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Making the case: Should Giants trade up or down from No. 25?

If the Giants make a move in Round 1, should they go up for a player or back for more picks?

NFL: APR 26 2018 NFL Draft Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 25th pick in the NFL Draft has been traded in six consecutive seasons, dating back to 2017. Could the New York Giants, owners of that selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, make it seven straight years?

If GM Joe Schoen decides to move off the 25th pick, what is the better course of action? Should he move up for a targeted player, likely a wide receiver or cornerback? Should he move down and collect assets he can use for later moves or even in the 2024 draft?

Let’s discuss.

The case for trading up

Schoen sent a 2023 third-round pick to the Las Vegas Raiders in the trade to acquire tight end Darren Waller. He still has 10 picks in his pocket, seven of which are set to come on Day 3 of the draft.

Let’s be real. Seven Day 3 selections, three of which are seventh-round picks that come in the draft’s final 20 selections, are not making the Giants’ 2023 53-man roster. So, Schoen should probably look to use at least some of that Day 3 draft capital to play the draft board, target a player or two and move up to acquire said player.

Right now, though, we are discussing the idea of moving up in Round 1. Those seventh-round picks, worth just a single point in the traditional (antiquated?) Jimmy Johnson trade chart, are going to be useless in trying to engineer a trade to an earlier pick in Round 1. The sixth-round pick, worth a measly eight points on the Johnson chart, is likely to be similarly useless.

To move up in Round 1, the Giants would have to part with real draft assets rather than throwaway ones.

The first question that has to be answered is whether or not there is anyone worth moving up for. For the Giants, that almost certainly comes down to how they view the top wide receivers and cornerbacks in this draft class. Among those eight players (four receivers, four cornerbacks) are they any they have graded far enough above the others to justify a move up?

We know that despite the moves they have already made to upgrade their receiving corps, the Giants remain intensely interested in the consensus top tier of receivers. They have dined with and attended the pro days of Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Jordan Addison, Zay Flowers and Quentin Johnston.

We know less about their interest in any of the consensus top cornerbacks — Christian Gonzalez, Devin Witherspoon, Joey Porter Jr., Deonte Banks. What we do know is that the Giants still have a need to upgrade their talent at cornerback, and that doing so in Round 1 would not be a surprise.

Personally, I’m not sure I feel strongly enough about any of those players to pound the table and say ‘of course the Giants have to move up for that guy.’ What I think, though, doesn’t matter. If the Giants feel one or two of those players is right for them, or that sitting tight at No. 25 will cost them the opportunity to select any of the players they would truly be comfortable with in that spot, then of course they should try to move up.

Bill Barnwell of ESPN is an advocate of the Giants moving up from 25 to get their guy. Barnwell wrote:

Expectations have changed in New York after a surprising trip to the postseason, though, and Schoen should still be in the market for a No. 1 receiver to play alongside Robinson, Darius Slayton and new acquisition Darren Waller. Getting that player probably means moving ahead of the Chargers (No. 21) and Ravens (No. 22). Cornerback is also a weakness for the Giants, and Schoen could want to jump the Seahawks (No. 20) if there’s somebody he likes on the board.

The next consideration is cost.

By the traditional Jimmy Johnson trade chart, the 25th pick in the draft is worth 720 points. Figuring that there could be a run on receivers, cornerbacks or both from picks 20-24, let’s look at what it would cost to pick No. 18, owned by the Detroit Lions. The Johnson chart assigns a 900-point value to that selection. To make up the 180-point difference, the Giants would have to give up their third-round pick (No. 89, 145 points) and probably pick No. 160 in Round 5 (worth 27 points).

The Rich Hill trade chart would also require the Giants to give up picks 89 and 160.

For the sake of experimentation, I went to the mock draft simulator at Pro Football Network and tried to make a move up from 25 to 18. In addition to the Round 1 pick swap, the simulator forced me to give up picks 57 (Round 2) and 209 (Round 6) and I got pick 183 (Round 6) back from the Lions.

So, considering all of the Giants’ other needs the question is really whether or not the Giants would or should be willing to surrender a Day 2 draft asset to move up.

I’m not sure that is something I would do.

The case for trading down

Long-time Big Blue View readers know that the ‘Big Blue View rules for draft success’ favor trading down in most instances. Thus, since I authored them, I am more inclined to trade down than up.

With 10 picks at their disposal already, the Giants might be in a position to trade up should they believe there is a single difference-maker worth the move.

If they feel the price is too exorbitant to move up, and the board breaks in a such a way that the consensus top receivers and cornerbacks are gone by the 25th pick, trading down a few spots might make sense.

Before we get into scenarios, costs and reasons, let me first offer a caveat. In the right scenario, I believe trading down a few spots is fine. I would not, though, favor trading out of the first round.

Why? In terms of team-building and managing a salary cap there is financial value in the fifth-year option that comes with a player drafted in Round 1. I would hate to see the Giants surrender that by moving out of the first round.

Let’s suppose the Giants are in a situation at 25 where the top consensus wide receivers and cornerbacks we have been discussing are gone.

Now, let’s suppose safety Brian Branch, defensive tackle Calijah Kancey, cornerbacks Emmanuel Forbes and Cam Smith, centers John Michael Schmitz and Joe Tippmann, and wide receiver Jalin Hyatt are on the board and that the Giants are comfortable selecting any of them.

That presents as an ideal trade-down situation. Especially if the target is one of the two centers. This would be an excellent spot to move down a bit and collect another mid-round asset or two that might be useful in moving up to target a player in a subsequent round.

Bypassing the distasteful idea of trading with the Dallas Cowboys at No. 26 or the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 30, that would leave the Giants with the Buffalo Bills (27), Cincinnati Bengals (28), San Francisco 49ers (29) and Kansas City Chiefs (31) as potential trade partners.

What might the Giants expect in return for moving down?

At 27, the point differential on both the Johnson and Hill trade charts would likely net the Giants the Bills’ fourth-round pick, No. 130 overall. Truthfully, if I were Schoen I would ask for a little bit more.

At 31, the charts indicate dropping down could net the Giants the Chiefs’ third-round pick, No. 95 overall. Dropping down, still getting a first-round player I would like, and netting an additional Day 2 draft resource has some appeal.

Chad Reuter of actually proposed this exact trade to the Chiefs in a column detailing Round 1 trades that would make sense. He wrote:

The Giants moved down twice in the second round last year, accumulating fourth- and fifth-round selections to build roster depth. GM Joe Schoen must have learned during his time as an assistant to Beane in Buffalo about the value of dropping a few spots in exchange for a top-100 selection, especially when the team can still find a center or corner prospect waiting to become the final pick of the first round.

Your thoughts on these scenarios, Giants fans?