As the calendar turns to the month of April, the rumors and smokescreens about the upcoming NFL Draft intensify. Is Sam Darnold still a lock to go #1? Will Minkah Fitzpatrick actually fall out of the top 10? What will the New York Giants do at #2? The answer to the 3rd question may be the most telling to the subsequent draft picks in the top 10. New York Giants general manager, Dave Gettleman, has the ability to reshuffle the deck of cards at the top of the draft, which will have a direct impact on many other NFL franchises. With many holes on the roster and a dearth of depth at key positions, the Giants could go in any direction, especially when you consider Eli Manning’s age and the Odell Beckham contract situation. In 2019, the Giants are set to have just under 30 million in cap space (Spotrac) due to the Jason Pierre-Paul trade, which freed up 19.5 million against the cap in 2019 and 17.5 million in 2020. One may conclude that this money would be allocated towards resigning free agents Odell Beckham and Landon Collins, but it’s not a foregone conclusion that Odell will don Giants’ blue forever. This fact makes the Giants draft even more interesting.
How do NFL teams judge the value of specific picks? It’s not arbitrary. The NFL uses a trade chart that has a specific value assigned to every draft pick. The concept was devised by former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson in the 1990s and the chart is not pure gospel. Many teams use their own charts, but the purpose for each team is the same. The point of the trade chart is to assist front offices and lay a framework of value; if you want the #1 overall pick, which is worth 3000 points, then you must trade the value of 3000 points. The Giants hold the 2nd overall pick and to no one’s surprise, it is the 2nd most valuable at 2600 points. Overspending on the value is by no means foreign and teams will do this to ensure the pick they desire, which is simple supply and demand when a team, like the Giants, holds as much leverage as they do. The goal for the Giants is to maximize their return by using the leverage they have at two. But for the purposes of this exercise, we will keep the values in a similar range. With the help of Drafttek.com’s trade chart, I lay out the many scenarios the Giants may face during the 2018 NFL Draft.
Scenario 1 & 2 – Staying Put for QB or Best Player Available
Scenario 1 is very simple; the Giants stay put at 2 and select the successor to Eli Manning, who has 2 more years left on his contract and is 37 years old. I feel the Giants have USC QB Sam Darnold circled and if the Browns pass on him, then the Giants would stay put at 2 and select the former Trojan. I personally feel UCLA’s Josh Rosen and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield would also be excellent fits in Pat Shurmur’s offense. Securing a future signal caller, for a franchise that typically does not pick this high, would be a prudent move.
Scenario 2 sees the Giants staying put at two and drafting best player available. But who is the best player available? If you’re asking me, it’s Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, who could solidify an offensive line that has had issues since 2012. With the departure of Jason Pierre-Paul, there is a void at the EDGE position, which could lead the Giants to select North Carolina State’s Bradley Chubb. We also can’t rule out Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, though I would personally be against allocating such a prime pick with the leverage the Giants hold to the running back position. Any of these three players could be options in scenario 2.
Scenario 3 – Trade with the Bills
The Buffalo Bills have been linked to the #2 overall pick for quite some time and it is easy to draw this conclusion. Buffalo’s general manager Brandon Beane was the Director of Football Operations and Assistant General Manager under Dave Gettleman, while Bills head coach Sean McDermott was the defensive coordinator on that same staff. The Bills currently hold the 12th overall pick (worth 1200 points on the trade chart) and the 22nd overall pick (780) in the first round. Add those two together and you get 1,980 points, so the Bills can throw in their first 2nd and 3rd round picks, 53rd in the draft (370) and 65th (265), which makes the total 2,615 points. The Bills can keep next years first and one of this years second round picks, and they can have the warm and fuzzy feeling of jumping over their division rival Jets to select the signal caller that they desire. The Giants drop down 10 spots to obtain an extra first, second, and third round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Bills Receive: 2nd overall pick
Giants Receive: 12th, 22nd, 53rd, 65th
12th: Isaiah Wynn, OL, Georgia
22nd:Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
53rd: Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
65th: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, EDGE, Oklahoma
Scenario 4 – Trade with the Broncos
Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway is not scared to keep “swinging” at the quarterback position. Trevor Siemian, now on the Vikings, proved to be an adequate stop gap and Paxton Lynch, who Elway traded up for in 2016, has yet to put it all together as he heads into year 3. Case Keenum has proved that he can be a starter, but who is the long term solution in Denver? In this scenario, Elway wants to jump over the Jets and select his future QB. According to the trade chart, the difference in value between the #2 and #5 pick is 900 points (#2=2600; #5=1700). Denver would have to part ways with their 2nd round pick, which is pick 40 (500) and their 2019 2nd round selection; since this pick’s point value is unknown, calculations of the 2nd round’s mean value must be exercised and that number comes out to be 416. The Giants would also acquire the second 3rd round pick that the Broncos possess, which is 99th (104). Total value of the trade being 2720, with a net loss of 120 draft points on the Broncos end.
