2016 NFL Draft Trade Grades



By Walter Cherepinsky - @walterfootball
April 30, 2016



I'll be posting 2016 NFL Draft Grades for every pick. Why not grade all of the trades?


Jaguars acquire No. 36 overall pick from Ravens for Nos. 38 (2nd), 146 (5th)
The Ravens won this trade in terms of points, 33-20, but the Jaguars can hardly be criticized, given that they obtained Myles Jack in the process. I don't ordinarily claim the team that traded up to be the winner, but that's the case with this deal. Baltimore should have snatched Jack itself.

Grade for Jaguars - A
Grade for Ravens - C+

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Dolphins acquire No. 38 overall pick from Ravens for Nos. 42 (2nd), 107 (4th)
Remember how I said that the Ravens won the math in the trade against the Jaguars, 33-20? This was way more lopsided, with Baltimore prevailing 80-40. There aren't many trades in which one team doubles up the other in the value chart!

So, what did Miami get for its fourth-rounder? Xavien Howard. He's a solid cornerback, but with Mackensie Alexander and Kendall Fuller being available, it was likely that the Dolphins would've obtained a solid cornerback had they stayed put. There was no reason for them to surrender a valuable resource for Howard, meaning Baltimore is the clear winner in this deal.

Grade for Dolphins - C-
Grade for Ravens - A

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Bills acquire No. 41 overall pick from Bears for Nos. 49 (2nd), 117 (4th), 2017 4th-rounder
The good news for the Bills is that they obtained a very solid player in Reggie Ragland in this deal. Ragland was expected to be chosen in the first round, so getting him in the middle of the second is a steal.

The bad news for the Bills is that they surrendered two fourth-rounders to obtain Ragland. Given that Rex Ryan will reportedly be fired if he doesn't make the playoffs this year (which is ridiculous), I don't blame the Bills for doing this. However, they gave up too much. The Bears won this swap.

Grade for Bills - C+
Grade for Bears - A-

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Packers acquire No. 48 overall pick from Colts for Nos. 57 (2nd), 125 (4th), 248 (7th)
OK, so maybe one team doubling up another happens more than I thought. That was almost the case in this scenario, with the Packers winning the deal, 90-47. Of course, it all depends on whom they obtained for the fourth-rounder they surrendered.

That happens to be Jason Spriggs, a highly athletic tackle out of Indiana. Spriggs likely won't start this year, but he'll provide solid depth. He may enter the lineup in 2017, but he's raw, so it could take him some time to develop.

I'm not crazy about this move, but I'm willing to call it close to even, since the Colts should've acquired more.

Grade for Packers - B-
Grade for Colts - C+

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Seahawks acquire No. 49 overall pick from Bears for Nos. 56 (2nd), 124 (4th)
Some impatient Chicago fans attending the draft may have been frustrated because their team kept moving down, but doing so is often for the best. However, that's not the case with this deal.

First of all, Seattle won this trade, 70-48. That's not a wide margin, but to top it off, the Seahawks obtained Jarran Reed, a consensus late first-round prospect. Given the possibility of obtaining Reed, Seattle had to pull the trigger. The Bears, on the other hand, could've used Reed, so they should've stayed put and taken him.

Grade for Seahawks - A
Grade for Bears - C-

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Texans acquire No. 50 overall pick from Falcons for Nos. 52 (2nd), 195 (6th)
There was some confusion about this pick by the NFL Network analysts. Why would the Texans leap the Jets for Nick Martin, when New York didn't need a center? Well, some team could've hopped Houston into No. 51 for Martin. The Texans really wanted Martin, and they didn't want to risk losing out on him.

Also, keep in mind that the Texans actually won this trade per the value chart, 20-14. It seems like they were on the short end of the stick at first glance, but as you can see, that's not the case.

As for the Falcons, why not move down two spots for a sixth? Both teams made out well here.

Grade for Texans - B+
Grade for Falcons - B+

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Buccaneers acquire No. 59 overall pick from Chiefs for Nos. 74 (3rd), 106 (4th)
This trade works out pretty evenly on the trade value chart, 90-82. However, this is a prime example of why trade grades can't just be evaluated by numbers.

