If the New York Giants decide to move down from No. 11 in the 2021 NFL Draft, how far should they go?
Giants fans know the history of GM Dave Gettleman. They know he has never traded down in the eight drafts he has run as general manager of the Giants and Carolina Panthers.
Gettleman said a year ago that the Giants were “open for business’ at No. 4 in the draft, but they ultimately stayed put and selected left tackle Andrew Thomas. Gettleman has previously stated an aversion to trading himself out of position to drafting the player or players he is interested in.
This is part of what Gettleman said a year ago about trading down:
“Trading back has danger ... You can trade yourself back out of good players.
“You gotta be careful of trading too far back.”
Gettleman also pointed out in that same conversation that he simply wasn’t trained to be a “trade back” GM, that it wasn’t a favored tactic of the coaches and GMs he worked with before becoming a general manager himself.
“We’re all creatures of what we’ve done. All of our experiences,” Gettleman said. “We have tried to trade, I’ve tried to trade back but the value wasn’t there and there was a player there that we really liked. I’ve seen teams trade themselves away from really good players and maybe while it hasn’t scarred me, I’ve seen what it’s done to those teams and it’s something I just have in my head.”
So, with that as backdrop let’s get back to the original question. How far down would be too far down if Gettleman decided that it was time for an old dog to learn a new trick, in other words time for him to trade down for the first time in nine drafts?
Chad Reuter of NFL.com proposes a trade down to No. 20 with the Chicago Bears for the Giants. In Reuter’s scenario, the Giants also receive a 2021 third-round pick and a tantalizing 2022 first-round pick.
Could they really get that much? Both the traditional trade chart and the newer Rich Hill trade chart show that as a bit more than might be expected in return, but if a team is moving up for a quarterback it might be realistic.
Now, to Gettleman’s concern about moving down so far you miss out on the player or players you are really interested in.
Let’s suppose the Giants miss out on offensive linemen Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater, and that they would really like to draft Alijah Vera-Tucker of USC. The NFL Mock Draft Database shows Vera-Tucker coming off the board at No. 18 when aggregating all of the mock drafts they are tracking. So, if Vera-Tucker is the object of their desire moving down more than a couple of spots would be risky.
If it’s a pass rusher the Giants want, moving as far as 20 might not be quite as risky. In his most recent mock draft, ESPN’s Todd McShay has four edge rushers (Kwity Paye, Gregory Rousseau, Jaelan Phillips and Azeez Ojulari) coming off the board between picks 21 and 31.
Aggregated totals from the NFL Mock Draft Database show Paye being taken at No. 17, Rousseau No. 22, Ojulari No. 21 and Phillips No. 22.
None of that guarantees how the draft will work out. Is it, though, an indication that moving down might pay off. Unless the Giants have a specific edge rusher in their sights and want to ensure they don’t miss out on him.