In my obsession with the NFL draft, I stumbled upon a very interesting trade that occurred in 2009 between the two Superbowl contenders. In 2009, the Denver Broncos traded their 2010 first round pick to the Seattle Seahawks for a 2009 second round pick, with which they selected Alphonso Smith. Smith was an enticing prospect coming out of Wake Forest, though he had a few concerns (namely size) and clearly he did not turn into the player they envisioned when making the trade.
With the Broncos 2010 first round pick (14 overall), the Seahawks were gifted... Earl Thomas; one of, if not the best FS in the NFL. The Broncos clearly recovered from the questionable trade with the assistance of one of the best QBs of all time, but it is easy to wonder what if this trade had not occurred. Without Thomas, a crucial one-fourth of Seattle's legion of boom (I would argue he weighs more heavily than 1/4) would be missing, while Denver would have another first round caliber talent on their team, possibly Earl Thomas.
Obviously, hindsight is 20/20, the picks that were used could have gone any which way, and it is dangerous to hypothesize on past decisions and evaluate the impact they had a franchise, but I feel there are a couple conclusions that can be drawn from this bit of history.
1. The Seahawks clearly won the trade, helping to lead them to this year's Superbowl victory.
2. Relinquishing future first round picks at lesser value than current firsts is a bad idea, and inversely, acquiring future first round picks instead of current seconds or thirds is a terrific move that can transform your team.
I don't have a lot of expanding to do on this topic, though I thought it was quite interesting and worth illuminating.