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Could Giants trade up for 2nd first-round pick? Here’s how that might unfold

Buffalo Rumblings, Big Blue View swing an imaginary deal that brings Giants an edge rusher

Indiana v Penn State
Jayson Oweh
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Let’s forget for a minute the idea of New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman trading down from No. 11 in the 2021 NFL Draft. We know he has never done it in eight drafts as a GM, and we know what NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah thinks of the idea that he might do it this time around.

Let’s talk instead about a scenario that has both gained some traction and fits Gettleman’s modus operandi much more than trading down from No. 11. That would be making a pick at No. 11 and then trading back into the late stages of Round 1 to get another player the organization has targeted.

Gettleman is 0 for 8 trading down. He has, though, moved up in the draft seven times. The only time he did that as Giants GM was the disastrous 2019 decision to surrender the 132nd (Round 4) and 142nd (Round 5) picks to move up from 37 to 30 to select cornerback DeAndre Baker.

For purposes of this discussion, we are going to do something hypothetical, but — I hope — incredibly interesting.

The annual SB Nation writer’s mock draft is ongoing. Because it would simply be waaaaay too cumbersome to manage and too unrealistic in its results, trades are not allowed. That, though, doesn’t mean we can’t mess around with some “what if” type scenarios.

Matt Warren of SB Nation’s Buffalo Bills website, Buffalo Rumblings, approached me with an idea. The Bills have the 30th overall pick in Round 1 and in our mock, Warren has to make a pick. Warren went hunting for a partner who would allow him to trade down into Round 2 in a hypothetical situation, and, using my best Doc Holliday voice, I strolled up and said “I’m your huckleberry.”

We might be “just foolin’ about” here, too. Still, I think this could be instructive as to what the Giants might have to give up to move back into the tail end of Round 1, and whether or not the potential reward is worth the price tag.

The original offer

Warren came to me with this proposal:

Bills get:
42 +76 (second + third)

Giants get:

30 +161 + 174 (first + fifth + fifth)

After much debate in my Draft War Room with Chris Pflum, Nick Falato and Mark Schofield, I said no to Warren’s offer.

Why?

Well, that would have left me with the following picks:

Round 1 (No. 30)
Round 4 (No. 116)
Round 5 (No. 161)
Round 5 (No. 174)
Round 6 (No. 196)
Round 6 (No. 201)

There was no chance I was going to sit out two full rounds of the draft. No pass rusher potentially on the board at No. 30 (and, yes, I know who is and is not on the board at this point — we’ll get to that) was going to be worth that.

Sitting out two the entire second day of the draft was distasteful. So, too, was collecting a slew of Day 3 picks in a draft weakened by players returning to school for 2021 due to COVID-19 and teams being uncertain what they are getting because of incomplete information due to no Combine, no in-person visits and limited Pro Day player access.

Daniel Jeremiah said during a draft videoconference on Wednesday that teams will be trying to unload those late-round picks rather than collect them.

“We had so many kids go back to school. That’s what’s going to impact the bottom half of the draft. That’s why everybody that I talk to around the league just says, we don’t know what the heck we’re going to do with our sixth- and seventh-round picks,” Jeremiah said. “If I can get rid of them I’m going to get rid of them just because next year’s class, those sixth- and seventh-round picks are going to be really valuable.

“You’re going to see a bunch of teams trying to — you’ll see teams I think be aggressive in rounds two and three and they’ll be parting with these day three picks like nothing.”

Warren tries again

Maybe I wouldn’t be a great negotiator. I was ready to call it a day and consider this a failed experiment. Warren, though, came back with another offer. Here it is:

Bills get:
42 + 116 + 2022 third-round pick

Giants get:
30 (Round 1)

I accepted.

Let’s see how I did based on the traditional Johnson trade value chart and the more modern Rich Hill chart.

The Johnson chart pegs the 30th overall pick as worth 620 points. I’m giving up 42 (480 points), 116 (62 points) and 2022 Round 3 pick of undermined value.

The Hill chart assigns a value of 196 points to the 30th pick. The 42nd pick is worth 142, No. 116 is worth 28 and the third-round pick is, of course, undetermined. The 76th pick, as a guide, is worth 61 points. So, by the Hill chart perhaps I’m giving up a little too much. Maybe I should have held out to give up a fourth-round pick instead of a 2022 third. Still, I’m the one moving up to go get something, so I’m not worried about it.