The Buccaneers discarded a fourth-rounder to move up for a kicker. A freaking kicker! I know that players at those positions are more important now in the wake of the new PAT rules, but that still doesn't mean you should draft one on the second day - especially after moving up! I can't believe how ridiculous this trade was.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, didn't obtain great value for moving down, but they're the clear winners of this swap by default.

Grade for Buccaneers - EVIL RICH EISEN SACRIFICES ROBERTO AGUAYO TO ARCH DEMON ZARLOX (MILLEN) GRADE
Grade for Chiefs - B-

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Saints acquire No. 61 overall pick from Patriots for Nos. 78 (3rd), 112 (4th)
The Saints edge out the Patriots on the trade chart, 92-70. But did they move up for the right player to justify the fourth-rounder they surrendered?

I'd say so. Vonn Bell is a solid safety prospect who could've been chosen at the end of the first round without any complaints. The Saints needed help in their secondary, so Bell made a ton of sense. They won this deal, but it's pretty close.

Grade for Saints - B+
Grade for Patriots - B

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Panthers acquire No. 77 overall pick, No. 141 (5th) from Browns for Nos. 93 (3rd), 129 (4th), 168 (5th)
The Panthers have one of the better front offices in the league, while the Browns have a new regime that drafts quarterbacks with lollipop arms in the third round, so it would make sense for Carolina to win this trade, at least in terms of the trade chart. The Panthers' picks equaled out to be worth 240.5. Cleveland obtained 195 in return.

So, was it worth it for the Panthers to move up for a fourth and a swap of fifths? For Daryl Worley, I wouldn't say so. The Panthers might have been able to obtain Worley at their spot. And Worley shouldn't have even been the prime target with Kendall Fuller still available.

Does that mean the Browns won the trade? I'd like to say so, but they drafted Cody Kessler at No. 93. That means there were no winners in this trade.

Grade for Panthers - C
Grade for Browns - D

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Dolphins acquire No. 86 overall pick from Vikings for No. 186 (6th), 2017 3rd-, 4th-rounders
Future draft choices can't be calculated using the trade value chart, but this one is a no-brainer. The Vikings did a great job of acquiring two extra picks next year, which projects as a superior class (go here for my 2017 NFL Mock Draft.) Minnesota doesn't have a ton of needs right now, so why not stock up for the future?

The Dolphins, meanwhile, continued to throw away their future in order to move up for Leonte Carroo. I like the Rutgers prospect a bit, but he wasn't worth this deal. He doesn't even fit a need for Miami.

Grade for Vikings - A-
Grade for Dolphins - D

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49ers acquire No. 28 overall pick, No. 249 (7th) from Chiefs for Nos. 37 (2nd), 105 (4th), 178 (6th)
This may seem like the Chiefs won the deal in terms of the math, but that's not the case. The 28th pick is worth 660 points, while everything Kansas City acquired adds up to 634.

Having said that, I can't get behind this deal for the 49ers. They selected a third-round prospect at No. 28, and they surrendered a pair of selections to do so. Moving up for someone like Myles Jack or Vernon Butler would've made a ton of sense, but to take a guard who almost certainly would've been available at No. 37 overall is absolutely insane. The pick itself earned a Millen in my 2016 NFL Draft Grades. The trade, in a vacuum, is better, so I'll just average it out and give San Francisco a "C."

As for the Chiefs, some of the prospects they're targeting - Cody Whitehair, Mackensie Alexander, Kendall Fuller, etc. - will probably be there at No. 37, so even though they lost the trade per the value chart, they are still the winners of this swap.

Grade for 49ers - C
Grade for Chiefs - B

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Broncos acquire No. 26 overall pick from Seahawks for Nos. 31, 94 (3rd)
The math says the Seahawks won this trade. The 94th pick is worth 124 points. Meanwhile, the difference between Nos. 31 and 26 is valued at 100 points. A 24-percent differnce is nothing to sneeze at.

Having said that, both teams were right to make this trade. I usually hand out negative grades to teams for moving up, but the Broncos absolutely had to do so in order to land Paxton Lynch. There was a chance the Chiefs would've taken Lynch at No. 28. The 49ers and Browns moving up for him were possibilities as well. With no logical quarterback, Denver absolutely had to obtain the Memphis product.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks, as mentioned, won per the calculations. Picking up a third-rounder is a huge deal, and the team nabbed the prospect who was going to be taken at No. 26 anyway. This was a great deal for Seattle.

