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Tampa Bay’s first-round trade spectrum of the 2020 NFL Draft

Using past examples, we will take a look at how the Bucs can work the first round of the draft to their advantage.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The first round of the draft is absolutely crucial for the Bucs in 2020.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve followed my work, then you know I usually don’t like to get into draft talk before free agency.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, you can definitely piece together what a team may do in April, but things can change drastically after March. The fallout of free agency can alter a team’s draft plans. The Bucs, for one, are one of those teams.

Anyway, there’s one thing for certain come draft time and that’s the fact that the Bucs will select their guy with the 14th pick on that fateful Thursday night.

Or will they?

Depending on how the draft goes - or how things lead up to the draft - the Bucs may decide to make a move when it comes to their pick. They could trade up, trade back, or pick a guy then trade back into the first round to possibly nab another.

Since all three of those scenarios are realistic - regardless of chance - it’s important to know what the cost of those moves would incur on the Bucs’ end and that of their trade partner’s.

I’ll use past examples of draft day trades for each scenario to help formulate an idea since there is no true equation in determining a draft day trade. I’ll also use the NFL’s trade value chart to help with this exercise. If you aren’t familiar with the chart, check it out here.

Trading Up

Obviously, this is all about how high up the Bucs want to go. The main reason they would trade up is to get a quarterback or one of the top offensive line prospects and they’d have to pay a rather heavy price in order to do so.

Let’s say they want to risk it all and trade up to select Tua Tagovailoa. It’s likely that the Bucs would have to move in front of the Dolphins, so either the Redskins, Lions, or Giants would have to become a trade partner.

According to the chart, the second overall pick is worth 2600 points, the third overall pick is worth 2200 points, and the fourth overall pick is worth 1800 points. Tampa Bay’s 14th overall pick is worth 1100 points.

Just going off of the chart, the Bucs would have to give up at least two first-round picks and multiple other picks to move up. We are talking the 14th overall pick in 2020, a first-round pick in 2021, and then likely a second- or third-rounder - or possibly both.

The Bucs could also move up to let’s say seventh or eighth and try to grab one of the top offensive linemen. That wouldn’t be as nearly as expensive and would also make a lot of sense.

There are a few examples to use as a guide for this scenario. Granted, none of them are identical, but you can at least use them as a starting point to figure out how much it would actually cost to do this.

1. Tennessee Titans trade with Cleveland Browns to move up from No. 15 to No. 8:
2016 NFL Draft
Browns receive: #15 overall, #76 (3rd round), 2017 2nd-rounder
Titans receive: #8 overall, #176 (6th round)

This is probably the closest example I could find. Going strictly off the chart, this trade netted the Browns a +110 margin at the very least. Tennessee’s second-round pick eventually became the 52nd overall pick, which netted the Browns a +220 margin, the equivalent of a pick in the middle of the third round.

So, the Titans overpaid to move up. But that’s what happens a lot in the NFL. It’s the price of doing business.

It obviously gets more expensive if you want to move into the top-5 of the draft. That usually requires at least another first-round pick. Look at the Carson Wentz trade, the Julio Jones trade - among others - for a good reference on how much it costs to move up that high. If Tampa Bay doesn’t want to give its 2021 first-round pick, then we’re talking a bevy of 2020 picks to make up for it.

You’re looking at giving up the first- , second-, third-, and fourth-round picks just to even clear the price of admission for a trade with the Giants at the fourth spot. And even then, it’s likely they wouldn’t take the offer since it’s a top-5 pick.

2. Buffalo Bills trade with Tampa Bay Buccaneers to move up from No. 12 to No. 7:
2018 NFL Draft
Bucs receive: #12 overall, #53 (2nd round), #56 (2nd round)
Bills receive: #7 overall, #255 (7th round)

I’m sure you’re familiar with this trade. This is an example to use in case the Bucs want to move up to ensure they can get a Tristan Warfs or Andrew Thomas. The No. 14 pick, the No. 45 pick and a 2021 second-rounder wouldn’t be too expensive to help protect Jameis Winston (possibly) in 2020 and beyond.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons
Yes, the infamous trade that brought us the Great Vita.
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

3. Miami Dolphins trade with Oakland Raiders to move up from No. 12 to No. 3:
2013 NFL Draft
Raiders receive: #12 overall, #42 (2nd round)
Dolphins receive: #3 overall

Looking back at this trade, I have no idea as to how the Dolphins basically paid the Raiders in peanuts to move up to the third overall spot. If the Bucs could pull this off, I’d be fine with it, but I highly doubt they’re able to make this happen.