My picks for the rest of the draft look like this:

Round 1 (No. 30)
Round 3 (No. 76)
Round 6 (No. 196)
Round 6 (No. 201)

Again, there is a two-round gap that isn’t ideal. I am, though, much happier to sit out rounds four and five than I am to sit out rounds two and three. In this scenario, I still get a Day 2 pick. Besides, for the right player I have no problem packaging the two sixth-round picks to move up.

What did I get with the 30th pick?

Now for the fun part.

If you recall, I used the 11th pick in the writer’s mock to select Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle.

USC guard Alijah Vera-Tucker (No. 17, Las Vegas Raiders) is off the board. That’s OK. If I’m making this move I am going after a pass rusher. Honestly, I think if Gettleman makes this move that’s what he would be chasing. That’s what I want here.

Jaelen Phillips (No. 16, Arizona Cardinals), Kwity Paye (No. 21, Indianapolis Colts), and Azeez Ojulari (No. 26, Cleveland Browns) are off the board.

Available pass rushers who might be worth this pick include Gregory Rousseau, Joe Tryon, Jayson Oweh.

My choice at 30? Jayson Oweh

Yup. I know. You just fell off your chair. Or, you’re already in the comments ripping me a new one and calling for my firing as pretend general manager. Have at it.

In my War Room discussions, both Schofield and Falato said they would move up at this point in the draft to select the Penn State edge rusher.

Falato said simply “Oweh would be nice.”

Emory Hunt of Football Gameplan would bang the table for Tryon here. I’m a Tryon fan, too, and left completely to my own devices I might go that way.

There are, though, a number of reasons why I went with Oweh. My War Room likes the move. Falato and Schofield both said they would make the deal to go get Oweh. Chris wrote an optimistic prospect profile on Oweh in which he says Oweh “has the physical and athletic tools to be an impact starter at the next level, but will need development to consistently play at his potential.”

I also happen to suspect that if the Giants were to actually make this move in this situation Oweh would be the player they would go after.

Remember, Giants head coach Joe Judge was in attendance at the Penn State Pro Day, where Oweh ran an insane 4.39 second 40-yard dash at 257 pounds. The Giants’ ties to Penn State during the Gettleman era run deep.

Saquon Barkley was the No. 2 overall selection for the Giants in 2018. Grant Haley was a UDFA the Giants signed from Penn State that year who contributed for a couple of seasons. Cam Brown was a sixth-round pick out of Penn State a year ago. Giants’ defensive line coach Sean Spencer coached Oweh with the Nittany Lions. Consultant Pat Flaherty spent the last two seasons as an analyst for Penn State.

In a year where connections and ability to get trustworthy information on players could be a deciding factor in who to choose or not choose, the Giants are in a great spot to feel comfortable that they have the best possible information on Oweh.

In his draft guide, Dane Brugler of The Athletic said Oweh “was consistently disruptive and affected the backfield action” despite not having any sacks in 2020.

Brugler also wrote:

Oweh is super explosive with his first two steps, which allow him to set up moves with his slippery athleticism or soften the edge with his hands and momentum. He has a projectable body and moves differently than most athletes his size, but the instincts are currently lacking and extra development is needed to reach his sky-high ceiling. Overall, Oweh is a work-in-progress with his rush plan, counters and feel, but all the athletic and physical traits that NFL teams covet at the position are there. He projects as a high risk, high reward pass rusher in the Jason Pierre-Paul mold.

Another comparison that gets thrown around for Oweh is Danielle Hunter. Hunter has 54.5 sacks, including three double-digit sack seasons, in five seasons and was a Pro Bowler in 2018 and 2019 after being a third-round pick by the Minnesota Vikings in 2015. Hunter missed last season with a neck injury.

The case against this trade

In all honesty, I’m not sure I could actually justify making this trade in the real draft. Maybe one of Oweh, Rousseau or Tryon would still be available at No. 42. If not, perhaps Joseph Ossai is there.

If not a pass rusher, I know a handful of starting-caliber guards will be available at 42.

Is someone like Oweh or Tryon really worth a move up the board? Maybe. Maybe not. We really won’t know until we see how the careers of some of these young men pan out.

Whether you like the idea of moving up to the late stages of the first round or not, I thought this exercise was instructive in how such a move might work and what value might be available.

So, you tell me. Would you have done this?