PFW editors offer their take on the team that made the best trade in the first three rounds of the 2011 NFL draft:
Senior editor Eric Edholm — Patriots
Patriots fans badly wanted Mark Ingram with the 28th pick of the draft, but the team just didn't think it was worth taking him there. So what did they do? They traded down with the Saints for a second-rounder and next year's first. You make that trade every time at the bottom of the first round. And with the 56th pick, they landed a runner in Shane Vereen who fits the Patriots' offense and they — reprise here — stocked up again for next year. One of these years the Patriots will use all of their picks, but for now they maneuver around the draft like no other team.
Senior editor Mike Wilkening — Browns and Falcons (tie)
The Falcons-Browns Round One swap had something for everyone. If you like bold moves with an eye on winning now, Atlanta's 21-pick leap to take Alabama WR Julio Jones fits the bill. If you like teams that stockpile draft picks and eye the future, the Browns' getting five picks from Atlanta — including a first-rounder next season — was quite the impressive haul. The Falcons got a player who makes an effective but somewhat plodding offense a little more dangerous. The Browns, who have a lot of needs, added some much-needed picks — and have drafted quite well in these first two days, thank you very much. What an intriguing and seemingly mutually beneficial deal.
Associate editor Arthur Arkush — Jaguars
It's not often that a club has the opportunity to draft the consensus top-rated quarterback with the 10th pick in the draft, but that is exactly what the Jaguars did and all it cost them was a second-rounder. In starter David Garrard, the Jags have a guy who can build a bridge to Blaine Gabbert with minimal pressure being placed on the rookie to contribute right away. Bottom line: the Jaguars had not drafted a QB since 2003 and a better opportunity was not going to present itself anytime soon. Yet another pleasant surprise from GM Gene Smith.
Associate editor Dan Parr — Falcons
I don't know if Julio Jones was worth the price it took to move up 21 spots in the first round, but I do know there aren't many true No. 1 wide receivers in the league. The Falcons were never going to get a chance at one by sitting back late in the first round, where they could be drafting for years, and Jones has the potential to become one. Giving up this year's first-rounder, next year's first-rounder, as well as a second- and fourth-rounder this year, was a steep price to pay. GM Thomas Dimitroff sacrificed a lot, but he still was left with six other picks this year and wound up with a player that has perennial Pro Bowl potential. I admire the courage.
Associate editor Kevin Fishbain — Jaguars
The Jaguars needed another quarterback, and they didn't have to give up much to get Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert is the best QB in the draft and he won't have a whole lot of pressure on him in Jacksonville, allowing him to develop behind Garrard. I'm not incredibly sold on the Falcons trading up and not sure if Julio Jones really is the difference maker that makes them a championship contender.
Associate editor Eli Kaberon — Browns
The Browns would have been perfectly fine taking WR Julio Jones with the sixth pick, but were much better off dealing that selection to Atlanta for a boatload of selections. Cleveland received five picks for the right to take the former Alabama wideout, and they already have put those to good use. GM Mike Holmgren was able to trade up and select Baylor NT Phil Taylor with the 21st pick and took WR Greg Little in the second round with a choice received from the Falcons. In the same division with the Steelers and Ravens, it was unlikely the Browns were going to be very good in 2011. Now they have stockpiled young talent and have extra picks in 2012 as well.