In the first of an nine-part series chronicling the biggest trades surrounding the NFL draft over the past decade, we check in on what was a pretty amazing year of dealing leading up to and during the annual event back in 2007.
From a trade between the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers that eventually enabled the former to acquire Randy Moss to a separate deal involving the Pats and their AFC East rival Miami Dolphins, Bill Belichick and Co. made out like bandits.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Cleveland Browns had the “bright” idea of attempting to acquire a golden boy in former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn — a trade that ended up setting the franchise back several years.
Here are the five-biggest trades of the 2007 NFL draft.
1. New England Patriots trade first-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers
Oh, man. Now this is one of those trades that seems relatively small on the surface, only to help one of the greatest organizations in professional sports remain on top.
Here’s the short of it. New England dealt its first-round pick (28th overall) to the San Francisco 49ers for their fourth-round pick that year and a first-rounder in 2008.
Just a day later, New England turned that fourth rounder into Randy Moss in a separate deal with the Oakland Raiders. We don’t really need to explain exactly what Moss’ presence on the Patriots meant for Tom Brady and Co.
Using that additional first-round pick the following year, New England traded back just a couple spots in the top 10 with the New Orleans Saints. It ended up selecting two-time Pro Bowl performer and recently retired linebacker Jerod Mayo.
This deal wasn’t all too bad from the 49ers perspective either. They were able to land an offensive tackle in Joe Staley that has earned five Pro Bowls in his nine seasons with the team.
The raw end of the deal? Oakland ended up selecting cornerback John Bowie with the fourth-rounder it received from New England. That came just two years after it yielded the seventh overall pick in the 2005 draft to the Minnesota Vikings for Moss. Bowie played five games for the Raiders in two seasons, recording a total of two tackles. Ouch!
2. Atlanta Falcons trade Matt Schaub to the Houston Texans
This move enabled Atlanta to move up two spots in the top 10 while collecting a second-round pick that year and another second rounder in 2008. The Falcons ended up selecting defensive end Jamaal Anderson with the eighth pick while Houston went with fellow defensive lineman Amobi Okoye. That in and of itself was pretty much a wash, as neither player panned out.
It’s the two second-round picks that Atlanta received that makes this deal noteworthy. It picked up guard Justin Blalock with the 2007 second rounder. The offensive lineman started all 125 games in which he appeared in eight seasons with Atlanta before eventually being released prior to last season.
Then in 2008, Atlanta was able to turn that second-rounder into a trade-up for offensive tackle Sam Baker with the 21st selection in the first round. Dealing with injuries throughout his tenure in Atlanta, Baker started just six games in seven seasons.
Meanwhile, Schaub went on to earn two Pro Bowl appearances in seven seasons with the Texans, leading the franchise to its first two playoff appearances in his final two full seasons as its starter.
3. Cleveland Browns trade into first round, send first and second rounders to the Dallas Cowboys
In a move that set back the Browns organization years, they thought the addition of then prized Notre Dame product Brady Quinn was worth giving up that year’s second-round pick and a first-rounder the following year to nab the signal caller. It was a downright disaster.
Quinn ended up starting just 12 games in three seasons with Cleveland, posting 10 touchdowns and leading the team to a 3-9 record.
Dallas used that second-round pick in 2007 as part of a package to move back into the first round itself, picking up pass-rusher Anthony Spencer. Then in 2008, the Cowboys picked up former Arkansas running back Felix Jones.
While this deal didn’t pan out anywhere near the way Jerry Jones and Co. had hoped, Cleveland proved that its draft-day dealing this particular year left a lot to be desired.
Instead of picking up a quarterback that posted 12 starts during his Browns career, the team could have very easily ended up with Joe Staley, Eric Weddle and Chris Johnson, all three of whom are still making impacts in the NFL.
4. Carolina Panthers trade 14th pick to the New York Jets for 25th pick
This trade enabled the Jets to pick up former Pittsburgh star Darrelle Revis in the middle of the first round. It didn’t come without the team having to give up a late first-round pick as well as both a second and fifth rounder that year.
With the 25th pick, Carolina selected eventual Pro Bowl performer Jon Beason, who earned three trips to Hawaii in his first four NFL seasons.
Carolina then nabbed center Ryan Kalil in the second round, a player that has appeared in five Pro Bowls in nine seasons with the Panthers. He’s also coming off an All-Pro performance this past season.
Rarely does a trade of this ilk work out for both sides, but that’s exactly what has happened here. After a mini two-year absence from New York, Revis is back at the top of his game with the Jets. He’s coming off his fifth Pro Bowl appearance in six seasons with the team.
Meanwhile, the Panthers were able to acquire two players that can be considered among the best in franchise history.
5. Miami Dolphins trade Wes Welker to the New England Patriots
The genius of Bill struck again in the lead up to the 2007 NFL draft. In March of that year, New England acquired this eventual Pro Bowl receiver in exchange for a second and seventh-round pick that April.
That seemed like a mighty big bounty to pay for a receiver that had recorded just over 1,100 yards in parts of three NFL seasons prior to the deal.
New England ended up with a pass-catcher in Welker that ultimately ended his six-year career with the franchise first on its all-time list in receptions and second in receiving yards. He also helped the team to three AFC titles.
What exactly did Miami receive in this deal? Well, a center in Samson Satele that played just three seasons with the team, acting as nothing more than a mediocre starter during that span.
The seventh-round pick Miami acquired? That came in the form of a defensive end by the name of Abraham Wright that never even suited up for the team. Ouch!