The closer we get to the 2016 NFL Draft, the more I like the idea of seeing the New York Giants trade down from the No. 10 spot in the first round. I have long been on record as preferring trading down and collecting picks rather than trading up and giving them away, just check the "Big Blue View Rules for Draft Success." In this draft though, I have specific reasons for advocating a trade down.
Let's use the "Five things I think I think" platform to offer five reasons why the Giants should trade down from the 10th spot.
Who do you love?
It seems like every time I do a mock draft I end up selecting Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley at 10. Does that mean I love the player, that I'm locked in on the guy and that I will want to pack my bags and go home because I will think the entire draft is a miserable failure if GM Jerry Reese doesn't pick "my" guy?
Nope. That's because I don't "love" Stanley. I think he's a logical choice and could be the best option for the Giants at 10. If UCLA linebacker Myles Jack is off the board, and even if he is available and the Giants are leery of his knee, there is no single "must-have" player I would bang the table for. Depending on how things go in front of the Giants, Stanley, Vernon Hargreaves, Leonard Floyd, Jack Conklin, Shaq Lawson and maybe Darron Lee or Laquon Treadwell all could be acceptable picks. I'm sure you may have other names you would toss into the mix, as well.
Drop down a little bit and all of those names become even more acceptable. So might guys like Houston corner William Jackson, Ohio State offensive tackle Taylor Decker, wide receiver Josh Doctson and several others.
The more the merrier
"Nobody bats a thousand in personnel."
That is something Reese says every year in reference to both free agents and draft picks. Sometimes you just plain get it wrong. Sometimes injuries or other unfortunate things happen. Sometimes guys are talented but just not the right fit for your team. Sometimes undrafted free agents turn out to be better than the guys you drafted. The draft is a complete crap shoot, and you never know exactly what you have until you see what your collection does on the field.
Gathering more picks not only gives you a chance to add more players, it makes it easier to stomach the mistakes you will inevitably make. The Giants made a mistake a few years ago when they took defensive tackle Marvin Austin in the second round. Maybe they wouldn't have had to sign Damon Harrison to an expensive free-agent contract if Austin had become a quality player. The New England Patriots recently cut ties with 2014 first-round pick Dominique Easley. One of the reasons they will just shrug and move on is that since 2010 they have had 55 draft picks, an average of more than nine per year. The Giants have had 42. That means the Patriots have had 13 more chances to get it right.
Writing for ESPN, Bill Barnwell recently discussed how the volume approach is the best draft strategy:
OF ALL THE gambles NFL teams will take on players during this year's draft, perhaps the riskiest move will be betting on their own flawed judgment. Organizations invest millions of dollars in scouting and player analysis, applying everything from extensive physical testing to pseudo-scientific written examinations in an attempt to weed out true talents from the chaff. You can understand why: Given that rookie salaries are capped by the CBA, the potential return on investment is enormous. The difference between what Russell Wilson made during his first three seasons in the NFL and what it would have cost to acquire a similarly talented quarterback in free agency runs over $50 million.
There's one big problem: All the empirical evidence we can find suggests that nobody in the league is actually any good at picking players. The best plan? In the scratch-off lottery that is the draft, the smartest strategy is simply to have more tickets.
The perfect dance partner is waiting
You know when you were a kid and that beautiful girl was over there in the corner making eyes at you, while you tried not to stare and attempted to screw up the courage to go ask her to dance? Shoot, maybe you are still a kid and that happened to you last weekend.
Anyway, the perfect dance partner is sitting there with the 15th and 33rd picks in the draft, just waiting for Giants general manager Jerry Reese to make an offer. After collecting a king's ransom from the Los Angeles Rams for the No. 1 overall pick the Tennessee Titans have six of the first 76 picks, including picks 15, 33, 43, and 45. There are rumors circulating that the Titans want to get back into the top 10, likely to either of the two offensive tackles who could be available there, Ronnie Stanley of Notre Dame or Jack Conklin of Michigan State.
If the Titans are willing to dance, then the Giants need to dance. Shame on the Giants if they can't get more value out of the combination of 15 and 33 than they could get out of one pick at 10.
The Giants have lots of holes to fill
Even after their massive free-agency splurge, you can argue that the Giants could use more players at every position on the roster. Granted, the urgency is greater in some spots, but every position group on the roster other than quarterback could be upgraded.
One great Beckham-esque player would be nice, but I'm not at all sure there will be a player of that caliber available for the Giants at No. 10. Besides, one player can't fix all that ails the Giants. The more early front-line picks the Giants have, the better chance they have to address some of the holes they still have on the roster.
Impress the boss with your adaptability
We know who Reese is at this point. In the beginning, the motto was "In Reese We Trust" and he seemed to have a golden touch. In recent years, obviously not so much. We've argued about Reese incessantly, and the point here is not to start that again. The point is in trying to fix the mess the Giants have become they have now cut off every part -- assistant coaches, coordinators, head coach, many of the players -- except the head. Reese is the head, and he's the only one left to take the fall if the failure continues.
Reese showed his bosses, John Mara and Steve Tisch, that he is willing to throw caution to the wind with a massive free-agent spending spree. Now, how about showing them that you can learn new tricks in the draft, too? Reese has traded up a few times during his tenure as GM, but never down. He's never done the thing that yours truly advocates as the single best draft strategy -- trade down and collect more picks, especially if those picks come in the first three rounds.
Now would be a good time for Reese to try something different.