Winners, losers from recent draft blockbusters involving NFL stars

AP Images
0 Comments

Fleshing out some notable trades, including some of the major ones but not the Jalen Ramsey or Laremy Tunsil deals yet because too much uncertainty remains in terms of 2021 draft picks:

THE Khalil Mack TRADE

Chicago traded first and sixth-round picks in 2019 and first and third-round picks in 2020 for pass-rusher Khalil Mack and second and seventh-round picks in 2020.

Mack played hurt last year; his 21 sacks in 30 Chicago games would have been higher if he’d been healthy. He’s still the best player in this deal. If Kmet’s a good NFL tight end, the win here will go to Chicago. That’s a big if. Jacobs will be Jon Gruden’s feature back for the next three years, most likely. Moreau’s a usable tight end and good value pick. Arnette seemed a reach at the 19th overall pick this year, but we’ll see.

THE DeForest Buckner TRADE

San Francisco traded defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to Indianapolis for a first-round pick, 13th overall.

  • Indianapolis got a top-three NFL defensive tackle and paid Buckner like one: four years, $84 million.
  • San Franciscoafter trading down one spot in the first round, picked defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw.

The Niners, assuming they end up paying defensive end Nick Bosa, knew they couldn’t pay top dollar to five defensive linemen and thus jettisoned Buckner. Added benefit: GM John Lynch traded down one spot, still got Kinlaw and got the ammo to trade up for wideout Brandon Aiyuk in round one. The Colts got a 26-year-old top-tier defensive tackle, a must in their D, in his prime. Good deal for both teams, if Kinlaw can be the stout space-eater San Francisco is counting on.

THE MINKAH FITZPATRICK/Ryan Tannehill INTERTWINED TRADES

In 2019, Miami traded QB Ryan Tannehill and a sixth-round pick to Tennessee for a fourth-round pick in 2020 and a seventh-round pick in 2019. Miami traded safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and Tennessee’s fourth-round pick this year to Pittsburgh for first and fifth-round picks this year and a sixth-round pick next year.

  • Miami got the player who better be their left tackle of the future, USC’s Austin Jackson, and a fifth-round defensive end, Jason Strawbridge.
  • Tennessee got Tannehill and a backup linebacker, David Long Jr.
  • Pittsburgh got Fitzpatrick and a guard from Louisiana, Kevin Dotson.

Three big players in this trade. Tannehill had the highest passer rating in the NFL since 2013 after replacing Marcus Mariota last year; his play enabled the Titans to pass on chasing Tom Brady as a bridge QB. The versatile Fitzpatrick played all but three snaps in his 14 Steelers games after the September trade with Miami and was PFF’s 15th-rated safety in the league. There’s pressure on Jackson, who started 25 games at left tackle for the Trojans, to replace the departed Laremy Tunsil for the long term in Miami. If Tannehill keeps it up, this trade’s a steal for Tennessee.

THE Stefon Diggs TRADE

Buffalo traded first, fifth and sixth-round picks and a fourth-round pick in 2021 to Minnesota for wide receiver Stefon Diggs and a seventh-round pick.

  • Buffalo traded a boatload for a receiver with an average NFL season of 73 catches, 925 yards and six TDs in Diggs.
  • Minnesota got Diggs’ replacement, LSU wideout Justin Jefferson, with the 22nd pick in the draft, then traded the other two picks for fourth and fifth-round picks in the 2021 draft.

If Diggs can be a legit WR1 for the Bills in the next two or three years, the trade’s a good one for Buffalo. He may well be, but anything less than top-10 receiver production would be disappointing, particularly if Jefferson becomes a consistent producer in Minnesota. For the Vikings, who made a league-high 15 picks this year, the Diggs trade adds two fourth- round picks and a fifth in 2021 to one of the best-regarded wideouts this year, Jefferson.

THE Montez Sweat TRADE

Indianapolis traded its first-round pick in 2019 to Washington for second-round picks in 2019 and 2020. The Colts turned the 2020 second into second and fifth-round picks.

  • Washington got Sweat, who looks like he’ll be part of the long-term bookend rush unit with 2020 first-round pick Chase Young.
  • Indianapolis got USC wideout Michael Pittman this year, plus defensive end Ben Banogu and cornerback Marvell Tell last year.

Sweat had a good seven-sack rookie year in Washington and is being counted on to be a legit rush threat opposite Young. For Indy, the two picks last year were about 30-percent players in 2019 and they did okay. This deal is tied to the performance of the big USC wideout. Pittman was one of coach Frank Reich’s favorite players in the draft and the Colts are counting on him in a big way.

THE DeAndre Hopkins TRADE

Houston traded Hopkins and a fourth-round pick to Arizona for running back David Johnson, a second-round pick in 2020 and a fourth-round pick in 2021.

  • Houston got Johnson and defensive tackle Ross Blacklock this year, and the fourth-rounder next year.
  • Arizona got Hopkins and defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence.

The only way this trade isn’t a disaster for Houston is if Johnson approximates his 2016 form. Four years is a liftetime for a back, so this looks like a clear win for Hopkins and the Cardinals.

THE Rob Gronkowski TRADE

New England traded Gronkowski plus a seventh-round pick to Tampa Bay for a fourth-round pick. The Patriots packaged that fourth-round pick to the Raiders in a larger deal for a third-round pick.

  • New England got tight end Devin Asiasi from UCLA with the 91st overall pick as the main piece.
  • Tampa Bay got Gronkowski and linebacker Chapelle Russell.

Who knows what the battered but rested Gronk will have left after 19 months away from football. It’s a gamble that only has a high price if the Bucs squander one of their two good tight ends in the process of giving the future Hall of Famer his snaps. Asiasi had one year of decent college production at UCLA and plays well in space for a 279-pounder.

THE Leonard Williams TRADE 

The Jets, in a rare Giants/Jets deal, traded defensive lineman Leonard Williams to the Giants at the deadline last October for a third-round pick in 2020 and a fifth-round pick next year.

  • The Giants got Williams for a half-season test drive in 2019 and made him their franchise player in 2020.
  • The Jets got safety Ashtyn Davis from Cal with the 68th pick and have the Giants’ fifth-rounder next year.

Williams will earn either $16.1 million or $17.8 million in 2020, depending on whether he’s classified as a tackle or end. Either way, that’s a huge price to pay for an underachieving sixth overall pick in 2015. Davis is an intriguing prospect, very fast and not well known, and the Jets fell in love with him in the scouting process.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column here.