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The biggest trade-ups in NFL draft history

Although trade-ups for quarterbacks now predominate in NFL draft discussions, teams have long been making significant movements up the draft board to get blue-chip players at other positions. Trade prices have changed over time, and gambles have not always paid off. These are the trade-ups that stand out the most from the common draft era (1967–present).
The Panthers, who acquired the top pick from the Bears before to the start of free agency, are the only team to have intentionally acquired a No. 1 pick earlier. Similar like the 49ers in 2021, it’s possible that the Panthers couldn’t agree on a quarterback at the time of the deal. Owner David Tepper made it clear that Young should be selected at number one, thus Carolina traded its 2024 first-round selection, D.J. Moore, and two second-round picks for the top spot. The Panthers, who had been without a quarterback since Cam Newton began to suffer ailments in the late 2010s, were devastated to finish 2-15. Frank Reich was sacked by Tepper due to his association with C.J. Stroud, and the 2024 selection was ranked first. Only upwards to go.

In an effort to gain access to dimensions Jimmy Garoppolo was thought to be unable to supply, the 49ers gave up two potential first-round picks and a third in order to move up from No. 12 to No. 3 via the Dolphins. Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson were almost certainly going to go 1-2, therefore Alabama’s Mac Jones was the first player to be linked to the squad. However, the team eventually narrowed their focus on Lance. The North Dakota State recruit only participated in one season of collegiate competition, shining as a redshirt freshman, as COVID-19 postponed the Division I-FCS schedule for 2020. With just four starts throughout his three seasons in San Francisco, Lance has been an enormous bust. The 49ers have recovered thanks in part to Brock Purdy, but the personnel disaster was completed when Lance was traded to the Cowboys for a fourth-round pick.

We are still dealing with the consequences, but Green Bay’s move from No. 30 to No. 26 (via Miami) during the virtual draft only cost them an extra fourth-round pick. Once, after snagging a falling Rodgers in 2005, the Packers defied roster-building traditions by resting Rodgers for three years. Without telling Rodgers, the Pack created a commotion by trading up for Jordan Love, the Division I-FBS’s leader in interceptions in 2019. The GM Brian Gutekunst and Aaron Rodgers squabbled throughout 2021, and the Love selection cost Super Bowl-caliber rosters early-2020s talent. Nevertheless, Love’s early promise and Rodgers’ decision to join the Jets via the Brett Favre route could finally vindicate Gutekunst after years of criticism.

All that cost Green Bay was a fourth-round pick.

Even though Lamar Jackson won the Heisman Trophy in 2016, clubs had doubts about his ability to be a pure passer. As a result, between the Cardinals’ Josh Rosen selection (No. 10) and the Eagles’ slot (No. 32), 21 non-quarterbacks were selected. The Ravens selected tight end Hayden Hurst in the first round, but Ozzie Newsome struck gold in his last selection as general manager, developing an intriguing quarterback to complement Flacco. From No. 52, Baltimore gave a fourth-round pick in 2018 and a second-round pick in 2019 to Philly. The Ravens, who missed the playoffs from 2015 to 2017, quickly adjusted their offense for Jackson and altered their course by taking a chance on the Louisville dual threat.

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