In 2014, movie fans were treated to a cinematic look at draft day for an NFL general manager. In the movie, the main character, Cleveland GM Sonny Weaver Jr., orchestrated a flurry of first-round trades that included the No. 1 overall pick.
While most drafts don't have that much drama, Weaver's first round in "Draft Day" does a good job capturing the excitement that is the NFL Draft, especially during the first round. Millions of fans tune in to see who their favorite team is going to select with their first pick. Fans also watch with the anticipation that at least one or two picks will be swapped while simultaneously ruining every mock draft in the process.
This year's draft will probably also include a trade or two that no one saw coming. Sure, the Bears, Patriots and Seahawks are among the teams that some expect to move around in the first round, but if there's one thing previous drafts have taught us, it's that you can always expect the unexpected to happen.
Trades involving quarterbacks often take center stage, but there have been many impactful first-round trades that have not included quarterbacks. With that in mind, here's a look at the most impactful first-round trades over the past decade that did not include a quarterback. As you'll see, several team's championship fortunes were altered by a trade they made in the first round.
- 29th overall pick (Cordarrelle Patterson)
- 2013 second-round pick (Jamie Collins)
- 2013 third-round pick (Logan Ryan)
- 2014 fourth-round pick (Josh Boyce)
- 2013 seventh-round pick (Everett Dawkins)
This trade helped Bill Belichick add three pieces to his second dynasty. Collins was a Pro Bowler in 2015 and was a starter on the Patriots' 2014 title team. Ryan was a key contributor on New England's 2014 and '16 championship teams.
The third piece? It was actually Patterson, who played the role of Swiss Army Knife for the Patriots' most recent Super Bowl championship team (2018). Before and after his lone Patriot season, Patterson has earned All-Pro honors for his prowess as a kickoff returner.
- 20th overall pick (Brandin Cooks)
- 27th overall pick (Deone Bucannon)
- 2014 third-round pick (John Brown)
- 15th overall pick (Melvin Gordon)
With the Chargers, Gordon blossomed into a two-time Pro Bowler while playing alongside Philip Rivers. His play in 2018 helped the Chargers advance to the divisional round of the playoffs for only the second time since 2019.
Armstead has become a mainstay on the 49ers' defensive line. His 10-sack 2019 season helped the 49ers capture their first NFC title since 2012.
- Kevin Zeitler
- Jabrill Peppers
- 17th overall pick (Dexter Lawrence)
- 2019 third-round pick (Oshane Ximines)
It was big news when the Giants finally traded the popular Beckham after five seasons in the Big Apple. Beckham went onto have a largely forgettable stay in Cleveland that lasted less than three seasons. Conversely, Lawrence, who the Giants selected with the first-round pick in the Beckham trade, was a Day 1 starter with the Giants who was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2022.
- 24th overall pick (Josh Jacobs)
- 2019 sixth-round pick (Blessuan Austin)
- 2020 first-round pick (Damon Arnette)
- 2020 third-round pick (Bryan Edwards)
While Arnette and Edwards were busts, it's safe to say that the Raiders are happy with the selection of Jacobs, who last season led the NFL 1,653 rushing. yards. The acquisition of Mack propelled the Bears to a division title in 2018 and another playoff appearance in 2020.
- 2020 first-round pick (Austin Jackson)
- 2020 fifth-round pick (Jake Stowbridge)
- 2021 sixth-round pick (Jonathan Marshall)
The Steelers were handsomely rewarded for trading away their first-round pick to Miami just two weeks into the 2019 season. Along with acquiring a future two-time All-Pro in Fitzpatrick, the Steelers ultimately acquired a future starting offensive lineman in Dotson and a solid backup defensive back in Norwood.
Jackson, the player the Dolphins selected with the 18th overall pick in the 2020 Draft, started in 28 games during his first two seasons. Injuries limited him to just two games during the 2022 season.
- 22nd overall pick (Justin Jefferson)
- 2020 fifth-round pick (Trevis Gipson)
- 2020 sixth-round pick (James Proche)
- 2021 conditional fourth-round pick (Janarius Robinson)
It's safe to say that both parties are happy with the outcome of this trade. With Diggs, the Bills have won three straight division titles. Jackson has also blossomed into a starter in Buffalo's secondary. The Vikings acquired the NFL's next great wideout in Jefferson, a three-time Pro Bowler who in 2022 led the NFL with 128 receptions and 1,809 receiving yards.
This was part of a trade that ultimately changed the futures of three franchises. For the Dolphins, the trade allowed them to acquire a receiver who made an immediate impact on Miami's offense. During his first two seasons, Waddle caught 179 passes for 2,371 yards and 14 touchdowns. He is also the creator of one of the NFL's most popular dance moves.
- 10th overall pick (DeVonta Smith
- 12th overall pick Micah Parsons)
- 2021 third-round pick (Chauncey Golston)
A year after trading with Miami, the Eagles traded the 12th overall pick to their main rival. The Cowboys used the pick to acquire Parsons, a gifted player who has quickly blossomed into one of the league's top linebackers. The Eagles used the 10th pick to take a receive who helped the Eagles reach the Super Bowl this past season. Smith was excellent in the Super Bowl, where he caught seven passes for 100 yards.
- 31st overall pick (Odafe Oweh)
- 2021 third-round pick (Ben Cleveland)
- 2021 fourth-round pick (Marco Wilson)
- 2022 fifth-round pick (Marcus McKethan)
This trade, executed shortly after the Chiefs' offensive line struggled in Kansas City's Super Bowl loss to the Buccaneers, played an integral role in the Chiefs getting back to the top of the mountain this past season. Brown helped Patrick Mahomes win league and Super Bowl MVP honors for a second time in his still young career in 2022. Bolton, the Chiefs' second first-round pick in this draft, racked up a whopping 180 tackles last season while becoming a key cog in Kansas City's defense.
- Bradley McDougald
- 2021 first-round pick (Christian Darrisaw)
- 2021 third-round pick (Wyatt Davis)
- 2022 first-round pick (Garrett Wilson)
While only one player panned out for them in this trade, the Jets are surely OK with that given that that player -- Wilson -- is the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year. You could argue that Wilson's presence in New York helped compel Aaron Rodgers to come to the Big Apple.
Seattle was able to acquire a veteran Pro Bowl safety in Adams, who is hoping to bounce back this season after missing most of last year with an injury.
This trade was the headline story of the first round of last year's draft. The Eagles acquired a player in Brown who helped them capture last year's NFC title. Conversely, Burks struggled to make an impact during his rookie season in Nashville.