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The Value of Trading Draft Picks for Veterans

Mike Giddings, president of NFL scouting service Proscout Inc., joined the 33rd Team Call this week to talk about the pros and cons of trading draft capital for veteran players.

“One, you need a special owner to allow you to do it, because there’s obviously a lot of money involved if you’re trading for veterans,” said Giddings. Teams have already budgeted for draft picks, whose rookie contracts are pretty straightforward.

Giddings focused on one team that has made a habit of dealing picks for veterans in recent years: the Los Angeles Rams.

The Rams’ acquisition of quarterback Matthew Stafford earlier this year in exchange for multiple first-round picks was just the latest move. Since 2018, the Rams have dealt draft picks for players such as Jalen Ramsey, Brandin Cooks, Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters and Dante Fowler. In most cases, Giddings pointed out, the Rams gave up less capital than what was used to draft the player in the first place.

In the case of Ramsey, the Rams gave Jacksonville two first-round picks and a fourth. But this trade highlighted Giddings’ main point – you know what you’re getting with most veteran players, but you don’t know what you’re getting with a draft pick.

In Giddings’ color-coded player evaluations, elite players are blue and second-tier players are red. Ramsey has certainly been a blue player throughout his career.

“Looking at it, what are the odds of (drafting) a red corner in Round 1? It’s 50%,” he said. “And a blue corner, it’s 14.7%. You’ve got one of the better corners in the league playing for you, instead of hoping (you get a player like that in the draft).”

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