Every year when the NFL Draft rolls around, chants of "Trade Back!' start to fill the air, or at least the comment sections, but invariably they go unheeded. 2015 is no different, and the calls for a trade back began months ago.
But is it realistic to hope for the New York Giants to trade back in the 2015 draft?
Well, let's take a look at the mechanics of a draft trade before we decide on what's feasible and what's reasonable.
The Ingredients Of A Trade
I once had a teacher who commented that nobody goes anywhere without a push AND a pull. If there's only a push OR a pull, people tend to stay put. Granted, he was talking about Americans' westward migration in the mid-1800s, but I think it applies to the draft as well.
Every potential trade follows the same recipe, with the same general ingredients.
- A team with a higher pick that wants to move back.
- A player worth moving up for.
- (At least) Two teams that value the player enough to want to move up, or one team that wants to leapfrog a team ahead of them.
- Two teams able to reach an agreement on the value of that player.
In this case the push for the first team is -- generally-- apathy toward the players available at their slot. The pull is the belief that they can get a player they like at a lower slot while being able to add picks they otherwise wouldn't.
For their potential trade partner the push is usually the belief that the player in question is one their roster needs, and is highly unlikely to fall to them. The pull is the belief that that player is the missing piece in a championship team, or fills a glaring hole on the roster that a lesser player or free agency couldn't.
Finally the two teams need to hammer out the deal. That means they need to come to an agreement about how much that pick is worth. The first team can't ask for too much, and the second team can't undervalue the pick too much either.
Back in the early 1990s, Jimmy Johnson devised a draft value chart to aid in creating fair trades. However, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, and circumstances have changed. In particular the rookie salary cap has dramatically changed how draft choices are valued. Teams no longer have to worry about signing rookies at premium positions -- quarterback, left tackle, pass rusher, cornerback, wide receiver -- to bloated contracts that eat up their cap space.
We're still seeing how the realities of the new CBA are changing draft trades.
Trading Back In 2015
So then, is it possible for the Giants to trade back this year? Well, sure, it's possible. Whether or not a trade is likely, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter.
But let's see how one might happen.
For the sake of argument, we'll use the first eight picks from Invictus' recent four-round mock draft
In this case, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Leonard Williams, Dante Fowler, and Shane Ray are off the board. On the board are Amari Cooper, DeVante Parker, Danny Shelton, Bud Dupree, and La'El Collins.
In Invictus' draft, he had the Giants take Amari Cooper ninth overall, as he far and away the highest-rated player on his board. But for our purposes, let's just say that the Giants have those players rated toughly equally. That means that the Giants can safely move down four spots and be guaranteed one of the players they were looking at with the ninth selection. Given how the draft flows, and how other teams might have different values or needs, they could move down a few spots further and still have a decent shot at getting one of those players.
So, about finding a partner ...
We'll be conservative and try to stay close to the ninth overall pick, so the Giants still have a chance at one of the five players they were looking at with that pick.
Looking down the draft order, the three teams below the Giants all could value Amari Cooper or DeVante Parker, and could use a true No. 1 receiver. In particular, with all the uncertainty around Josh Gordon may make the Browns want to ensure they get one of these blue-chip receivers. They might also be willing to move up because they have two first-round draft picks with which to deal.
Now the only thing left to do is to make a deal.
Invictus has Cooper rated at third overall on his big board. Personally, I have Cooper and Parker rated equally, and in my "Elite" tier. Potentially giving up two elite prospects who would be fantastic scheme fits would be a tough pill to swallow. Likewise, it probably wouldn't take much to move up three spots.
Last season, the Bills traded traded a fourth-round pick and a future first-round pick to move up five spots for Sammy Watkins. Neither Cooper nor Parker are as good as Watkins, but the Giants still need a deal to be worth their time.
As it so happens, the Browns also have a pretty dire need for a quarterback. And, as it happens, the Giants have a young quarterback who would likely be one of the best QBs in this draft. That, of course, would be Ryan Nassib. So, I'm including Nassib to sweeten the pot.
So, in exchange for the ninth overall pick and Nassib, I'm asking the Browns for the 12th overall pick, the 11th pick of the second round (43rd overall), and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2016 that becomes a third-round pick if Nassib starts eight games in 2016.
And with that, I think it's time for some audience participation. What do you think would be a fair deal for the Giants trade down with the Browns to 12th or 19th overall?