Revisiting the 49ers-Patriots draft swap

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Paul from the United Kingdom asks whether the 49ers might have come out better than expected in their 2007 draft-day trade with the Patriots. San Francisco sent its 2007 fourth-round choice [110th overall] and its 2008 first-round choice [seventh overall] to New England for the 28th overall choice in the 2007 draft, which the 49ers used for tackle Joe Staley.

Paul also notes that the 49ers acquired the Colts' 2008 first-round choice [29th overall, used for Kentwan Balmer] and a 2007 fourth-rounder [used for Dashon Goldson] from Indianapolis. Those moves gave the 49ers picks in the rounds of the choices they traded to New England.

"Using your value chart," Paul writes, "the trades cost the 49ers an equivalent of 708 points because the 1st rounder they gave up turned out to be so high. Adding that deficit to the value of the 28th pick used to select Staley, that would equate to a selection at 9 or 10. That would still seem like good value to me for an OT that has been a starter virtually since his selection and looks like he can be very productive for a number of years at either left or right tackle."

Mike Sando: I understand your math -- the 49ers sent the seventh choice (1,500 points) plus the 110th choice (74 points) to the Patriots for the 28th choice (660), and the difference would be 708 points -- but the trade chart doesn't come into play at face value in this situation. That is because current-year choices carry more value than future-year choices. In other words, a first-round pick this year is worth more than a first-rounder next year.

Staley started 16 games at offensive tackle for the 49ers before the Patriots were able to exercise the first-round choice they received in return. Those 16 starts represented immediate return on the 49ers' investment. That value offsets some of the 708-point imbalance.

The 49ers come out OK as long as Staley enjoys the long, productive career he seems likely to enjoy. But the Patriots came out even better. They used the 49ers' choices to help land linebacker Jerod Mayo and receiver Randy Moss. Not bad.