For those who understand Jon Robinson's background, it should come as no surprise that he opted to trade down to build roster depth. After all, the Titans general manager spent 12 years under Bill Belichick.
Robinson was one of the architects behind Thursday's blockbuster deal between Tennessee and Los Angeles that sent the No. 1 overall pick to the Rams (as well as a fourth and a sixth-round pick) in exchange for four picks in the top 76 of this year's draft, including No. 15 overall. The Titans also received a first-round pick and a third-round pick in next year's draft.
The move gives Tennessee four of the first 45 picks this year and six of the first 76. In a draft that is considered to be top-heavy for the first 15 or so selections, the talent level seems relatively homogeneous through the next 40 or 50 picks.
"I think [the trade] was a chance to really bolster the depth of our football team," Robinson told the Titans team website. "Having six shots at the top 76 players in this draft -- and then not to mention five next year with the extra one and the extra three -- it was a chance to bolster the depth of this football team and add a lot of good quality players that are going to be at the top of the draft."
To hear Robinson explain it, the motive behind trade sounds utterly Belichickian.
As a Patriots area scout (2002-05), regional scout (2006-07), then their assistant director of college scouting (2008) and director of college scouting (2009-13), Robinson saw first hand the importance of building quality talent throughout a roster. He also learned the value of being able to manipulate the draft board with multiple selections.
Landing the Titans a player like Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil at No. 1 overall must have been enticing, but the prospect of grabbing several contributing players for the price of one was too much to let slip away.
"We wanted to maximize the value of the pick," Robinson explained. "I've talked about that for a long time, being able to take that pick and use it for what we thought was the best decision for the football team. To acquire that many players and give us the ammunition to move up and down in the draft . . . I would say it doesn't knock us out of moving back up into the first round. Obviously it knocked us out of one player, but only one player."
Belichick, of course, has long been known for his willingness to make moves as the draft unfolds. During his Patriots tenure he has traded down 19 times and traded up 17 times during drafts. The only year in which he did not make a draft-day trade was 2004.
Last year the Patriots traded down twice, acquiring the No. 111 overall pick (which netted them guard Tre' Jackson), No. 147, and No. 202 (tight end AJ Derby) from Cleveland for a third-rounder (defensive lineman Xavier Cooper) and a seventh-rounder (linebacker Hayes Pullard). They also got No. 166 (long-snapper Joe Cardona) and No. 247 (corner Darryl Roberts) from Green Bay for No. 147 (quarterback Brett Hundley).
New England's most successful haul as a result of a recent trade down came in 2013. Belichick and director of player personnel Nick Caserio dealt pick No. 29 to the Vikings in exchange for No. 52, No. 83, No. 102 and No. 229. The Patriots ended up with linebacker Jamie Collins, corner Logan Ryan and receiver Josh Boyce. Then they traded No. 229 for running back LeGarrette Blount. With the 29th overall selection, Minnesota took receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
While over the last 16 years Belichick has traded up and down on almost an equal number of occasions, since 2010 he's trended in one direction more than the other. In that time, he's traded up four times and down 12.
It's no wonder Robinson chose to craft the deal that he did.