Grade for Broncos - A-
Grade for Seahawks - A+

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Texans acquire No. 22 overall pick from Redskins for Nos. 21, 2017 6th-rounder
The main take-away from this trade is that the Texans were very desperate to land William Fuller. Had someone else taken Fuller at No. 21, Houston would've had its choice of Josh Doctson or Laquon Treadwell with the 22nd pick. So, it's obvious that they valued Fuller way more than the other two wideouts.

It's nice that the Texans got their guy, but I'm not sure they needed to do this trade. Would the Redskins have taken Fuller? Perhaps, but I doubt they were too crazy about him, considering they were willing to take Doctson at No. 22. Still, I don't mind this very much because giving up a sixth-rounder in 2017 is no big deal.

The Redskins won this trade because they obtained something and still snatched the player they were probably going to take in the first place. It's a nice job to get a minor extra resource.

Grade for Texans - B-
Grade for Redskins - B+

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Bears acquire No. 9 overall pick from Buccaneers for Nos. 11, 106 (4th)
If this trade feels close to even, you're right: The NFL Draft trade chart says the Bears acquired 100 points of value and surrendered 116. So, in terms of the pure math, the Buccaneers won by a bit.

I agree with that from a logical perspective as well. The Bears had to leap the Giants to acquire Leonard Floyd, but was it worth a fourth-rounder to do so? It's not a steep price to pay, but I'm not so sure. There were other solid prospects available at No. 11, like Vernon Hargreaves, Shaq Lawson, Laremy Tunsil, etc. Floyd was not substantially better than them.

The Buccaneers, on the other hand, did a good job of picking up a fourth-round choice while still obtaining a solid prospect.

Grade for Bears - C+
Grade for Buccaneers - B+

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Titans acquire No. 8 overall pick, No. 176 (6th) from Browns for Nos. 15, 76 (3rd), 2017 2nd-rounder
I loved Tennessee's decision to move down in the first place. Picking up tons of draft picks was awesome for the team's future, as it allowed them to build heavily around Marcus Mariota. This, however, doesn't seem very good. Surrendering a second-rounder next year hurts, given that the 2017 NFL Draft class is superior to this one (check out my 2017 NFL Mock Draft.) Moving up for Jack Conklin doesn't seem too exciting either. I know Conklin was going to be snatched off the board at No. 10, but consider that Tennessee could've obtained Larmey Tunsil by giving up less to slide up to No. 12 or so. I'm just not sure Conklin is worth surrendering second- and third-round pick for.

As for the Browns, they clearly won this swap. They're accumulating a crap ton of picks, which is exactly what they need, given that they're effectively an expansion team. They could've stayed at No. 8 and picked up Tunsil, Vernon Hargreaves, etc., but obtaining second- and third-round choices was the better move.

Grade for Titans - C
Grade for Browns - A

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Eagles acquire No. 2 overall pick, 2017 4th-rounder from Browns for Nos. 8, 77, 100, 2017 first-rounder, 2018 second-rounder
My friend Will messaged me minutes after this trade went down, saying, "Eagles had such a great offseason, now this!?" I feel the exact same way. Philadelphia brilliantly ripped off the Dolphins and then managed to get rid of DeMarco Murray's ghastly contract. Though I disagreed with some of the signings - Chase Daniel in particular - the offseason overall was a success.

Not anymore.

Words can't describe how utterly stupid this trade is. It's horrible on so many levels, so let's try to list them all.

First of all, the Eagles have surrendered too much. Like the Rams, they've given up too many picks, meaning their depth will be depleted. Teams trading up like this seldom have success, and Philadelphia will be paying for it in the future. It'll definitely miss its 2017 first-rounder, given how great next year's class is projected to be. Also, don't underestimate the importance of that 2018 second-rounder. All of this means the Eagles will have just three choices in the top two rounds over the next three drafts. That's terrible.

Second, why did the Eagles feel they need to do this? Why re-sign Sam Bradford in the first place and give Chase Daniel more money than backup quarterbacks usually deserve? They weren't like the Rams, who had absolutely nothing at quarterback. Philadelphia at least had viable options. Granted, they weren't great options, but the team could've been competitive in the weak NFC East with Bradford or Daniel.

