Should Seahawks trade away future 1st-round picks as much as Rams do?
Feb 2, 2021, 1:08 PM
The Seahawks may have won the NFC West in 2020, but the Los Angeles Rams got the last laugh by beating Seattle in the opening round of the playoffs. Now, the Rams have seemingly upgraded at quarterback by acquiring Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions.
Stafford is seen as a big improvement for the Rams over Jared Goff, but in order to get Stafford to Los Angeles, the Rams had to send Detroit not just Goff but also two first-round picks and a third-round pick. Shipping off first-rounders is nothing new to the Rams, though.
The last time Los Angeles made a selection in the first round was to take Goff with the No. 1 overall pick in 2016, a pick they moved up in the draft to get by trading away their 2017 first-round pick. The next year, the Rams shipped off their 2018 first-round pick to acquire receiver Brandin Cooks. In 2019, Los Angeles traded out of the first round with the Falcons. Then, the Rams sent their 2020 and 2021 first-rounders to the Jaguars for cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
In the Stafford trade, the Rams are giving up their first-round picks in 2022 and 2023, meaning that unless a trade happens, Los Angeles won’t pick in the first round until 2024 – eight years after the team’s last first-round pick in Goff.
On Monday, 710 ESPN Seattle’s Wyman and Bob along with Jake Heaps of Jake and Stacy discussed whether this is a strategy that the Seahawks should look at doing going forward, especially as they’ve already dipped their toes in the water, so to speak, with a big trade last offseason.
“We saw the Seahawks do that with (safety) Jamal Adams,” Bob Stelton pointed out.
The Seahawks sent their 2021 and 2022 first-rounders to the New York Jets, along with a third-round pick and safety Bradley McDougald, to acquire Adams and a fourth-round pick. The Seahawks have also traded first-round picks for either players or more draft picks under general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll, but prior to the Adams trade, Seattle had not traded multiple first-rounders since that duo came to town in 2010.
Though that could signal a shift in philosophy to one that the Rams are currently using, Stelton pointed out that the timing could make the Adams trade a one-time deal for the Seahawks.
“They gave up significant draft capital to bring him in here and we were all looking at, especially this year with the weird college football season, you’ve got no combine, you’ve got some teams playing 11 games, some teams played five games,” he said. “This feels like if you were going to give up draft picks, this was the year to do it.”
Stelton also noted that the Seahawks’ recent track record with first-round draft picks “has not been great” and that since they pick near the end of the first round every year due to their success, it may make sense going forward to try and get proven commodities like they did with Adams.
Heaps said that with Seattle typically picking near the end of the first round due to the status as a perennial playoff contender, the talent level between those players and guys who could be available in even the third round isn’t as drastic as you’d think. He added that with a late first-round pick, it often comes down to a guy that scouts and front office executives “fall in love with” when it comes to their upside.
“At times, the Seahawks have been a little more experimental with their approach when it comes to those types of picks,” he said, noting 2016 first-round right tackle Germain Ifedi didn’t work out and 2018 first-round RB Rashaad Penny has yet to either.
Because of some apparent misses in the draft’s first round, Heaps thinks the Seahawks following the Rams’ lead in being comfortable trading away first-round picks isn’t a bad idea at all.
“I would be leaning more towards the idea that I don’t really care about giving up a first-rounder like that if you’re able to find a good, proven player,” he said.
There is a key downside to doing that kind of deal, however.
“The problem is those types of players usually come with a bigger contract, and that’s not always realistic for a team to be able to take on in a salary cap-driven league like the NFL is,” Heaps said.
You can hear the full discussion in the last segment of the podcast of Monday’s Wyman and Bob at this link or in the player below.