If You Want To Draft A QB, You Better Trade Up

Photo: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

It's pretty simple: you either have a quarertback or you're doing everything you can to get one. But the phrase "everything you can" has been taken to an entirely different level lately.

It used to just mean that you were required to spend some sort of top draft capital on a quarterback, or if you didn't think there were any good ones in the draft, fork over some cash to a free agent. But nowadays it's not just one draft pick being used to make sure you have your quarterback of the future. Teams are in a trend of now using multiple draft pick to get quarterbacks. This comes in the form of trading up in the draft.

Per Joe Goodberry (who you all should follow on Twitter), over the past three NFL drafts, there have been 11 quarterbacks drafted in the first round. 10 of those quarterbacks were acquired via a team trading up to get them. And oh, by the way, the only one who didn't require a trade up was Baker Mayfield, who was selected with the first overall pick in 2018.

Isn't that crazy? Minus the team with the No. 1 overall pick keeping the pick and selecting the quarterback of their choice, every single other quarterback was bought at a price worth more than even a top selection.


Jared Goff: No. 1: Tennessee → Los Angeles

Tennessee traded its first-, fourth-, and sixth-round selections (No. 1, No. 113, and No. 177) to Los Angeles in exchange for Los Angeles's first-round, two second-round, and third-round selections (No. 15, No. 43, No. 45, and No. 76) as well as Los Angeles's first- and third-round selections in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Carson Wentz: No. 2: Cleveland → Philadelphia

Cleveland traded the No. 2 overall pick and a conditional fifth-round selection in 2017 to Philadelphia in exchange for Philadelphia's first-round, third-round, and fourth-round selections (No. 8, No. 77, and No. 100) as well as Philadelphia's first-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft and second-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Paxton Lynch: No. 26: Seattle → Denver

Seattle traded its first-round, No. 26 overall pick to Denver in exchange for Denver's first- and third-round selections (No. 31 and No. 94).


Mitchell Trubisky: No. 2: San Francisco → Chicago

San Francisco traded their first-round, No. 2 overall pick to Chicago in exchange for Chicago's first-, third-, and fourth-round selections (No. 3, No. 67, and No. 111) as well as their third-round selection in 2018.

Patrick Mahomes: No. 10: Buffalo → Kansas City

Buffalo traded their first-round, No. 10 overall selection to Kansas City in exchange for Kansas City's first- and third-round selections (No. 27 and No. 91), as well as their first-round selection in 2018.

Deshaun Watson No. 12: Philadelphia → Cleveland → Houston

Philadelphia traded their first-round selection, as well as a first-, third-, and fourth-round selections in 2016 (No. 8, No. 77, and No. 100) and their second-round selection in 2018 to Cleveland in exchange for Cleveland's first-round selection in 2016 (No. 2) and a conditional fifth-round selection in 2017. Then, Cleveland traded a first-round selection (No. 12) to Houston in exchange for Houston's first-round selection (No. 25) as well as their first-round selection in 2018.


Baker Mayfield: Cleveland Browns

Selected with the No. 1 overall pick in 2018.

Sam Darnold: No. 3: Indianapolis → NY Jets

Indianapolis traded their first-round selection (No. 3) to the Jets in exchange for the Jets' first-round selection (No. 6), two second-round selections (No. 37 and No. 49), and their second-round selection in 2019.

Josh Allen: No. 7: Tampa Bay → Buffalo

Tampa Bay traded their first- and seventh-round selections (No. 7 and No. 255) to Buffalo in exchange for Buffalo's first-round selection (No. 12) and two second-round selections (No. 53 and No. 56).

Josh Rosen: No. 10: Oakland → Arizona

Oakland traded their first-round selection (No. 10) to Arizona in exchange for Arizona's first-, third-, and fifth-round selections (No. 15, No. 79, and No. 152).

Lamar Jackson: No. 32: Philadelphia → Baltimore

Philadelphia traded their first- and fourth-round selections (No. 32 and No. 132) to Baltimore in exchange for Baltimore's second- and fourth-round selections (No. 52 and No. 125) and a second-round selection in 2019.

So there you have it. Those are the facts that support the notion that, if you need a quarterback, you better be prepared to move up, even if you're not thrilled about any of the quarterbacks in the class -- that's just the NFL world we live in.

So who are some of the quarterbacks who may require some movement to select? These are the names that come to mind.

Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

I still expect Haskins to be the first quarterback taken off the board, at this time, and to do this, I think a team is going to have to trade up into the Top 5.

I think the Giants, Jaguars and Dolphins are the most likely teams, and they pick at numbers six, seven and 13, respectively. It's less likely for a team in the Top 3 to take a trade, as they still need premium players, but Oakland and Tampa Bay at pick numbers four and five could be landing spots.

Even just a two or three pick jump will still likely cost a late day two pick, as we saw in the Trubisky trade. For teams like Miami or maybe even Washington to get up that high, we're talking multiple second rounders.

Drew Lock, Missouri

Lock has a chance to be the second quarterback selected, but I think it will be more in the 10-12 range. If a team like Miami or Washington wanted to move up, at that point, the Watson trade tells us it will likely just cost an extra third round pick.

Daniel Jones, Duke

The only way I see Daniel Jones getting picked in the first round is either at pick No. 25 or beyond. The Lamar Jackson and Paxton Lynch trades tell us that moves up in the late first round are do-able, but will still cost something close to a third round pick. However, you might be able to swing it as a pick in next year's draft.

Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

Murray is the true wild card. I could see him getting picked anywhere from the early first round range to the late first round; right now we really just don't know.

For Murray, if he is getting picked in the top half of the first round, I could see a team paying the price of multiple second round picks. And even if he is picked in the latter half of the first round, I still think Murray's reputation will earn the team trading the pick an extra third round pick, at minimum.

Written By:

Trevor Sikkema

Chief Digital Officer

CDO & Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Co-Host of the Locked On NFL Draft Podcast.