The Browns hauled in a bounty of draft picks from the Falcons when they moved down from pick No. 6 to pick No. 27. But a few hours later, when the Browns traded back up to get pick No. 21 from the Chiefs, Cleveland overpaid.
At least, the Browns overpaid according to the draft chart that NFL teams use as a rough approximation of the value of picks when trying to decide what makes for a fair trade. The Chiefs’ official web site notes that of the 18 trades made featuring only 2011 draft picks, the one with the greatest point differential, according to the chart, was that Chiefs-Browns trade, in which Cleveland shipped its third-round pick (No. 70 overall) to Kansas City in order to move up six spots in the first round and select defensive tackle Phil Taylor.
According to the chart, that meant the Browns gave up two picks worth 920 points to get one pick worth 800 points. That 120-point difference was the most for any of the 18 trades.
Mike Sando of ESPN has the full breakdown of all the trades, which shows that in addition to the Browns, the other team that significantly overpaid for a trade was Jacksonville, which gave up the 16th and 49th picks in order to move up to the 10th pick to take Blaine Gabbert.
In other words, two teams that traded down in the first round (Chiefs and Redskins) got great deals from teams wanting to move up (Browns and Jaguars). Of course, if Gabbert becomes the Jaguars’ franchise quarterback and Taylor becomes a Pro Bowler, no one is going to say those teams overpaid.
Ultimately, a look at all 18 trades shows that most of the time, teams follow the chart closely when making trades. In 10 of the 18 trades, the difference in value among the picks traded was nine points or less, according to the chart.