Ranking the 2023 Draft Day NFL Trades, Rounds 1-3

With the first three rounds of the NFL draft in the books I went back and evaluated each trade using the Fitzgerald-Spielberger trade value chart. Here is the breakdown of how every team fared in the first three rounds.

The Worst Trades

The worst trade of the draft goes to the Houston Texans who traded away a minimum of 4,899 points to gain 3,084 points and seemingly pacify whatever split existed in their front office or between the staff and coach and get two players at the top of the draft. The point differential of 1,815 points is the equivalent of having given up the 11th pick in the draft to move up 9 spots and draft Will Anderson. This may land far more in favor of Arizona when all is said and done since they are giving up a 1 and 3 in 2024. I valued this as the final pick in each round and given that the odds of the Texans winning the Super Bowl are pretty slim they will likely wind up as much more valuable picks. If they land in the middle of the round this moves up to giving up the equivalent of the 5th pick. There is no margin of error in a trade like this. They need Anderson, at a minimum, to play at the level Nick Bosa/TJ Watt. If Anderson is not a $30M a year type player it’s a failed trade.

The Lions pulled off a complete disaster with a 3rd round trade with the Cardinals again being the beneficiary. Detroit moved up to spot 96, worth 687 points, and gave up three picks worth 1,472 points, to get a player. Most of these were picks Detroit picked up in other trades and these seem to be the easiest picks, along with comp picks, to exploit in trades. Arizona will gain the equivalent of the 80th pick in the draft with those 3 players, a gain in expected APY of about $4.6M per year. This is more or less unheard of territory for a 3rd round trade.

The Fairest Trades

The Broncos pulled off a near perfect trade giving up just 104 points to make the move from 68 to 63 to draft Marvin Mims. This was pulled off by making sure that they got the 183rd pick in return from the Lions. In almost every other trade the team moving up would not have landed a late pick as part of the trade. Perhaps this meant that Detroit was really interested in moving down. In any event the cost of this trade was basically giving up a UDFA.

Kansas City made a surprising trade with their AFC rivals in Cincinnati and it was clearly one where nobody got taken too badly. The Chiefs gave up 966 points to bring back pick 92 worth 709 points. The cost of a 6th round pick is reasonable when moving up to select a player.

The Full List

Here is the full list of trades from the first two days of the draft. It shows the points given up and gained and what the equivalent pick is based on the difference. The pick value is what a blind draft selection at that equivalent pick would be worth on a per year basis within the current market.

Trade UpPoints TradedTrade DownPoints TradedDifferenceEquivalent PickPick Value

Who did the best overall?

This was clearly the Cardinals draft. They had the top overall trades and even if we question their move up for pick 6 they gained a minimum of 2,744 points, which is basically the same as adding the 2nd overall pick in the draft. That would work out to adding in the ballpark of $15.6 million per year in value from all the picks they made or will make.

The Jaguars were the other team with the big win, landing what would be the equivalent of the 17th pick in the draft. With a Trevor Lawrence extension possibly coming in 2024 while also dealing with some of the fallout from the spending of 2022 this was a great way to manipulate the draft to their advantage.

The other teams that netted better than the 100th pick in the draft were the Colts, Rams, and Packers.

Who did the worst overall?

The polar opposite of the Cardinals were the Texans who gave up nearly 2,800 points to make all of their moves up in the draft. This may wind up way worse depending on where the 2024 picks they included in these trades actually land. At the moment they gave up the equivalent of the 2nd overall pick in this draft, surrendering $15.6 million in value. An absolute clinic in how a team should not approach the draft.

The second worst team was the Giants giving up the equivalent of the 46th pick to draft positions of need at CB and WR for the team. Making one of those trades was probably ok, but both is much more dangerous. The trade in the 1st round was probably too aggressive. No other teams had a net loss worse than the 102nd pick in the draft.

The Full List

This is the net gains and losses for each team and what the equivalent pick and pick value would be for each team.

TeamPts LostPts GainedPts GainedEquivalent PickValue Gained/Lost