With the draft with less than two weeks away, and our first round pick pretty much settled (Okung, Berry or Suh). It got me thinking about the second round. We know that a cornerback is our biggest need, and most likely the two POD favorites, Kyle Wilson and Devin McCourtey, won’t be there at pick 34, so I thought about moving up from 34 to whatever pick we need to to acquire either of those two guys. Now, according to the draft value chart, if we were to give up our 3rd round pick along with our second, we could approximately move up to either the 20th or 21st pick, which might be just good enough to grab Wilson. If we decided to pair our 2nd rounder with our 4th, then we could potentially move up to either the 27th or 28th pick, which is reasonably where we could land McCourtey.
Of course a lot of people don’t like either of these moves because it involves giving up picks, which the Lions simply can’t afford to do. However, that got me thinking though: how valuable is a 3rd or 4th round pick? We know 1st and 2nd rounders are highly valuable, though highly risky at times (referring to 1st rounders), but what about 3rd and 4th rounders? They seem to be involved in trades all the time. The Ravens just got a Pro-Bowl receiver in Anquan Boldin for a 3rd round and change, Jets got a former All-Pro for the price of a 4th rounder (maybe a 3rd). Does the compensation justify the risk?
I did a bit of research on both rounds from drafts of 2002 to 2006 (five year period). I chose this period because this way all players in the drafts had at least four seasons to spend in the NFL. H ere is what I found:
Notes: The criterion for a "successful" pick was that the player played at least 4 seasons in the NFL, and was a starter for at least one. I thought that was reasonable as most a lot of 1st and 2nd rounders bust and end up having about the same careers. (you are more than welcome to disagree with this criterion)
Below are the what I consider to be successful picks.
3rd Round picks
Cory Redding, Lance Briggs, Jason Witten, Gerald Hayes, Nate Burleson, Vince Manuwai, Kevin Curtis, Derrick Dockery, Ricky Manning, Chris Crocker, B. J. Askew, Kenny Peterson, Sam Williams, Visanthe Shiancoe, Chris Brown, Angelo Crowell, Justin Fargas, Chris Simms
Darnell Dockett, Nate Kaeding, Stuart Schweigert, Gilbert Gardner, Randy Starks, Max Starks, Bernard Berrian, Chris Cooley, Stephen Peterman, Sean Locklear, Matt Schaub, Anthony Hargrove, Travelle Wharton, Landon Johnson
Frank Gore, Oshiomogho Atogwe, Charlie Frye, Andrew Walter, Channing Crowder, Justin Tuck, Kirk Morrison, Richie Incognito, Eric Green, Chris Henry, Ellis Hobbs, Trai Essex, Adam Snyder, Domonique Foxworth, Leroy Hill, Dustin Colquitt, Nick Kaczur
Overall: 71/169 Picks = 42% success rate
4th round pick
10/ 36 picks
Domanick Davis, Bradie James, Shaun McDonald, Todd Johnson, Jarret Johnson, Seneca Wallace, Terrence McGee, Montrae Holland, George Wrighster, Matt Wilhelm, Asante Samuel, Justin Griffith, Ian Scott, Jeremi Johnson, Ike Taylor, Brandon Lloyd, Ovie Mughelli
Shaun Phillips, Demorrio Williams, Reggie Torbor, AlexStepanovich, Jerricho Cotchery, Nathan Vasher, Isaac Sopoaga, Will Allen, Robert Geathers, Mewelde Moore, Ernest Wilford, Stacy Andrews, Jason David, Brandon Chillar, Glenn Earl
Sean Considine, Kyle Orton, Marion Barber III, Brandon Jacobs, Travis Daniels, Ray Willis, Jerome Mathis, David Stewart, Kerry Rhodes, Jason Brown, Brady Poppinga, Todd Herremans, Darren Sproles, Eric Ghiaciuc, Duke Preston, Chauncey Davis, Chris Canty, James Sanders,
Owen Daniels, Max Jean-Gilles, Ko Simpson, Jahri Evans, Jason Avant, Stephen Tulloch, Leon Washington, Stephen Gostkowski, Brandon Marshall, Elvis Dumervil, Ray Edwards, Rob Sims, Willie Colon, Domata Peko,Barry Cofield
Overall: 90 out of 214 picks: 42% overall
As you can see, both rounds had about 42% success rate, meaning almost half the players taken in the two rounds were NFL starters at some point of their careers (might still be). Also, look at the names, a lot of them are marquee players. So, to answer the above question: Yes, it is (in my opinion) worth trading a troubled/leaving town next year anyways player for a 3rd or 4th round pick. As far as whether its worth it to trade the 3rd or 4th pick plus the 34th pick to move up: yes and no.
These are the players taken with the 3rd round, 2nd pick in the last six years: D’Qwell Jackson, Nate Kaeding, OJ Atogwe, Corey Redding, Matt Schobel, and Eric Winston. The list starts off really strong, as the first four players are either Pro-bowlers, or had pro-bowl caliber years, and other than Matt Schoebel, all are quality NFL starters. Next, here are players taken with the 4th round, 2nd pick: Dante Wesley, Artose Pinner, Shaun Philips, Antonio Perkins, Max Gean-Jiles. This list isn’t as high-caliber as the previous one, only one would be considered pro-bowl caliber, and only two of them are starters in the NFL.
So, we could potentially move up to the 27th pick in the draft and get McCourtey without giving up much at all, but every round has its gems, and if the Lions front office can do the job it did last year, it would be a big mistake to trade any pick. However, if Wilson was to fall to 27th, I think the Lions would be very wise to move in front of the Vikings and take him.