When viewing the 2009 Packers needs and draft assets the first thing we look at is history and try to guess what Ted Thompson is thinking.
The Packers have a rising young offense with a potential holes at the OT spot and TE depth required. The Defense changed styles, but clearly need size and depth on the DL, someone to bring pressure on the QB and a possible replacement for the CB spot.
Only four true needs and a couple of wants.
Their draft assets pre-Apr. 25 are:
Pick No. 9 -- 1350 pts
Pick No. 41 – 500 pts
Pick No. 73 -- 225 pts
Pick No. 83 – 175 pts
Pick No. 108 -- 78 pts
As you can see the four picks in the fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds do not have a great significance “points” wise, but are often use to try to balance the “points” system that is kind of used by teams in evaluating draft choices.
With a value of over 1000 points teams should get enough value from a player or players to change the face of games even seasons. Is there a player or players that change the face of the team that much with the No. 9 pick.
For Packers' team needs in 2009, likely the only player that meets the value criteria is BJ Raji the BC nose tackle, but at present they may have to move up to get him. Do they have “value” to move up to get that player?
Yes, but it is totally out of line with Thompson’s historical reaction in the draft.
My hypothesis is that the No. 9 pick is traded down to get two players to plug in. To get the right value, and let the other team “save face” for giving up too much for one player, the most likely trade is a two-for-two or more.
To get a trade done, both sides have to want it. If we assume for this moment, Packer want to trade down to get increased value at two or more spots rather than shooting for one impact player, they must find a trade partner with enough goods and needs to make a trade possible.
Without factoring in 2010 or further draft year choices, and only brushing on active roster players, the list of potential trade partners for the No. 9 pick is fairly short.
NY Giants have 29, 45, 60 and roster players, who may have a lot of interest. Miami has picks 25, 44, 56 and 87. If a very major trade down is in the cards, one of these five teams is the group that has the most likely to have an attractive package for a “major trade.”
To entice a trade with one of these teams, there has to be a player on the board at the time of the selection that is deemed by the team to be the “target” for their team.
Philadelphia may believe they are only a WR of impact proportion, or an OT that is a fixture away from a championship. They might trade up to grab Crabtree the WR, or they may have OT Oher or Smith ranked way higher than No. 9.
Packers looking to gain picks 21, 28 and give up a fourth or fifth rounder to balance could make great sense for both teams. I give this option about 15 percent.
New England may believe one CB or one rush DE is critical to success and have Jenkins or Arakpo or anther player as their target. Picks 23 and 34 are a near straight value trade for the No. 9 pick. This could make good sense to New England, who have an abundance of picks.
I give this option approaching 10 percent.
The Jets may see QB Sanchez as a franchise QB and have a great urgency to get ahead of say San Fransisco who may be targeting that player. Picks 17 and 52 are not far from value, and the “small change” on the side are something both teams could see as beneficial.
Again I see about 10 percent.
The NY Giants no doubt see a WR as critical to getting to the super bowl. Crabtree could easily be the stimulus to get a trade done up to No. 9. While picks 29 and 45 do not add to the required value, they have a roster stacked with D linemen. (Barry Cofield pictured above.)
Certainly one of two or three of their DL could be seen as the extra “value” to make this happen. The teams already have a history, so this choice I rank highest at 15 – 20 percent. Each can fulfill the "need" on the other roster with the least pain to their own.
The Miami Dolphins are the last team with four picks in the first three rounds that “value” to the No. 9 may be a consideration. Sanchez could be the driver, and picks 25 and 44 are only a bit short, about a fifth rounder.
This is possible, but I have no inkling how high the Tuna may rank Sanchez. Five – 10 percent.
Overall, I would project a “major trade” of the No. 9 pick for two picks or players rests in the vicinity of 50 – 60 percent. Those are the “major trade” two for one type trades the No. 9 pick might bring.
Teams only a few spots lower may look to trade up just a few positions to get ahead of another team for a specific player they feel may go. QB Sanchez, WR Crabtree, OL Oher and Smith, DL / LB Arakpo or Brown or CB Jenkins could trigger teams only a few spots lower to try to jump up.
Only five of the teams picking between 11 and 20 have “additional value” that would really allow them to make a move up.
Buffalo with picks 11, 42, and 75 clearly have the extra value to do an up and down trade, but with the players on the board it seems unlikely that the OL or CB value would entice them to trade up.
Also, historically not a franchise that makes many draft day moves. Denver with picks 12, 48, and 79 also have plenty of value with only 150 points required for the three spots move up.
With WR, and an entire defense in need, they are more likely to be trying to trade down, the wild card being Cutler but any trade involving him would already have netted the QB or an even higher draft choice.
Chicago with picks 18, 48, and 84, despite the fact they are in the division have such a tremendous hole at WR and at DB and at OT...ouch, not likely they trade up, they need more picks, not less, they too should be trading down.
One position down to SF is unlikely unless SF were totally convinced Tampa, Denver was about to make the trade to move and grab Sanchez. This also assumes Sanchez is their pick. Less than five percent.
Washington at 13, New Orleans at 14 and San Diego at 16 likely do not have the other values to make a trade viable for the Packers. Picks 17 and 20 were traded from the original holders and discussed earlier.
Houston, with picks 15, 46 and 77, plus a GM that does make moves are clearly in the mix, and one of the DE / LB that bring QB pressure could be the enticement to get them to the top of their division.
So if Texas native Arakpo or Brown are on the board Houston could clearly want to get in front of SF, Buf, Denv, Wash, NO, or even the Packers themselves who could all be looking at their pick.
Fifteen, 77 and fourth rounder, or 15, 46, and them getting back one of the Packers' third rounders gets a 10 – 15 percent chance.
Tampa Bay holds picks 19, 50, and 81. Clearly rebuilding and clearly in need of a franchise QB, Sanchez still on the board makes the No. 19 and 50 picks a very real possibility. This I give 10 – 15 percent, as they clearly see a need to get in front of SF if Sanchez is on the board.
Think of the Houston and Tampa Bay as minor trade options, but that brings seven teams into the mix as at least significantly possible. It is my opinion that there is at least a 60 - 70 percent chance the Packers trade down from No. 9 to one of the seven named teams.
It is my feeling that Thompson and the Packer management are looking at two DL, one LB with pass rush skills and an OL in the first three rounds. They have four picks there already, so I expect they are trying to tweak things to get their greatest perceived value into those four spots.
While it may or may not fall into the categories I listed above I am about 95 percent certain we will see moves other than simply taking the four picks they currently have in those positions on draft weekend.
Thompson has shown a significant leaning to second rounders.
If he cannot move the No. 9 pick to acquire a second pick in the second round, I could easily see roster players (Poppinga, Chillar and Wells come to mind) used in conjunction with lower round picks the two thirds, fourth, and fifth, and two sixth rounders to ensure at least four picks in the top 64.
With a roster that it is unlikely more than four or five draft picks can even crack, I can see movement to have less picks, but higher quality. This is the year they finally have enough depth and balance to not simply “build for the future,” but begin to have the win-now mentality.