Broncos Receive: 2nd overall pick
Giants Receive: 5th, 40th, 99th, and 2019 2nd round pick
5th: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
40th: Sam Hubbard, EDGE, Ohio State
99th: Fred Warner, LB, BYU
Scenario 5 – Trade with Arizona
The Cardinals find themselves in a very precarious situation; their division foes, the 49ers and Rams, have young talented rosters that are lead by astute offensive minds, while Arizona may have the weakest roster in the NFC and are ushering in a new head coach in Steve Wilks. Sam Bradford has proven to have durability issues and Mike Glennon is far from a long term solution. This could lead the Cardinals to jumping up in the draft and pursuing the young QB that they love. The 15th pick in the draft is worth 1050 points and a jump of 14 picks would most certainly assure the Giants would acquire the Cardinals 2019 1st round selection as well. The Giants would also gain a 2nd rounder, the 47th pick (430 points) in the draft, and a 3rd rounder, the 97th (112 points) pick. I personally feel the Cardinals roster is too thin to make a move of this magnitude, but the team may want to find their quarterback of the future before building at other pieces. This would be great for Giants fans, due to the fact that Arizona could realistically be picking top 5 in the 2019 NFL Draft. But since the exact value of the 2019 1st round selection is unknown, calculations of the mean value find that the number is 1158, which results in 2750 draft points and a net loss of 150 points for the Cardinals.
Cardinals Receive: 2nd overall pick
Giants Receive: 15th, 47th, 97th and 2019 1st round pick
15th: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
47th: Lorenzo Carter, EDGE/LB, Georgia
97th: Kemoko Turay, EDGE, Rutgers
Scenario 6 – Trade with Miami
The Dolphins find themselves in a similar situation as the other two teams in the AFC East not named the New England Patriots. As Tom Brady continues to age, the window in New England creeps downward ever so slowly, which gives a glimmer of hope to three franchises that have collectively won the AFC East once since 2003, which was the Chad Pennington lead 2008 Dolphins, the same year Tom Brady tore his ACL in Week one versus Kansas City. The Dolphins could feel anxious, due to the injury concerns that surround QB Ryan Tannehill and the fact that the Jets are positioned at the third overall pick and the Bills have the firepower to get to the 2nd pick. The Dolphins could feel the need to strike and get the signal caller that they covet. This could be fantastic for the Giants, if both the Dolphins and Bills feel the need to get in a bidding war to jump the Jets, which would lead to a king’s ransom for Big Blue. Miami possesses the 11th pick (1250 points), so their 2019 1st round selection would be involved, as well as the Dolphins 2nd round selection at 42 (480). The Giants would also receive the first of the Dolphins 4th round picks, which is the 123rd (49) selection. With the mean value being calculated for the 2019 1st round pick, the total number comes out to be 2937, which is a net loss of 337 draft points for the Dolphins. In a real life scenario, I believe the Giants would come away with more, due to the extreme leverage the #2 pick possesses and the unique situation the Dolphins could find themselves in.
