference.The Skinny: The Niners selected Rutgers tackle/guard Anthony Davis with the No. 11 pick, a big, athletic offensive lineman now charged to protect quarterback Alex Smith. The initial thought on press row was that a fourth-round pick was a heavy price to pay to move up two spots in the draft. Davis is a terrific athlete at 6-5 and 323 pounds and has drawn comparisons to Jacksonville'sEugene Monroe.
The Deal: Miami traded the No. 12 overall pick, a fourth-round pick (No. 110) and a sixth-round pick (173) to San Diego in exchange for the 28th overall pick, a second-round pick (No. 40), a fourth-round pick (No. 126) and linebacker Tim Dobbins.The Reaction: Maybe a 4. New York fans seemed surprisingly disinterested in the announcement.The Skinny: The Chargers made a bold move to grab Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews. Why? Well, they no longer have LaDainian Tomlinson, and Darren Sproles is not an every down back. Mathews is a tackle-breaking back who is best running inside, but he did not prove he could catch passes out of the backfield in college. SI.com's Don Banks says the Chargers loved the kid but no one had Mathews this high.
The Deal: Denver traded the No. 13 overall pick to Philadelphia for the No. 24 overall pick, a third-round selection (No. 70) and an additional third-round selection (No. 87).The Reaction: Well, this one got some reaction. First, it was the third trade in a row. Plus, it gave the New York crowd a chance to chant "Eagles Suck, Eagles Suck" and boo the pick.The Skinny: The Eagles selected Brandon Graham, a defensive end from Michigan who was a fast-mover up the draft. Philadelphia needed a front seven defensive player after it was wiped out by injuries at linebacker last season. Graham projects at outside linebacker and has been tabbed by Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley, also a Michigan guy, as someone who will make an impact in the league.
The Deal: Denver traded the No. 24 overall pick and a fourth-round pick (No. 113) to New England for the No. 22 overall pick.The Reaction: A big gasp from the Radio City crowd. That's always the case in New York City for anything involving the Patriots.The Skinny: Is Demaryius Thomas the replacement for Brandon Marshall? Banks said the Ravens were eyeing Thomas with the No. 25 pick, which is why the Broncos moved up here. Thomas has nice size at 6-2 and is a terrific leaper. He also has big potential: Georgia Tech has long been a run-oriented program so scouts love his upside.
The Deal: New England traded the No. 24 overall pick and a fourth-round pick (No. 119) to Dallas for the No. 27 overall pick and a third-round pick (No. 90).The Reaction: Well, it's the Cowboys, so there were cheers and boos.The Skinny: What a crazy night for the No. 24 pick. It started with the the Eagles. Then it went to the Broncos, followed by the Patriots and finally, Dallas. The opportunistic Cowboys took Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant, who has Top 10 talent but his maturity is questionable. SI.com's Peter King and Jim Trotter love the pick.
The Deal: Baltimore traded the No. 25 overall pick to Denver for a second-round pick (No. 43), a third-round pick (No. 70) and a fourth-round pick (No. 114).The Reaction: Hello, Tebow! The crowd at Radio City reacted loudly to ESPN and The NFL Network showing the Tim Tebow draft party, then booed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announcing the selection. The loudest chant? "Over-rated, Over-rated."The Skinny: The Broncos landed Demaryius Thomas at No. 22, and followed it up three picks later with Tebow, the most-talked about player in the draft. It's earlier than anyone imagined the Florida quarterback would be selected (How you feeling, Brady Quinn?). Stunningly, Tebow goes ahead of Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen, who is not a happy camper right now. We'll know in four years if Josh McDaniels was a genius or a fool.
The Deal: Minnesota traded the No. 30 overall pick and a fourth-round pick (No. 128) to Detroit for a second-round pick (No. 34), a fourth-round pick (No. 100) and a seventh-round pick (No. 214).The Reaction: Exhaustion. Barely a peep from the crowd.The Skinny: Is this really the Lions? Detroit had a nice first round (on paper) with Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh at No. 2 and Cal running back Javhid Best at No. 30. The Lions want more speed from the running game -- Kevin Smith is recovering from a torn ACL -- and Best owns breakaway speed (4.35 in the 40). He had 11 runs of 60 yards or more at Cal. The trade of this pick, from the division rival and quarterback-hungry Vikings, solidified that Jimmy Clausen would not be selected in the first round.