A look at some of best and worst draft trade-up for QBs



AP Pro Football Writer

Trading up to draft a quarterback in the first round has become commonplace in recent years with it happening 17 times in the past 12 drafts.

Carolina is expected to be the 18th team to do it since 2011 after trading up from No. 9 to No. 1 where the Panthers will have their choice of Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson or Will Levis.

The history of these moves has been mixed with several success stories such as Kansas City getting Patrick Mahomes and Buffalo moving up for Josh Allen, as well as failures such as Chicago moving up for Mitch Trubisky.

Here’s a look at some of the best and worst recent moves to trade up to draft a quarterback:


Chiefs trading up for Mahomes in 2017. No draft-day trade had a bigger impact on the game today than the one Kansas City made in 2017. Fresh off back-to-back playoff berths with Alex Smith at quarterback, Kansas City wanted an upgrade and dealt the 27th overall pick, along with a third-rounder and a 2018 first-rounder to Buffalo to move up to No. 10 and take Mahomes.

Mahomes sat one year behind Smith before taking over and becoming the game’s top QB with two MVP awards. He led the Chiefs to two Super Bowl titles, one additional Super Bowl appearance and five trips in five years to the AFC title game.

Bills trading up for Allen in 2018. While Buffalo gave up the pick for Mahomes, the Bills made up for it the following season when they made a pair of deals to move from No. 21 into the top 10.

Buffalo moved up nine spots to 12th early in the 2018 season by trading tackle Cordy Glenn and the No. 21 pick to Cincinnati for the 12th selection.

Then on draft day, the Bills sent the 12th pick and two second-rounders to Tampa Bay to get up to No. 7 where they took Allen, who has developed into one of the game’s top QBs.

Baltimore trading up for Lamar Jackson in 2018. The Ravens were aggressive in getting a star QB in that 2018 draft but it came after passing on Jackson twice.

Baltimore traded down from No. 22 to No. 25 before taking tight end Hayden Hurst. Then with Jackson still on the board at the end of the round, the Ravens sent a package centered on two second-round picks to Philadelphia for the No. 32 selection where they took Jackson, who won the MVP his second season.


Bears trading up for Trubisky in 2017. Chicago traded two third-round picks and one fourth-rounder to move up one spot and take Trubisky second overall.

The biggest blunder came in their choice of QB, taking Trubisky instead of Mahomes or Deshaun Watson.

Making matters worse, two of the mid-round picks that Chicago gave up turned into stars in Alvin Kamara and Fred Warner.

Jets trading up for Sam Darnold in 2018. New York paid a heavy price for Darnold, trading three second-round picks to move up three spots in the draft to take Darnold third overall.

Darnold lasted three mostly ineffective years as the starter before he was traded away to Carolina as the Jets got back on the QB carousel by taking Zach Wilson second overall in 2021.

Making matters worse is the fact that Allen went one spot after the Jets’ original No. 6 selection and Jackson went later in the first round.

49ers trade up for Trey Lance in 2021. After having a season derailed by an injury to Jimmy Garoppolo for the second time in three years, San Francisco got aggressive in pursuing a replacement.

The Niners sent the No. 12 pick, two future first-rounders and a third-rounder to move up to No. 3 to take the untested Lance, who had thrown only 318 passes in college at lower-level North Dakota State.

Lance spent most of his first season on the bench, went down with a season-ending injury after less than five quarters in 2022 and now has fallen behind 2022 seventh-rounder Brock Purdy in the pecking order in San Francisco.

Despite the heavy cost, the Niners have overcome the blunder and made it to the NFC title game the past two seasons.


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