And that’s nothing on them. I just doubt the Lions or the Giants would be this stupid.

Trading Back

I’m always a fan of this scenario. This just all depends on how badly a team wants to move up, so we will just look at some past examples and use those as references for what could happen.

1. Green Bay Packers trade back with New Orleans Saints from No. 14 to No. 27:
2018 NFL Draft
Packers receive: #27 overall, #147 (5th round), 2019 1st-round pick
Saints receive: #14 overall

This is obviously the closest example I could find considering the fact that the Bucs pick at 14, but there’s also a chance Eason could be available in the back part of the first round. I see no reason why the Bucs would not hesitate at the opportunity to get their guy while also collecting more draft picks in the process.

2. Seattle Seahawks trade back with Green Bay Packers from No. 18 to No. 27:
2018 NFL Draft
Seahawks receive: #27 overall, #76 (3rd round), #186 (6th round)
Packers receive: #18 overall, #248 (7th round)

The Hawks were able to finagle a third-rounder from the Packers, but maybe that’s because they were able to afford to pay a little more since they just took the Saints’ 2019 first-rounder. Either way, you think the Bucs would be able to pull off the trading team’s first-rounder and a third-rounder or maybe even a low, low second-rounder if they wanted to drop from 14th to the mid-20s.

3. Baltimore Ravens trade back with Buffalo Bills from No. 16 to No. 22
2018 NFL Draft
Ravens receive: #22 overall, #65 (3rd round)
Bills receive: #16 overall, #154 (5th round)

There were a lot of trades in 2018, but hey, it’s great a reference for me!

Obviously, the return here isn’t that great, but if whomever the Bucs want is gone and their next guy isn’t up for a while, a third-round pick is better than nothing.

4. San Francisco 49ers trade back with San Diego Chargers from No. 17 to No. 15:
2015 NFL Draft
9ers receive: #17 overall, #117 (4th round), 2016 fifth-rounder
Chargers receive: #15 overall

I just wanted to include this one since it was a “close-proximity trade”, meaning that the 9ers only dropped a couple of spots.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Diego Chargers
The Chargers were able to move up and grab Melvin Gordon in 2015.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Trading Back Into The First Round

This would be an interesting scenario and the Bucs could certainly pull it off. They could get their guy at 14 - whomever he may be - and then come back into the first to nab a guy like Eason or any other player of their choosing. If we wanted to get really crazy, it’d be cool to see the Bucs trade back a few spots then use extra picks to trade back into the back of the first round.

I know, I need to settle down.

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade with Denver Broncos to move up from No. 36 to No. 31:
2012 NFL Draft
Broncos receive: #36 overall, #101 (4th round)
Bucs receive: #31 overall, #126 (4th round)

Another familiar example, right?

I mean, this is completely logical. The Bucs were able to move up five spots and back into the first round and didn’t even lose a pick. Yes, they lost ground in the fourth round, but they didn’t bow out completely.

It just so happens that the Bucs should receive an extra fourth-round pick this year, as well.

2. Atlanta Falcons trade with Los Angeles Rams to move up from No. 45 to No. 31:
2019 NFL Draft
Rams receive: #45 (2nd round), #79 (3rd round)
Falcons receive: #31 overall, #203 (6th round)

What do we have, here? An example that is not only recent but very applicable in terms of context?

As you know, the Bucs hold the 45th pick in the second round of the draft. Do I need to say any more? Maybe they could offer both fourth-rounders instead of having to give up a third, but that would only get Tampa Bay to No. 35, whereas the third-rounder would be sufficient enough to move up to 28th (in addition with the Bucs’ 45th pick, obviously).

They could always try and swing a 2021 third-rounder, but that seems difficult.

3. Minnesota Vikings trade with New England Patriots to move up from No. 52 to No. 29:
2013 NFL Draft
Patriots receive: #52 (2nd round), #83 (3rd round), #102 (4th round), #229 (7th round)
Vikings receive: #29 overall

Good Lord. I’m OK with trading back into the first round, but please don’t get screwed like this.

That is all.