When it comes to the NFL Draft, most of the conversation centers around the first round. And that makes sense — it’s where the best players are selected, and good players are easier to talk about. They’re more exciting, have great highlight reels for TV segments, and nuanced explanations aren’t required to show why they are good players.
With the New York Giants we have largely concentrated on the offensive tackles, Isaiah Simmons, and potential trade scenarios at fourth overall. What we haven’t talked about as much is what each of those decisions could mean for the Giants on the second day of the draft. We’re going to start by taking a look at what a trade back could mean for the Giants in the second and possibly third rounds.
We’re starting with a trade because it is both the most intriguing option available and the most ambiguous. To start, we don’t even know that an opportunity to trade the fourth overall pick will materialize. We have long assumed that the quarterback needy teams will be falling all over themselves to send picks for a chance to secure “their guy.” However, the injury to Tua Tagovailoa casts doubt on that. Teams might get cold feet on draft night when they haven’t had a chance to check on Tua in person.
But for the sake of this post, let’s say that trades get proposed. Just how far back should the Giants trade back?
I would argue that the talent level is pretty flat after the first couple prospects. In our 2020 Consensus Big Board, we graded eight players as “Top 10” talents, on top of the four we graded as “Top 5” prospects. That is to say, there are four players we believe should go in the first five picks of nearly any draft and another eight who should be drafted in the first ten picks of nearly any draft. All told, that’s twelve players who should warrant picks in the first ten picks. So I would a trade floor for the Giants at 12th overall. Any lower and they would likely be drafting a player with a significantly worse grade than who they would be drafting at fourth overall.
You will frequently see the “Trade Value Chart” referenced when it comes to projecting trades, but the most commonly one mentioned was created by Jimmy Johnson roughly 30 years ago. It is significantly out of date and doesn’t account for the significant increase in the value of draft choices. It might be better to look at the charts put together by Drafttek or CBSSports, which have been updated using recent trends in trades, to work out what kind of return the Giants could realize. While it would be ideal for the Giants to pick up a second first round pick, that is unlikely going by either chart. Even if the Giants are able to press for a premium from a team looking to move up for a quarterback, the value is difficult to work out.
A more likely return would be an extra second and third round pick — barring a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders, who don’t have a second round pick. That might not seem like much, and perhaps a future pick could be added to seal the deal. However, if the Giants have have several players graded roughly equally and math dictates that at least one will be available a few picks lower, being able to get that highly graded player plus another good player or two will maximize the value of the fourth pick.
So let’s see what the Giants’ options might be in those ranges.
So let’s say the Giants trade back and pick up a pair of picks on the second day, who could they be looking at in the middle of the second round?
Troy Dye (LB, Oregon) - Giants fans are starved for a rangy impact linebacker. Dye gets overlooked a bit, but he is almost custom-built to play in space in the modern NFL. Long, lean, and athletic, Dye can run, hit, cover and blitz. He is productive in all phases of the game and could help lock down the middle of the Giants’ defense while having the range to free up teammates to blitz. If the Giants trade back they might be sacrificing the option of drafting Isaiah Simmons, but Dye is not a bad consolation prize.
Michael Pittman Jr. (WR, USC) - Pittman opened eyes at the Scouting Combine. We knew from his tape that he is big, strong, physical, and dependable receiver. But he wasn’t used in a way that really showed off his athleticism. The big question was whether or not he has the wheels to be a “Number One” receiver in the NFL, and he confirmed that he does. The Giants need a true WR1 to help make their offense go and open up the field for everyone else. Pittman can do that, as well as be a big, physical presence in the red zone and as a run blocker.
Prince Tega Wanogho (OT, Auburn) - Wanogho has experience playing on both ends of the offensive line and if the Giants don’t address the right tackle position highly, he should be able to step in and solidify it immediately. He — and other tackles in this range — might not have the floor of the high first round tackles, but their ceiling is nearly as high.
Julian Okwara (EDGE, Notre Dame) - Julian is more potential than production at the moment, but he has the kind of potential teams like to bet on and coaches line up to work with. He isn’t the big, powerful defensive lineman that his older brother Romeo is. Julian is a long, lean rusher with bend and twitch, which is a good fit for what the Giants will likely want to do on defense. They need a speed rusher who can force offenses to account for them, but they also need players who can be used to disguise pressure packages and Okwara can do both.
Antoine Winfield Jr. (S, Minnesota) - He might be a bit short, but he’s not undersized. Winfield Jr. has a compact, powerful build and is like a Jack Russell Terrier out on the field. He flies around the secondary making play after play, and always seems to be around the ball. It certainly helps that he has great instincts and a powerful lower body. If Winfield is available, he could provide a long-term answer at free safety for a blitz-happy defense.
As it stands now, the Giants have to wait until the 99th overall pick to make their third selection in the draft. That is going to be a tortuously long wait on draft night as sit and watch prospects come off the board. It could also impact the caliber of player available when they are finally able to make their pick.
Generally speaking, players selected on the second day have a much higher success rate than a player selected in the fourth round. Roughly speaking, a player drafted in the second or third round has a 35 percent chance of becoming a starter over the course of a five year career. A fourth round pick, meanwhile, only has a 6 percent chance of becoming a starter. But being drafted in the third doesn’t automatically make a player more likely to be a contributor than if they were drafted in the fourth. There is going to be a continuum between the early third and later in the round as the talent pool is drained, and a higher third round pick is going to give a better chance than a lower pick.
So in this case, getting a pick somewhere in the 80s could be a boon for the Giants.
Tyler Biadasz (C, Wisconsin) - Biadasz has certainly fallen from his rankings following the 2018 season. Another year in college revealed some issues with his game that weren’t apparent in 2018. However, it is also possible that he was playing injured and a bit over-weight. It’s possible that he could slip to the third round, and if so, taking a chance on getting the 2018 version of Biadasz is definitely worth the pick — particularly when the 2019 version wasn’t bad, either.
Bryce Hall (CB, Virginia) - It is very difficult to not like Hall. He is a competent, versatile corner with great size and an absolutely sterling reputation. He has played — and produced — in just about every coverage scheme and has been the leader of a good secondary for years. He doesn’t have ideal athleticism, but he can play and some teams might even look at him as a candidate to convert to safety. Wherever he plays, he will be a player who helps a team in whatever way he can.
Collin Johnson (WR, Texas) - It’s possible that Notre Dame receiver Chase Claypool could fall to the third round, but I wouldn’t count on it after his combine performance. Instead, we could look at 6-foot-6, 225-pound Collin Johnson. Johnson might not be a true “X” receiver at the NFL level, but is size and quickness at that size will be respected. He should be an immediate red zone threat and his strong blocking should appeal. Johnson might be capable of lining up as an “X” if he can develop his release against press coverage and refine his route running.