How the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded down in the first round and won the 2018 NFL draft

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers entered the 2018 NFL Draft with a perfect spot to smartly trade down – the No. 7 overall pick. Educated residents of Trade Down Island know the draft is nothing more than educated guesswork, which is why the draft can get pretty random after the first five picks or so. As I’ve previously written, picks No. 8-10 have been outperformed by picks No. 13-15, so moving back a bit in latter half of the Top 10 isn’t bad strategy.

Enter the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay smartly traded back from No. 7 to No. 12 with the Buffalo Bills, a team that was desperate to trade up for quarterback Josh Allen (see Trade #18.2). In return the Bucs received some serious booty. In addition to NO. 12 they also received No. 53 (2nd Rd.) and No. 56 (2nd Rd.), two incredibly valuable picks where starter-caliber players can still be found on dirt-cheap rookie contracts.


Tampa Bay then smartly traded No. 56 for No. 63 (2nd Rd.) and NO. 117 (4th Rd.), see Trade #18.15. As I often preach here, successful trade down strategies require both strategy and execution. This means teams have to both extract as much value as possible in the assets they receive in the trade, which Tampa Bay clearly did here. With the right trade down strategy in place, the Bucs then needed to ensure effective execution by drafting the right players. Based on the the players’ 2018 rookie performances, it looks like Tampa Bay nailed both strategy and execution in their draft day wheeling and dealing.

–Benevolent Dictator

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