Architect of Stafford trade proclaims Rams Verse/Fiske haul 'dream scenario'

The same person who pushed the Rams trade for then-Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford designated the haul of Florida State Seminoles duo of OLB Jared Verse and DT Braden Fiske a 'dream scenario.'
Jared Verse, Braden Fiske, Florida State
Jared Verse, Braden Fiske, Florida State / Don Juan Moore/GettyImages
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How much of a premium did the Rams pay to select two Seminoles in the 2024 NFL Draft?

After the LA Rams traded a pretty valuable package to trade up from their 52nd overall pick to the 39th overall pick in Round 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft to select defensive tackle Braden Fiske, there was an immediate outcry from draft analysts that believed the Rams paid far too much to move up in that round.

If you recall, the Rams were forced to package a trio of picks that included their Round 2 pick from the 2025 NFL Draft to acquire the rights to draft Braden Fiske, a trade that certainly skewed in the Carolina Panthers favor in terms of the currency value of all picks involved in the exchange. The trade itself looked like this:

Rams trade up

In terms of the value exchanged, the LA Rams pick (39th overall) was valued on the Draft value chart at 510. For the Carolina Panthers, their haul included three picks (52nd overall, 155th overall, and a 2025 Round 2 pick) whose values worked out to 380+29.4+380 =789.4. That value is the equivalent of a Round 1 pick, somewhere in the mid-20s overall. So, on paper, the Panthers received a lot of value.

Or, did they?

In assessing draft picks, fans and draft analysts get so caught up focusing on the perceived value of draft picks that they lose sight of the forest for the trees. The true value of any NFL Draft pick is not in the pick itself, but rather the quality of player that pick becomes when used, or spent, in an NFL Draft. What that means is that not all first overall picks were created equally. In the past ten NFL drafts, the first overall pick has translated into the following players:

  1. 2015 - QB Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
  2. 2016 - QB Jared Goff (LA Rams)
  3. 2017 - DE Myles Garrett (Cleveland Browns)
  4. 2018 - QB Baker Mayfield (Cleveland Browns)
  5. 2019 - QB Kyler Murray (Arizona Cardinals)
  6. 2020 - QB Joe Burrow (Cincinnati Bengals)
  7. 2021 - QB Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville Jaguars)
  8. 2022 - DE Travon Walker (Jacksonville Jaguars)
  9. 2023 - QB Bryce Young (Carolina Panthers)
  10. 2024 - QB Caleb Williams (Chicago Bears)

In retrospect, not all first overall players selected from the above list are created equally. Some have gone on to lead their teams to become perennial post-season powerhouses. Others? Not so much. But the point being made is that it's the player selected, and not the pick itself, that has the intrinsic value in any NFL draft.