A couple of days ago we made the case for why it might be a good thing for the New York Giants to trade down from the No. 9 spot in the 2015 NFL Draft. Now, let's flip the script. Let's make the case for why perhaps the Giants should just stay at No. 9 and make the best choice they can when it is their turn to select.
Historically, the Giants have not been a franchise that has maneuvered around the board -- up or down -- a lot during the draft. That's an old George Young philosophy -- stay put, don't outsmart yourself, trust that there will be good players available when it's your turn, pick the best one you can.
Here is a Tom Coughlin remark from a few years back that summarizes the way the Giants operate.
"I think we take a lot of pride in getting the proper grade on the player. A lot of pride in ranking the players properly and then stacking the board and believing that there is going to be a good player for us to pick by virtue of showing patience and not doing a lot of maneuvering," Coughlin said. "We don't do a lot of trading. We don't do a lot of maneuvering. We do have a number of calls that come into the room offering to maneuver, a lot of which are ‘Are you interested in?' Of course, as you know, to move substantially, particularly if you're going to move up substantially, is going to cost you some picks. So we believe that we'll have an opportunity to draft a good football player, whether you're talking third, fourth round or whether you're talking even later in the draft."
There are two real reasons the Giants might just want to stay put.
It's the No. 9 overall pick!
Hello! This is the first time since 2004 that the Giants have picked in the top 10, and the highest pick the organization has ever had during Jerry Reese's tenure as GM. If Reese can find Justin Pugh with the 19th pick, Jason Pierre-Paul with the 15th and Odell Beckham Jr. with the 12th, what can he do with the ninth pick?
Seriously, I know the odds of finding a player who makes the impact Beckham did are slim to none. The odds of finding an instant starter who can make a positive impact on your team -- something the Giants need regardless of position -- are pretty good at No. 9. The Giants are in 'win or else' mode after missing the playoffs three straight seasons. They can't afford to come away from this draft with a first-round pick who is a part-time player as a rookie.
You can build depth by moving down and adding picks, maybe helping yourself long term. The farther down the board you move, though, the more you lessen your chance of grabbing a true impact player with your first selection.
The Giants aren't very good at this
One of the fundamental things about being successful at anything is that you have to learn from your mistakes. Here is the real reason the Giants trading out of the No. 9 slot would give me pause. They simply haven't been very good at this 'maneuver the draft board' chess game.
Yes, they made the Eli Manning trade 11 years ago. That was a different circumstance, though, swapping players who had already been selected because Manning didn't want to play for the San Diego Chargers.
The 2006 and 2009 drafts are both examples of the Giants trying -- unsuccessfully -- to maneuver around the draft board.
In 2006, the Giants owned the 25th overall pick in the first round. They swapped to the 32nd pick, giving the Pittsburgh Steelers the 25th pick. The Steelers selected Santonio Holmes. The Giants took Mathias Kiwanuka. The Giants also got Pittsburgh's third-round pick, 96th overall (Gerris Wilkinson) and fourth-round pick, 129th overall (Guy Whimper).
No one could really blame the Giants for trying to move down and add picks there. They only had four selections in the 2005 draft, so adding picks in 2006 seemed like a good idea. But, the Giants did nothing with them.
Some of the players selected after Wilkinson and before Whimper included tight end Owen Daniels, wide receiver Brandon Marshall, linebacker Stephen Tulloch, kick returner Leon Washington, defensive end Elvis Dumervil and guard Rob Sims. Just a few picks after Whimper, Buffalo selected defensive tackle Kyle Williams.
Sure, I'm cherry-picking there. The point is the Giants gave themselves an opportunity, but failed to capitalize on it.
As for Kiwanuka, we all know he was a good player for the Giants. But never a great one. In addition to Holmes, running back DeAngelo Williams (27th, Carolina), tight end Marcedes Lewis (28th, Jacksonville) and center Nick Mangold (29th, Jets) went between the 25th and 32nd picks. One pick after Kiwanuka, the Houston Texans selected two-time Pro Bowl linebacker DeMeco Ryans.
All in all, no way that deal worked out well for the Giants. Neither did swapping the 56th and 87th picks to the Baltimore Ravens to move up to No. 44 and select Sinorice Moss. Greg Jennings went 52nd to the Green Bay Packers, Devin Hester 57th to the Chicago Bears and Maurice Jones-Drew 60th to the Jacksonville Jaguars. So, here again maybe the idea was good. The execution? Awful.
In 2009, the Giants sent their third-round pick (91st) and fifth-round pick (164th) to the Philadelphia Eagles to move up to 85th. What did they do with that pick? Select Ramses Barden. How did that work out? It didn't. The Giants could have stayed at 91 and selected somebody like wide receiver Brian Hartline or defensive tackle Henry Melton. At 164, they could have selected a defensive back like Chris Clemons, who has made 48 career starts.
Again, I get that I'm cherry-picking. These examples are not meant to say I don't like the idea of trading down and accumulating picks. I do, and over the years I believe that has been pretty well established.
In 2013, the Giants traded their fourth- and sixth-round picks to the Arizona Cardinals to move up and select Ryan Nassib. That deal has yet to pay any dividends.
None of this means the Giants shouldn't try dealing down if they are convinced there is no one at the ninth pick they have to have. All I am pointing out is that when the Giants have tried moving around the board they have generally done a miserable job of it. So maybe they should do what they do best -- stay put, trust their evaluations and make the best choice they can.