Draft & Develop: The Turnaround Of Teams With 3 First Round Draft Picks
The Oakland Raiders and New York Giants made history last Thursday night as it was the first time ever that two teams each had three draft picks in the 1st Round of the NFL Draft. Prior to Thursday evening, a team having three picks in the 1st Round had occurred just twelve times previously with the most recent occurring in 2017 with the Cleveland Browns.
Like the Browns, the Giants traded back into Round 1 to select Georgia DB Deandre Baker and acquired the 17th overall pick from the Browns when they shipped off Odell Beckham Jr. The Raiders also acquired their two additional draft picks by shipping off high-profile stars, Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, in separate deals last fall.
While both organizations have been under scrutiny for how they've gone about their rebuilds both front offices now believe they've built a solid foundation and have offensive and defensive cornerstones for their next playoff run. Does having three first-round picks led to immediate success?
In the 9 instances where teams played the same number of games the following season, teams saw their win total increase 6 times.
In 1961 the NFL schedule expanded from 12 to 14 games. In 1983 and 1988 work stoppages prevented teams from playing a full 16-game season although winning percentage wise the Raiders improved and the Chargers regressed.
Of these 43 players, four of them are Hall of Famers – Jimmy Johnson, Alan Page, Mike Haynes, and Tim Brown.
By looking at the two most recent teams that were able to acquire three first-round selections, there are some similarities with the current New York Giants and Oakland Raiders.
2013 MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Coming off a playoff birth and a 10-6 regular season, the Minnesota Vikings traded their dynamic yet problematic wide receiver Percy Harvin to Seattle for three draft picks. Minnesota also shipped off four picks to New England to move back up into the end of the 1st Round. In all, the Vikings selected Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes, and Cordarrelle Patterson.
Floyd spent four seasons in Minnesota before his career was ended due to a knee injury while Xavier Rhodes is still on the Vikings and considered one of the top cornerbacks in the league. Patterson picked up right where Percy Harvin left off and was immediately a game-changing return man in the NFL. Patterson made multiple Pro Bowls as a special teamer but never developed into the wide receiver Minnesota hoped for.
As for their rookie contributions, Xavier Rhodes started six games, forced one fumble and piled up 10 pass breakups. Shariff Floyd started one game forced one fumble and picked up 2.5 sacks. As for their final first-round pick, Patterson had his most productive season to date with 45 receptions, 469 yards, and nine total touchdowns.
Despite those contributions from their first-round picks, Minnesota finished 5-10-1 in 2013. The Vikings offense sputtered at times while they rotated through three starters Quarterbacks (Christian Ponder, Matt Cassell & Josh Freeman) but it was the 32nd ranked defense that was the reason for the Viking's downfall.
Minnesota would eventually hire Mike Zimmer in the offseason who would develop the defense into one of the best units in the NFL and make the Vikings a perennial playoff contender.
2017 Cleveland Browns
Like the Raiders, the Browns were entering a rebuild that was under heavy scrutiny. The Browns owned the 1st overall pick after finishing 1-15 and owned the Eagles 1st round pick after trading back and allowing Philadelphia to draft Carson Wentz the year before.
With holes throughout their roster, the Cleveland Browns selected the consensus top prospect Myles Garrett. Following another trade back Cleveland selected Jabrill Peppers with the 25th overall pick. Four picks later, Cleveland traded back into the first-round, using their previously acquired draft capital, and selected David Njoku.
While Cleveland went 0-16 the following season, Njoku and Garrett are vital building blocks for the future of their franchise. Jabrill Peppers was also apart of the trade that allowed the Browns to acquire Odell Beckham Jr last month.
After trading out of the picks that eventually became Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson, the Browns did land their franchise Quarterback in Baker Mayfield in 2018. In a matter of two years, the Browns have gone from the laughing stock of the NFL to one of the more fun collections of talent in the entire league.
While success might not have come immediately for Minnesota or Cleveland, both the Giants and Raiders are hoping the narrative and direction of their franchises models the turnaround of the Vikings and Browns.