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One of the options for the Detroit Lions with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft is to trade back. It’s not something that happens often, and it’s almost always a move made for a team coming up to get a quarterback
What could the Lions expect to get in return for the pick in a trade? There are a few recent deals that highlight both the draft capital Detroit could get in return as well as how the teams who traded back have fared in using those returns.
Here is the history of trades involving the No. 2 overall pick dating back over the last 25 years and how it turned out for both teams involved.
2017: The Mitchell Trubisky trade
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The San Francisco 49ers traded the No. 2 overall pick in 2017 to the Chicago Bears in exchange for Chicago’s first-, third-, and fourth-round selections (3, 67, 111) and a third-round selection in 2018. Chicago chose one-time Pro Bowl QB Mitchell Trubisky, now the projected starter for the Pittsburgh Steelers, his third NFL team in as many seasons.
Falling back one spot, the 49ers took Stanford DL Solomon Thomas. It did not work out well for San Francisco. Thomas had just six sacks in four nondescript seasons with the 49ers before moving onto the Las Vegas Raiders for 2021. He’s now with the New York Jets and former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, the Jets’ head coach.
The other picks the 49ers acquired for the No. 2 pick:
Third round 2017 – San Francisco traded this pick to New Orleans as part of a deal that saw the Saints select RB Alvin Kamara. The 49ers also traded the return from the Saints, sending it to Washington and eventually selecting WR Dante Pettis
Fourth round 2017 – San Francisco packaged No. 111 along with No. 34 overall and dealt it to the division-rival Seattle Seahawks for the No. 31 overall pick. They used the pick on LB Reuben Foster, a controversial pick from the get-go. The oft-suspended, oft-injured Foster has played in just 16 NFL games and is currently out of the league.
Third round 2018 – The No. 70 overall pick turned out to be a great one for the 49ers. They selected BYU linebacker Fred Warner, who has started every game in his four NFL seasons. With over 500 total career tackles and a 1st-team All-Pro nod in 2020, Warner is handily the best player affiliated with this trade for the 49ers.
2016: The Carson Wentz trade
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
The Eagles dealt the No. 8 pick, their third-round pick (No. 77) and a fourth-round pick (No. 100) in 2016, plus their 2017 first-rounder (No. 12) and a 2018 second-round pick (No. 64) to move up and select Wentz.
That’s a lot of return for the Browns, and Cleveland has parlayed the plethora of picks into an even greater plethora of picks, with some ongoing results. I broke this all down for Browns Wire last year and quite frankly it’s very complicated to recreate. Odell Beckham Jr., Deshaun Watson and current Lions kicker Austin Seibert are among the many players indirectly involved in all the traded picks.
2012 & 2014: Traded for each other
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
The No. 2 pick in the 2014 draft was part of the trade package for the No. 2 pick in 2012 draft. And neither pick worked out for the team that acquired the pick…
In 2012, the Washington Commanders (then with a different name) traded Nos. 6 and 39 in 2012, a first-round pick in 2013 and another in 2014 to the then-St. Louis Rams to move up to No. 2 and take Baylor QB Robert Griffin III.
Griffin won Offensive Rookie of the Year over Andrew Luck and made the Pro Bowl in 2012 before injuries and a declined supporting cast ruined his promising career. The Rams did a lot with the picks in return.
No. 6 in 2012 – The Rams traded this pick to the Cowboys for No. 12 and No. 45 in the same draft. At 12, they drafted current Lions DE Michael Brockers. Dallas took CB Morris Claiborne. The 45th pick got traded by the Rams to the Bears for picks 50 and 150 overall so the Bears could draft WR Alshon Jeffery. The Rams turned those picks into RB Isaiah Pead and OT Rokevious Watkins. More picks don’t always mean better things…
No. 39 in 2012 – CB Jackrabbit (then Janoris) Jenkins, who had (and is still having) a better career than Claiborne.
1st rounder in 2013 – This became pick No. 22 overall, which the Rams to the Falcons in a deal that landed them LB Alec Ogletree, WR Stedman Bailey and RB Zac Stacy (via another traded pick). Atlanta took CB Desmond Trufant, another former Lions player.
1st rounder (No. 2) in 2014 – Washington sank back to the bottom with Griffin’s unfortunate injury, which made the 2014 pick traded back in 2012 the No. 2 once again. The Rams used it on Auburn OT Greg Robinson. After three seasons as a below-average starter, the Rams dealt Robinson to the Lions for a 6th-rounder in 2018. That pick was traded (notice a theme?) to Atlanta for two Day 3 picks, while the Falcons landed WR Russell Gage.
2000: The Ricky Williams aftermath
(AP Photo/Judi Bottoni, File)
The New Orleans Saints traded their entire allotment of draft picks in 1999 and their 1st and 3rd rounders in 2020 to Washington so then-coach Mike Ditka could draft Texas RB Ricky Williams with the No. 5 overall pick.
The Saints went 3-13 in Williams’ rookie season with the combination of Billy Joe Tolliver and Bill Joe Hobert at QB, earning them the No. 2 pick in 2000 — which was conveyed to Washington from the trade. Washington selected Penn State LB Lavar Arrington, who had three Pro Bowl seasons in his first four years before injuries ruined his career.
1998: Ryan Leaf
(AP Photo/Kent Horner, File)
The Arizona Cardinals dealt the No. 2 pick in 1998 to the then-San Diego Chargers for No. 3 and No. 33 in 1998, a 1999 1st-rounder and two veterans, RB/WR Eric Metcalf and LB Patrick Sapp. San Diego just had to have Washington State QB Ryan Leaf.
Leaf turned into one of the biggest busts in NFL draft history. The Cardinals definitely made out much better, even though the No. 3 pick they acquired turned into OLB Andre Wadsworth, who might be the biggest bust in Cardinals draft history (and that’s saying something!).
Arizona drafted Vanderbilt DB Corey Chavous with the second-rounder in 1998. Chavous was a good starter for over a decade at safety once he switched from cornerback. The 1999 first-rounder became Ohio State WR David Boston, who was a physical monster when healthy; he led the NFL in receiving yards in 2001 and posted over 3,000 receiving yards and 17 TDs in his first three seasons before injuries torpedoed his career.
March 16, 1998: Traded by Cardinals as 1998 1st round pick (2nd overall) to Chargers for 1998 1st round pick (3rd overall, Andre Wadsworth), 1998 2nd round pick (33rd overall, Corey Chavous), 1999 1st round pick (8th overall, David Boston), Eric Metcalf and Patrick Sapp
1997: Raiders rise for Russell
(AP Photo/John Harrell)
A very good player whose career–and life–were sadly cut short, Darrel Russell was an attractive enough prospect as a defensive lineman at USC to convince the then-Oakland Raiders to deal No. 10, 39 and 107 overall to New Orleans for the No. 2 pick and No. 166 overall in the 1997 draft.
Russell was a beast, earning All-Pro honors in his second season and another Pro Bowl in 1999 before substance abuse derailed his life. Suspended for life by the NFL for repeated violations of the league’s drug policy, Russell died in a car accident in 2005.
The Saints used the No. 10 pick on Colorado G Chris Naeole, who turned into a solid long-time starter. No. 39 in 1997 became Nebraska DE Jared Tomich, a tweener who registered 10.5 sacks in five NFL seasons. New Orleans actually traded No. 166 back to the Raiders in a package that involves zero players of any consequence for either team.
Orleans traded its first- and sixth-round selections (2nd and 166th) to Oakland in exchange for Oakland’s first-, second- and fourth-round selections (10th, 39th and 107th) and WR Daryl Hobbs.