It also must be asked whether Carson Wentz or Jared Goff are even better than Bradford. This is a weak quarterback class. The 2017 and 2018 editions are considered to be better around the league. Surrendering so many resources for a signal-caller who will probably be just above average at best is insane.

I have no choice but to give the Eagles a Millen for this move. Like the Rams, they've squandered too many resources, but I at least understand Los Angeles' mindset. Philadelphia's role in this deal is utterly confusing.

As for the Browns, this is an easy A+. Sure, they'll have to start Robert Griffin until he gets hurt or fumbles way too many times, but they're set up incredibly well for the future. They'll have two shots at Deshaun Watson next year (go here for my 2017 NFL Mock Draft) and they'll be able to fill out their roster with talented players to replace the ones who left this offseason.

Two more things. First, I think it's telling how mediocre this quarterback class is that the Browns, who are so desperate for a quarterback, didn't want to bother with either of the top two prospects at the position. It makes you wonder what the hell the Eagles and Rams are thinking.

Second, I'll be updating my 2016 NFL Mock Draft shortly.

Grade for Eagles - Millen 4-20 Kielbasa Hallucination
Grade for Browns - A+

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Rams acquire No. 1 overall pick, Nos. 113 and 177 from Titans for Nos. 15, 43, 45 and 76, and 2017 first- and third-rounders
Four years ago, the Rams dealt the No. 2 overall choice to the Redskins for a king's ransom of draft picks, which Washington used to select Robert Griffin. That was deemed as a great trade at the time for the Redskins, who were desperate for a franchise quarterback. That move would look outstanding at first, as Griffin led the team to the playoffs as a rookie, but flamed out ever since. Because Washington surrendered so many draft choices, its depth was shot. The team finally recovered in 2016, though it needed the quarterback from the best squad in the division to go down in order to claim the NFC East.

It's funny to see that the Rams are on the other side of things. They've soared all the way from No. 15 to move in position to select a franchise quarterback. As I tweeted out, Charlie Campbell reported two months ago that the Rams love Carson Wentz, so that's apparently whom they are going to take.

Let me clear here: I understand the importance of a franchise quarterback. For those who have been reading the site for a while, you know that I do. However, surrendering countless resources like this is a sketchy move to begin with, even if it's for a highly rated prospect like Griffin was four years ago. Depth is extremely important, so with all of these picks gone - as well as several key free agents departing this offseason - the Rams won't be very deep. Like the Ravens, they'll be done after incurring a couple of key injuries.

Making matters worse, this is the wrong year to trade up for a signal-caller. It's not like last year when there were two studs - Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota - atop the class. And it's not like next year when Deshaun Watson will be available (click here for my 2017 NFL Mock Draft.) This class is very weak, and it's headlined by two quarterbacks other teams have been lukewarm on. Neither Wentz nor Jared Goff is a slam-dunk franchise quarterback. In fact, it's quite possible that both will flop. If so, the Rams will be horrible for a very long time.

I can't give Los Angeles a Millen grade for this. At least it's trying, and it's adding some excitement, which is needed in Los Angeles, where people haven't expressed enthusiasm for pro football in the past. However, I have to penalize them with a "D" grade. This is an awfully risky move that has a huge chance of backfiring.

As for the Titans, this is an unbelievable trade, worthy of an A+. They won't be able to obtain a blue-chip prospect anymore, but as mentioned, this class wasn't good to begin with. The 2017 draft will be loaded, however, so Tennessee will really be able to strengthen its roster with two potential top-10 selections. Having three second-rounders this year will be enormous for depth purposes.

At 15, I expect Tennessee to do what it was planning to do at No. 1 - target a tackle or a defensive back. Jack Conklin, Mackensie Alexander and Eli Apple are some of the names that will be under consideration. We'll have a better idea once we talk to our sources in the coming days, so check back in our 2016 NFL Draft Rumors page.

Oh, and two things: First, I'll be updating my 2016 NFL Mock Draft later today, and I'll also be posting a winners and losers column for this trade.

Second, Would it kill the Rams not to conduct a trade so early? The five fans they have in Los Angeles were all asleep when the trade was announced at 6:15 a.m. locally. How are the Rams expected to build up excitement in their new city by making big moves when everyone is still in bed?

