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2018 NFL Draft: A brief history of the 30th pick

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“Brief” meaning “since it became part of the first round”

NFL: 2016 NFL Draft Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

As we sit just a week and a half away from the start of the 2018 NFL Draft, I wanted to take a look back at some of the history associated with the pick that the Minnesota Vikings currently hold in the first round. As it stands now, the purple are slated to pick at #30 overall, so let’s take a moment to look back at recent history and what sort of players have been selected with that pick.

Now, the National Football League Draft has, obviously, always had at least 30 picks. However, the 30th overall pick has only been a part of the first round since the 1995 NFL Draft, when the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars entered the league to give us 30 teams. Prior to that, pick #30 was near the top of the second round. But, since it’s a first round pick for the Vikings, that’s the time frame we’re going to be looking at.

As far as the Vikings themselves are concerned, they’ve only been positioned at pick #30 one time in their history, that being the 2010 NFL Draft. However, they did not actually select at #30, as they traded out of that spot with the Detroit Lions. Detroit selected running back Jahvid Best with that pick. Minnesota then moved down to #34, where they selected cornerback Chris Cook. . .who, to this day, still has the same number of NFL interceptions that you and I do.

The deal wasn’t all bad, though. . .one of the other picks that the Vikings got from Detroit in that deal was #100 overall, which turned into defensive end Everson Griffen.

Here’s the full list of players that have been selected at #30 since the pick became a first-round selection:

  • 1995: Cleveland Browns - Craig Powell, LB, Ohio State
  • 1996: Washington Redskins - Andre Johnson, OT, Penn State
  • 1997: Green Bay Packers - Ross Verba, OT, Iowa
  • 1998: Denver Broncos - Marcus Nash, WR, Tennessee
  • 1999: Atlanta Falcons - Patrick Kearney, DE, Virginia
  • 2000: Tennessee Titans - Keith Bulluck, LB, Syracuse
  • 2001: Indianapolis Colts - Reggie Wayne, WR, Miami (FL) (pick acquired from New York Giants via trade)
  • 2002: Pittsburgh Steelers - Kendall Simmons, OL, Auburn
  • 2003: San Diego Chargers - Sammy Davis, CB, Texas A&M (pick acquired from Philadelphia Eagles via trade)
  • 2004: Detroit Lions - Kevin Jones, RB, Virginia Tech (pick acquired from Kansas City Chiefs via trade)
  • 2005: Pittsburgh Steelers - Heath Miller, TE, Virginia
  • 2006: Indianapolis Colts - Joseph Addai, RB, Louisiana State
  • 2007: San Diego Chargers - Craig Davis, WR, Louisiana State
  • 2008: New York Jets - Dustin Keller, TE, Purdue (pick acquired from Green Bay Packers via trade)
  • 2009: Tennessee Titans - Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
  • 2010: Detroit Lions - Jahvid Best, RB, California (pick acquired from Minnesota Vikings via trade)
  • 2011: New York Jets - Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple
  • 2012: San Francisco 49ers - A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois
  • 2013: St. Louis Rams - Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia (pick acquired from Atlanta Falcons via trade)
  • 2014: San Francisco 49ers - Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois
  • 2015: Green Bay Packers - Damarious Randall, S, Arizona State
  • 2016: Carolina Panthers - Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech
  • 2017: Pittsburgh Steelers - T.J. Watt, LB, Wisconsin

Thus far, there haven’t been a lot of great players selected with the 30th overall pick. Obviously Reggie Wayne was outstanding, and Heath Miller played for the Steelers for what felt like about three decades (and was productive for all of it). Kearney and Bulluck were solid players in their time as well, as was Addai. Ogletree is pretty good, and Watt appears to be heading in the right direction. Outside of those seven, however. . .there just hasn’t been a lot to write home about.

As much as you’d think the 30th spot might be a popular place to trade into for team that want to get back into the first round, it hasn’t happened all that much. In fact, of the six trades that have involved the 30th pick since it became a part of the first round, half of them involved teams coming up from the early second round to get back into Round 1 at #30, while half of them involved teams trading that pick along with others to move up to an earlier first round spot instead. The trades are listed below, with the trades with teams moving up to #30 in italics.

2001: New York Giants trade pick #30, pick #91, and pick #193 to Indianapolis to move up to pick #22.

2003: Philadelphia trades pick #30 and pick #62 to San Diego to move up to pick #15.

2004: Detroit trades pick #36, pick #105, and pick #147 to Kansas City to move up to pick #30.

2008: New York Jets trade pick #36 and pick #113 to Green Bay to move up to pick #30.

2010: Detroit trades pick #34, pick #100, and pick #212 to Minnesota to move up to pick #30 (Detroit also acquired pick #128 from Minnesota).

2013: Atlanta trades pick #30, pick #92, and pick #198 to St. Louis to move up to pick #22 (Atlanta also acquired a 2015 seventh-round pick from St. Louis).

Looking at the venerable “Jimmy Johnson” trade chart, the Vikings’ #30 pick is worth approximately 620 points. Of the three trades that saw teams jump back into the first round from the early second, one came from the #34 spot (560 points), while the other two came from the #36 spot (540 points). The 60 to 80 point differential between those can generally be made up by a fourth-round pick. This year, the New York Giants hold the 34th pick, while the Indianapolis Colts hold the 36th pick (and the 37th as well). Ted outlined a few potential trade scenarios in a piece that he did earlier this week, if you’re interested in more of the math.

All in all, the 30th overall pick hasn’t really been a great place to be, particularly in recent history. Maybe this all won’t matter and Rick Spielman will end up trading out of the first round and a bunch of people will be angry because we watched the first round and we didn’t get any cool new players to talk about. But, that’s a brief look at the history of the 30th pick in the NFL Draft since it officially became a part of the first round.