In March, Titans general manager Jon Robinson told ESPN he wanted a "king's ransom" to trade down from the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. He went on to say that Tennessee would require a "substantial amount of picks to do that."
Well, he got his wish Thursday morning when the Los Angeles Rams anted up six draft picks – No. 15 overall this year and the Rams' first-round pick in 2017 headline the deal. But Tennessee also got two second-round picks later this month and two third-round selections (this year and next) in exchange for the Titans' No. 1 and fourth- and sixth-round picks this year. That haul marks the most in terms of quantity that any team has gotten in exchange for the No. 1 pick in the past 25 years.
Is it worth the Titans to swap the top pick for a boatload of selections?
Dating back to 1991, the five teams that traded away the No. 1 pick got fairly high first-round picks and other goodies, including future picks or veteran players – but gauging potential NFL talent is tricky business, and the trades didn't work out nearly as often as they did.
The Titans nearly became the fourth team in the post-NFL/AFL merger to have back-to-back No. 1 picks, but weren't quite lousy enough grab the top spot of the 2015 draft. Instead, Tennessee was No. 2 and even adding Marcus Mariota (who got injured) wasn't enough to significantly improve its plight.
It's too early to judge how well the Titans can do with this windfall. But let's take a look at swaps for No. 1 dating back to 1991:
Plenty of pundits wouldn't count this one as a true trade for No. 1, but given the shock value, it's certainly worth looking at. Eli Manning was the clear top pick, but he was equally as clear in his intent not to play for San Diego. The Chargers negotiated with the Giants right up until the draft when they selected Manning No. 1. San Diego wanted Philip Rivers (and plenty of other goodies), so after the Giants took Rivers at No. 4, a trade was consummated. With their hands tied, the Chargers got as much as they could and ultimately, both teams landed a franchise quarterback.
Total Take for No. 1: No. 4 overall pick, a third-round pick, future first- and fifth-round picks. The Chargers used the third-round pick on Nate Kaeding, who was a two-time All-Pro kicker but also missed some crucial field-goal attempts in the playoffs. The future first-rounder turned out to be Shawne Merriman, a three-time All-Pro linebacker before injuries stifled his career.
Worth it? Yes.
The key figure on the draft board in 2001 was Michael Vick. And while he gave the Falcons six good years before landing in jail after the whole dog-fighting fiasco, the Chargers certainly cleaned up on this deal. While trading away the rights to Vick looked kind of crazy at the time, San Diego got the premiere running back of the decade when it used the No. 5 overall pick to take LaDainian Tomlinson. Although they gave up the chance to take Vick, the Chargers still got a nice quarterback with their second-round pick. Some guy named Drew Brees.
Total Take for No. 1: No. 5 overall pick, third-round pick, a 2002 second-round pick and receiver-returner Tim Dwight.
Worth it? Yes.
New York was in a rebuilding phase and there was no clear-cut top pick in the draft, so the Jets decided to go for quantity, touching off a chain reaction that ultimately landed them in the No. 8 spot. After the Rams offered New York the No. 6 overall pick plus three later-round picks, the Jets traded down again, leaving the Bucs with the No. 6 pick. They, in turn, traded No. 6 for the Seahawks' No. 12 plus a third-round pick. The net result? The Rams took Orlando Pace (No. 1), the Seahawks grabbed Walter Jones (No. 6) and the Jets ended up with James Farrior (No. 8), who blossomed in his final two seasons with New York before being traded to Pittsburgh.
Total Take for No. 1: No. 6 overall pick, third-round pick, two fourth-round picks (one from Tampa Bay), seventh-round pick.
Worth it? Not so much. Pace became a Hall of Famer with the Rams. Jones did likewise with the Seahawks.
In a draft that didn't offer much in the way of a clear No. 1, the expansion Panthers took a relatively paltry two selections in exchange for the top spot. The Bengals, who were desperately in need of a running back, offered the Panthers the No. 5 and No. 36 overall picks in exchange for the opportunity to make Ki-Jana Carter the No. 1 pick. Carter lasted seven years in the NFL, got injured early, and never evolved into the go-to running back Cincinnati needed. The Panthers took quarterback Kerry Collins, but he didn't turn out to be a franchise quarterback, and defensive end Shawn King, who lasted only five years in the pros.
Total Take for No. 1: No. 5 overall pick and No. 36 overall pick.
Worth it? A wash, no game-changers for either team, but it might have been a different story for Carolina if Collins' career wasn't derailed because of alcohol issues. He led the Panthers to the NFC championship game in his second season before his career sputtered. He eventually helped the Giants reach the Super Bowl in the 2000 season, but was ultimately a journeyman, playing for six teams.
New England had the top pick but traded down with Dallas. Though the Patriots got five players/picks out of the deal, none made an impact. As for the Cowboys, Jimmy Johnson took DT Russell Maryland with the top pick after their initial target Rocket Ismail bolted for the Great White North. Maryland never became the dominant player the Cowboys had hoped for. As for the Patriots, they used the No. 11 pick to take tackle Pat Harlow, who lasted only four years in New England. They used the second-rounder from Dallas to take CB Jerome Henderson, whose two-year stint in New England was the longest stay of his career.
Total Take for No. 1: CB Ron Francis, DT David Howard, LB Eugene Lockhart, No. 11 pick and second-round pick.
Worth it? Nope, not for either team.