Grade for Rams - D
Grade for Titans - A+

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Jets acquire OT Ryan Clady, 7th-rounder from Broncos for 5th-rounder
My apologies for this being several hours late. I was at a charity benefit tonight, and this trade took place as soon as I got there. I think we can all agree that NFL teams should be barred from making deals on Saturday night from now on. I think it would be better for everyone.

I want to keep complaining, but this trade is pretty logical for both teams. The Jets just lost D'Brickashsaw Ferguson - check out the disaster grade - and desperately needed to find a replacement because they were unlikely to land Jack Conklin at No. 20 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. The Broncos, meanwhile, were shopping Ryan Clady after signing Russell Okung, making this a perfect match.

Clady is one of the more talented blind-side protectors in the NFL. Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to stay healthy. He has missed 30 games the past three seasons, including all of 2015 with a torn ACL. However, Clady has immense upside, and he actually never was absent for a single start prior to 2013. Given that the Jets barely gave up anything, this is a steal.

Denver, on the other hand, struck a ridiculously cheap deal with Okung to help with its financial difficulty. Getting rid of Clady will allow them to have enough money to trade for Colin Kaepernick. That's not much of a reward, but the fact remains that the Broncos had to do this to relieve their cap situation.

Grade for Jets - A
Grade for Broncos - B

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Patriots acquire TE Martellus Bennett, 6th-round pick from Bears for 4th-round pick
New England fans made it a point to remind me that their team was going to be searching for a tight end after I failed to slot one to the Patriots in my 2016 NFL Mock Draft. I didn't have that happening out of circumstance; New England's need for a tight end was definitely apparent, as the mediocre Scott Chandler's contract had expired.

Martellus Bennett is definitely an upgrade over Chandler, and he'll provide some terrific insurance for Rob Gronkowski, who has dealt with his fair share of injuries. Bennett is surprisingly young for how long he has apparently been around; he just celebrated his 29th birthday, so it's not like he's in decline, or anything. Bennett did catch 90 passes for 916 yards and six touchdowns just two years ago, after all. His numbers dropped in 2015 (53-439-3), but he played just 11 games. Bennett also lost his job to Zach Miller after he clashed with the coaching staff. Bennett simply needed a fresh start, and I'm sure the Patriots will be able to utilize his talents. Thus, I like this move for New England. Moving back about 50 selections on Day 3 is well worth it.

As for the Bears, it was widely known that they wanted to jettison Bennett. There was some doubt, at least according to the Chicago Tribune, that they would even be able to trade Bennett, so I like that they actually obtained something for him. Moving from the middle of the sixth round to the bottom of the fourth isn't bad, as it'll allow Chicago to perhaps add an additional starter for the near future.

This might seem boring, but I'm giving high grades to both the Bears and Patriots. It's a nice trade that makes sense for the two teams.

Grade for Patriots - A-
Grade for Bears - A-

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Cardinals acquire DE Chandler Jones from Patriots for G Jonathan Cooper, 2nd-round pick
Wow, this came out of nowhere. It was never even reported that Chandler Jones was on the market, yet the Cardinals managed to acquire him this afternoon. The public reaction to this is that Arizona won this trade in a landslide. Is that really the case?

Well, there's no doubt that Arizona got a hell of a deal. Chandler Jones is one of the better edge rushers in the NFL. The Patriots apparently thought that he would be too expensive to keep as an impending free agent following 2016, which would explain why they dealt him. The Cardinals, who desperately needed someone who could apply heavy pressure on the quarterback from the exterior, are greatly benefiting. They are in a position to win now, so why not spend a second-round choice on someone who could put them over the top? Jones is better than anything Arizona could have obtained at the end of the second round, and Jones just turned 26 anyway, so he could continue to improve.

As for the Patriots, this looks like a terrible deal on the surface. They probably won't be able to properly replace Jones with Arizona's second-round selection, so their pass rush will be weaker as a result. Jonathan Cooper gives them some hope to fix the offensive line, but he has been a huge bust thus far. Bill Belichick evidently liked Cooper coming out of North Carolina, but so did most teams. Cooper is lazy and just doesn't care about improving. Perhaps that'll change in his new home, but Patriot fans shouldn't hold their breath.