Dolphins Receive: 2nd overall pick
Giants Receive: 11th, 42nd, 123rd, and 2019 1st round selection
11th: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
42nd: Billy Price, IOL, Ohio State
123rd: John Kelly, RB, Tennessee
Scenario 7 – Giants Trade up to #1
While I feel this scenario is unlikely, it wouldn’t be the craziest trade to ever happen. If the Giants are sold on Sam Darnold, like reports are stating, then a jump of 400 points to 3000, wouldn’t be insane. The Giants would have to give up their first third round pick, which is 66 (260) and their 4th round selection, which is 108 (78). The total comes out to be 2938, so giving up something like a 2019 5th round selection would be necessary as well. There was a trade similar to this in 2012, albeit a few spots back, but the Browns traded from 4 to 3 with the Vikings. Cleveland gave up a 4th, 5th, and 7th, in order to secure Trent Richardson. For the Giants, the opportunity cost of making this move is too grand in my opinion, but if the Big Blue brass are that sold on “their guy” then sending a 3rd, 4th, and future 5th isn’t the most egregious act known to the draft.
Browns Receive: 2nd overall pick, 66th, 108, and 2019 5th round pick
Giants Receive: 1st overall pick
Cleveland Potential Picks:
2nd: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
66th: Duke Ejiofor, EDGE, Wake Forest
108: Nick Nelson, CB, Wisconsin
The Odell Effect
I am not about giving up on talent, and Odell Beckham Jr. has an immense amount of it, but the reality lies in the state of the Giants. It’s a roster that has been devoid of talent and depth in key areas, so the question arises – why would you trade your best player? I wouldn’t, but exploring every option is the sagacious move; I could care less about the antics that get overblown by the media, “Oh a wide receiver is a Diva, riddle me that,” but the issue lies within the allocation of funds. Do the Giants want to reset the wide receiver market by paying OBJ over 17 million dollars per year? If, for whatever reason, the Giants feel the answer is no, then you have to trade him and get whatever you can for him.
Scenario 8 & 9 – Giants Trade with New England
As the other three AFC East teams scurry to capitalize on the Patriots “waning” dominance, New England takes the necessary steps to add Tom Brady’s replacement (Josh Rosen). The Patriots sent wide receiver Brandin Cooks and a 4th round selection to the Los Angeles Rams for their 1st and 6th round picks. In scenario 8, the Patriots trade the 23rd (760), 31st (600), and 43rd (470) overall picks, along with a 2019 1st and 2nd round pick, to the New York Giants for the #2 overall pick. Since this is such a far trade back, it would seriously cost the Patriots; the net loss on draft points due to this haul would be 804. The Patriots become very bold in scenario 9, where New England acquires Odell Beckham Jr. from the Giants for the 23rd, 31st, and a 2019 2nd round pick. In the twilight of his career, Tom Brady would have one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL, while the Giants can replenish the depth of their roster with the picks acquired.
Patriots Receive: 2nd overall pick
Giants Receive: 23rd, 31st, 43rd 2019 1st and 2nd
23rd: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
31st: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
43rd: Josh Sweat, EDGE, Florida State
Patriots Receive: Odell Beckham Jr.
Giants Receive: 23rd, 31st and 2019 2nd round pick
23rd: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
31st: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
Scenarios 10 & 11 – Giants Trade Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns
The Browns have been in rebuild mode for quite some time. With a new regime in place and encouraging offseason moves, the arrow could be trending upward. Splashes have been made this offseason by the franchise, but landing Odell Beckham Jr. would be a cannonball. After spending the last 4 years in New York, would Odell want to play in a city like Cleveland? People would tend to say no, but the presences of Jarvis Landry and former LSU wide receiver coach Adam Henry doesn’t hurt. Cleveland would have to be sure that the 25 year old superstar would resign with the Browns (highly unlikely), but a receiving corps that features Odell Beckham Jr, Jarvis Landry, and Josh Gordon would be electrifying and could really help turn this perennial cellar dweller into contenders. Scenario 9 features the Giants acquiring the 4th and 64th overall picks in the draft, while Scenario 10 sees Big Blue obtaining the 1st overall pick, with both scenarios having Corey Coleman heading to the Big Apple.
Browns Receive: Odell Beckham Jr.
Giants Receive: 4th, 64th, Corey Coleman
4th: Bradley Chubb, EDGE, North Carolina State
64th:Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon
Browns Receive: Odell Beckham Jr.
Giants Receive: 1st overall pick and Corey Coleman
1st: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
These are just 11 scenarios that could potentially happen within the next month. To say the Giants have run into a fork in the road is an understatement, but this is why general managers get paid the big bucks. The Giants hold a pick that can shape the next 15 years of the NFL, which direction do they go? We’ll find out soon enough.