Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

21 Apr 2014

Mandatory Monday: Three Hours That Changed History

A look back at the 1984 USFL supplemental draft that brought Steve Young, Reggie White, and others into the NFL.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 21 Apr 2014

11 comments, Last at 23 Apr 2014, 11:12pm by The Hypno-Toad


by Insancipitory :: Mon, 04/21/2014 - 8:27am

And left Donald Trump still desperate to join a club that didn't want him as a member. Since the Al Davis quotient of the NFL must be at least one, perhaps they'll relent so that he can backup Jerry Jones.

by MC2 :: Mon, 04/21/2014 - 10:10am

I thought that was why Dan Snyder was around.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Wed, 04/23/2014 - 11:12pm

This does seem like it could become a real Rule of Two situation.

by MC2 :: Mon, 04/21/2014 - 10:13am

On a more serious note, it's still amazing to think that the Cowboys were able to parlay a 5th round pick into a dynasty!

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Mon, 04/21/2014 - 2:53pm

Mike alludes to the fact that NFL owners used to trade picks much more profusely.

I'm of the opinion that they still don't value them correctly, particularly a few years ago before the rookie cap came into effect. I'd much prefer to trade for an outstanding proven veteran than to risk drafting college players who may not work out. Of course that assumes teams are willing to make trades.

by Rivers McCown :: Mon, 04/21/2014 - 4:55pm

That'd be an interesting study, though one with a lot of moving pieces.

So, did the Jets get fair value out of Santonio Holmes? Fifth-rounders aren't typically that good. They also don't get paid that much. Or threaten to cause locker room rebellions.

by Led :: Mon, 04/21/2014 - 6:19pm

Absolutely, the Jets got fair value out of the initial Holmes trade. I've actually never heard anyone argue otherwise. He only made $750,000 in 2010, and the Jets had the chance to keep him for 2011 (when they tendered him as a restricted free agent) for $3.5m or receive 1st and 3rd round picks. That's $4.25m for 2 years for, at worst, a very good #2 receiver -- well worth a fifth round pick by any measure. The Jets' big mistake was signing him to a huge extension in 2011 with $24m guaranteed. But that stupid new contract doesn't change the fact that they received excellent value on the initial trade.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 04/22/2014 - 10:58am

That's a good example ... and just on the superficialities of the trade Santonio Holmes for a 5th round is great value for the Jet.

Randy Moss to the Raiders is the example I like to use ... originally the Raiders gave up the 2005 #7 overall pick which the Vikings used to draft WR Troy Williamson who ended up with 87 career receptions. The Vikings also got a 7th round pick and LB Napoleon Harris.

And of course that's before we look at how New England got Moss for a 4th round pick, three years of great production and then convinced Minnesota to take him back for a 3rd round pick!

by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 04/23/2014 - 2:58pm

It's a valid point and the Redskings of old used to put it to the test all the time with good results. They always traded next year's first for a veteran. On the flip side of the coin, a lot of draft picks may bust, but when you hit one you can get up to a zillion percent over your initial investment, like when you draft a Hall of Famer outside round 1. With vets you usually get what you paid for, with some notable exceptions, of course.

The man with no sig

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 04/21/2014 - 11:06am

Nothing says "Culverhouse-era Buccaneers" like drafting a Hall of Fame player like Steve Young out of that USFL draft, and then eventually pawning him off for a couple of picks and a chunk of money. Why? Well, they'd just drafted Vinny Testaverde; why would they need Steve Young?

by pablohoney :: Mon, 04/21/2014 - 7:43pm

I don't blame the Bucs for dumping Young, Testaverde was considered a can't miss franchise quarterback and Young was not (and certainly didn't look the part when he was on the Bucs). Of course, neither did Testaverde in his time there, but he salvaged a pretty decent career after that.

I think they were both examples of "the quarterback gets too much of the credit and too much of the blame". If Testaverde had gone to the Niners, I've got to believe Bill Walsh and the Niner offense could have elevated him to a perennial Pro Bowl QB.