Having said that, this isn't nearly as bad of a trade for New England as the atrocious Logan Mankins-Tim Wright swap of a couple of years ago. I already mentioned that the Patriots were fearful they wouldn't be able to retain Jones after 2016. With that in mind, New England is effectively trading a 2018 third-round selection (compensatory pick for Jones leaving) for a 2016 second-rounder and Cooper. That's not a bad deal, but at what cost? If Jones is the difference between the Patriots winning the Super Bowl this year and not, then they shouldn't have done the deal.

Grade for Cardinals - A
Grade for Patriots - C

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Broncos acquire QB Mark Sanchez from Eagles for conditional late-round pick
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has made a couple of questionable signings this offseason, but he has been an absolute wizard when making trades. He ripped off the Dolphins in a highway-robbery swap, and then managed to unload DeMarco Murray's terrible contract to the Titans. Roseman got rid of another bad deal today, shipping off Mark Sanchez to the Broncos.

Philadelphia may not get anything in return for Sanchez, depending on what the conditions are, but it doesn't matter. Sanchez's bad contract was a hindrance, but that's not the Eagles' problem anymore. It's not like they needed him anyway, given that they brought in Chase Daniel to be Sam Bradford's backup/eventual replacement.

The Broncos, meanwhile, needed a veteran quarterback because, well, they didn't have one. They probably should've just signed Matt Moore, as he is better than Sanchez. It should be noted that Sanchez was definitely not brought in to be the starter. That could be Colin Kaepernick, or perhaps Dak Prescott, whom the Broncos have major interest in, as Charlie Campbell reported a few weeks ago.

Grade for Broncos - C
Grade for Eagles - A

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Titans acquire RB DeMarco Murray from Eagles for swap of 4th-round picks
This trade isn't nearly as lopsided as the Miami-Philadelphia swap. In fact, I think it's a solid move for both teams, as Eagles general manager Howie Roseman wasn't able to absolutely fleece two teams in this offseason. Only the Dolphins were stupid enough to be victimized.

For Philadelphia, the team is getting out of Murray's terrible contract. Murray was a huge disappointment in 2015 for numerous reasons. He was a horrible fit in Chip Kelly's offense, and he was also set to regress after leading the league in touches by a wide margin the year before. Moving on from all of Kelly's failed acquisitions is something the Eagles almost had to do.

Meanwhile, the Titans are filling a major need, and Murray is a much better fit for their offense, which has been described as "exotic smashmouth." It's unlikely that Tennessee will ask Murray to run east-west like Kelly foolishly did. Murray will also be in superior condition now that he's two years removed from that ridiculous 2014 campaign, though it's fair to assume that he'll never be the same because the Cowboys ran him into the ground. Either way, the Titans aren't risking much, moving down just 10 spots in the fourth round.

Grade for Titans - B+
Grade for Eagles - B+

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Dolphins acquire CB Byron Maxwell, ILB Kiko Alonso, No. 13 overall from Eagles for No. 8 overall
I can't stop laughing at this trade. The Dolphins essentially acquired two injured, overpriced players, one of whom has a bloated contract, and also traded out of the top 10. What's the upside here? Why are they doing this? Have they cursed the No. 8 overall pick? Is the prospect the Eagles draft there destined to sustain a torn patellar tendon during the first day of practice? If so, this trade still sucks for Miami!

This really reminds me of an NBA trade, something like Isiah Thomas would've made with the Knicks. Normal NBA trades where teams unload contracts usually involve them giving up something; not upgrading their draft positioning. Like, if the Eagles swapped one of their third-rounders for Miami's fourth-rounder, this would've made much more sense. It's completely illogical that the Dolphins would want to move down after acquiring a linebacker who's always hurt and a mediocre, high-priced cornerback whose shoulder is so damaged right now that he told a physician that he can't even bench press right now.

This really might be one of the lopsided trades in NFL history, and Eagles general manager Howie Roseman is being hailed as a god right now by the fans. Philadelphia earns a very easy A+. As for the Dolphins, well, it's like Matt Millen and Isiah Thomas mated and made the worst trade possible.

Grade for Dolphins - MILLEN ISIAH BABY
Grade for Eagles - A+

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