• Indianapolis Colts, 1994 — RB Marshall Faulk (2), LB Trev Alberts (5). Result: Faulk, just elected to Canton, had his greatest years with the St. Louis Rams, though he did bring the Colts respectability (read: wild card berths in ‘95 and ‘96). Alberts was habitually hurt and soon transitioned to TV.
• Colts, 1992 — DT Steve Emtman (1), LB Quentin Coryatt (2). Result: Knee problems cut short Emtman’s career. Coryatt started on a couple of Colts playoff teams - including one that reached the AFC championship game — but was nothing special.
• Colts, 1982 — LB Johnie Cooks (2), QB Art Schlichter (4). Result: Schlichter was a certified disaster, an overrated quarterback with a gambling problem. As for Cooks, the Colts got to the postseason just once in his six years with them (thanks to their strike team winning two division games in ‘87).
• Bills, 1979 — LB Tom Cousineau (1), WR Jerry Butler (5). Result: Cousineau signed with the Canadian Football League and never played a down for the Bills. Butler helped Buffalo make the playoffs twice — and was voted to the Pro Bowl once - but he was finished at 29 because of a bad knee.
Finally, here’s a handful from hockey:
• New York Islanders, 2000 — G Rick DiPietro (1), LW Raffi Torres (5). Result: I haven’t noticed the Isles adding to their Stanley Cup collection, have you?
• Vancouver Canucks, 1999 — LW Daniel Sedin (2), C Henrik Sedin (3). Result: A dozen years later, the Canucks are in the finals - with the Sedin brothers showing the way. So … nice job, Brian Burke (who was Vancouver’s general manager then and is Toronto’s now.)
• Islanders, 1997 — G Roberto Luongo (4), D Eric Brewer (5). Result: See Islanders, 2000. (Actually, the Isles traded Luongo after his first season and Brewer after his second. Roberto, you may have noticed, is minding the net for the Western Conference champion Canucks.)
What have we learned from this exercise? Answer: That having high picks is one thing, but getting value from those picks is something else. Maybe Irving and Williams would be franchise-altering players for the Cavaliers; then again, maybe the Cavs would be better off doing the Hamilton deal, not trading up, and drafting three players at Nos. 1, 4 and 8.
It’ll be years, of course, before we know for sure.