Holding picks 5 and 7 in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft, the New York Giants are “likely to look to move one of them to try for multiple first-rounders next year.” That according to Peter King on Monday in his weekly ‘Football Morning in America’ column.
King did not expand on his reasons for thinking new Giants GM Joe Schoen would be looking to do that. So, let’s dive into the possible reasons ourselves.
Schoen told the team’s official website after he was hired that he would like “as many at-bats as you can get, as many swings as you can get” in the draft. At the Combine, Schoen said that he is “open for business.”
“I’ll be open to anything. I’m open for business. If someone wants to move up and we move back and get a 2023 pick – again, I’ll be looking to do what’s best for the New York Giants with 2022 and in beyond. Again, compete today, build for the future,” Schoen said.
“I’m going to plan for staying there and I’m going to find seven players that I like and I’m going to know I can sleep good at night and if somebody calls and it makes sense for us to move back or if there’s somebody we love a couple spots up and we can go get them with the draft capital, I’m good with that. We’re going to keep all options open.”
Moving down is a draft strategy I have long endorsed. Trading down and accumulating picks rather than up and giving them away has long been a staple of the ‘Big Blue View rules for draft success.’ Here is what the rules say:
“There are very few times when any player is worth trading up for, thus causing a team to mortgage valuable draft picks. You need depth in the NFL, and you can’t accumulate it by trading away your draft choices — which is what you have to do to move up. Generally, it is better to move down and accumulate more draft choices than to move up and wind up with less. Your mistakes hurt less when you have more choices, more chances to get it right. You can take risks on occasion when you have more choices, and — if the situation is right — you can actually use some of those ‘extra’ picks to move up when you feel it is warranted.
“When is it OK to move up? First and foremost, if you are moving for a guy you believe will be a franchise quarterback. If you are moving for a player at another position you believe is a franchise-changer or the one piece you need to put you over the top and into the Super Bowl, that is OK. Also, if you have accumulated extra picks perhaps then you can use that flexibility to target a player or two in the draft or via trade. This, really, could be called the ‘New England Patriots Rule.’ ”
Now, let’s get into the reasons why trading down with the No. 5 or No. 7 pick could be the right move for Schoen and the Giants.
The quarterback situation
The Giants’ plan, rightly in my view, is to give Daniel Jones the 2022 season to show the new regime whether he is, or is not, the long-term answer the organization needs at quarterback.
In the best-case scenario, Jones has the best supporting cast and most stability he has experienced since being selected No. 6 in the 2019 NFL Draft, plays the best football of his career and the Giants decide to move forward with him.
Let’s be honest, though. There is a good chance that is not going to happen. Jones is a GM and two head coaches removed from the regime that drafted him. Co-owner John Mara would be bummed, but it won’t come as a shock if Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll decide at the end of the season that they want to ride or die with their own guy, not someone else’s.
Tyrod Taylor is not going to be that guy. He might be a stop-gap while the Giants look for or develop that guy, but he’s not the future at quarterback for the Giants.
Trading down in Round 1 this year, especially if it brings the Giants a second first-round pick in 2023, gives the Giants the flexibility to move up for a quarterback next year should they need to. If they don’t need a quarterback they still have a pair of Round 1 picks for the second straight year, and that’s a good thing.
This is a rebuild. Dave Gettleman may not have understood that. Schoen doesn’t want to use the “rebuild” word, either.
“I don’t want to go out and get my head beat in ever,” he said at the Combine. “I want to have a competitive team and do what’s best for the franchise in the future.”
The new GM does, though, appear to understand that there is a lot of work to be done to fix the roster and get the Giants where they want to be. You don’t go from five straight double-digit loss seasons to annual Super Bowl contenders in one offseason.
Let’s say Schoen chooses to trade back with the No. 5 pick. Yes, that means he might be passing on an offensive tackle like Evan Neal or Ikem Ekwonu. Is one player, especially a non-quarterback, going to turn the franchise around? No.
What if Schoen trades down, still ends up with two first-round picks, gets Mississippi State offensive tackle Charles Cross at No. 7, and adds some Day 2 picks this year or next? That might be the better outcome, especially for a team that has more than one need.
Salary cap help
Despite everything Schoen has done, the Giants remain in salary cap purgatory. Two top-10 draft picks are a fairly significant drain on the cap for a team that still has little to no room to operate.
Remember that the cost of each draft pick is slotted by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Per OTC, the No. 5 overall pick is a $6.582 million cap hit and the No. 7 overall pick a $5.130 million hit. Each pick costs a little less, with the 32nd overall pick in Round 1 slotted at a cap hit of $2.335 million.
Thus, trading back could save a couple million dollars the Giants could use.