According to the 'Big Blue View rules for draft success,' trading down in the NFL Draft and adding draft picks is almost always preferable to trading up and giving them away. Which brings me to the real subject at hand, the New York Giants and the No. 9 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Peter King wants us to believe that nine is the magic number in this year's draft, that there are nine players who are head and shoulders above the rest in the 2015 NFL Draft class. What if not all nine of those players are the Giants' cup of tea? King says there are 8-10 players beyond that first nine that most talent evaluators consider the "second tier." What if the Giants' turn comes up on April 30 and GM Jerry Reese is staring at a board where no one excites him the way Odell Beckham Jr. did a year ago? A board where the Giants believe there are six to eight players they could choose and be happy with? Well then, why not explore trading down a few slots and picking up some additional mid-round choices?
For all the 'Scherff-ing' we have done, there is still undoubtedly a split of opinion over whether or not Brandon Scherff -- or any of the big three offensive linemen -- are worthy of a top 10 pick. What if all three, Scherff, Andrus Peat and La'el Collins, are still on the board? Toss in, let's say, defensive tackles Danny Shelton and Malcom Brown, defensive end Alvin 'Bud' Dupree, safety Landon Collins and wide receiver Devante Parker.
It's certainly plausible that such a scenario could present itself. That's eight players. If the Giants are sitting at No. 9 believing just about any of those guys would look good in Giants red, white and blue then trading down a few spots makes perfect sense.
It takes two to tango, of course, and there are two obvious first-round dance partners for the Giants. Let's take a look at each.
The Browns have two picks in the first round, 12th and 19th. They also have six picks in the first 115, or first 3½ rounds. Marcus Mariota will probably be long gone, but what if there is another player on this list that the Browns absolutely feel they have to have? If you judge by the NFL Trade Value Chart, the Giants could ask for Cleveland's 12th pick and their third-round pick, 77th overall. Or, the 12th pick, one of Cleveland's two fourth-round picks (111th or 115th) and the Browns' fifth-round pick (147th overall).
The Giants could still get one of the offensive or defensive linemen who could be on their list of targets, or might even be able to justify taking Alabama safety Landon Collins here.
Moving all the way down to 19 would be less palatable, but might still be worthwhile. Alabama's Collins would be a fit in this range. One of the big three offensive linemen could still be on the board, and offensive linemen like T.J. Clemmings, Ereck Flowers or D.J. Humphries could be in play here, as well.
What if the Browns were willing to give the Giants a third- and fourth-round pick this year, or third-round picks in each of the next two drafts to move from 19 to nine?
Would you do one of those deals?
The Saints have shown themselves to be in overhaul mode. New Orleans has an astounding five picks in the first 78. There has been some speculation that the Saints will use those picks to move around the board and get a player or players they really want.
So, similar situation to the one with the Browns. If you drop down to the 13th slot you are still picking from that apparent "second tier" pool of players. which really in many cases might not be that much different than the top tier. Again going by the trade value chart, the teams would be a match here if the Saints would give the Giants one of their two third-round picks, either 75th or 78th overall.
The Saints' second first-round pick, 31st, is probably too far for the Giants to drop. Clearly, the Giants would be bypassing the first two tiers of players to choose from, the basic top 20 or so picks. Could they still find value at 31? Sure. Maybe not an instant starter, though. Let's discuss how it could work, anyway. To get equal value, the Giants would likely need not only the 31st pick, but the Saints second-round pick (44th) and one of those two third-round picks.
Again, would you do one of those deals?
A mystery partner
What if someone unexpected, like the always #UpForAnything Chip Kelly Philadelphia Eagles (20th overall), or the Minnesota Vikings (11th overall) want to move up? There are ways to make those deals work, too, even though making a deal with the Kelly devil isn't really all that appealing.
Anyway, interesting to think about.
Why trading down makes sense for the Giants
The Giants are not one player away from being a Super Bowl team. Scherff isn't going to make them that. Amari Cooper isn't going to make them that. No single player available at No. 9 is going to vault the Giants from 6-10 all the way to Super Bowl 50.
What could help do that is adding as many pieces as possible to Steve Spagnuolo's defense. Especially making certain that, if you don't take Collins in Round 1, you get one of the many middle-round safeties available. Maybe adding a pass-rushing defensive end. What could help is adding one starter on the offensive line, and maybe a second developmental player as depth. Adding another weapon for Eli Manning at wide receiver. Grabbing a depth player in the middle or late rounds rounds at running back or tight end.
The Giants need depth. They need to re-stock a roster that has become too dependent on filling reserve spots with cast-offs from other teams and not with guys they have drafted and developed on their own.
Adding picks increases the odds that they can make progress in those areas.
[NOTE: In a future post we will look at the other side of this argument, making the case for why the Giants should simply stay put at No. 9.]