3 Creative Moves the NY Giants Can Pull on Draft Day
The 2014 offseason has been anything but ordinary for the New York Giants.
Just look at their free-agency activity—the team has signed 15 new players so far, the most since head coach Tom Coughlin’s first season when the Giants brought in 17 new faces to compete for roster spots.
They’re probably not done yet, either. Once the NFL draft concludes, teams usually start to release aging veterans whose replacements have been drafted. That process ultimately continues as we go through the OTAs and training camp.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s circle back to the NFL draft, where the pressure is on the Giants' brass to come up with a solid class of contributors who can contribute something in their rookie season.
While in the past the Giants have traditionally stayed put at whatever draft spot they’ve earned, it would not be out of the question for them to take a chance or two as they continue their massive overhaul of an underachieving roster that finished 7-9 a year ago.
Here’s a look at some creative moves, all involving trades, that the Giants could make.
Trade Quarterback Ryan Nassib for Extra Picks
Although this year’s draft class appears to be rich in options at quarterback, sometimes it’s not about the quantity as much as the quality.
Certainly players in the draft can help a quarterback-needy team right away, but as Vikings general manager Rick Spielman tells Peter King of MMQB, this year is torturous if you’re in need of a quarterback:
You see a player sitting there when you pick who you know can help you right away, a significant player at another position, an impact player as a rookie. Then you ask yourself, ‘How do we feel about our options at quarterback in the second or third round? Is it close? Is there a big separation, or is it close?’ …
That’s a big reason why we made it a high priority to sign Matt Cassel back. Every one of these quarterbacks … nothing is a sure thing. There’s no Andrew Luck, no Peyton Manning. It is such a mixed bag with each player—every one of them has positives, every one of them has negatives. And if that’s the way you end up feeling, why don’t you just wait ’til later in the draft, and take someone with the first pick you’re sure will help you right now?
Last year, the Giants traded up to get Ryan Nassib in the fourth round out of Syracuse only to hope he never plays.
Certainly they have a plan for Nassib—and that plan is to trade him at some point for something in return.
Might this be the year they do that? Granted, he didn’t show a lot last year when he was given the chance, and it didn’t speak well about him when he couldn't pass Curtis Painter on the depth chart.
However, with the Giants signing Josh Freeman to a one-year deal—a former No. 1 draft pick who could probably offer a better alternative toward running the new Giants offense, which appears to be taking on a heavier West Coast offensive flavor than first thought—does the team have room for Nassib?
It might not, not if the plan is to try to keep two quarterbacks this season, both of whom are first-round draft picks.
So rather than cut Nassib free and get nothing in return, why not see about trading him to a quarterback-needy team?
The idea isn’t as crazy as it sounds, and this nugget from Russell Lande, a former NFL scout, does little to dispel the possibility:
As Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger points out, because the Giants preserved Nassib last year, he didn’t put anything bad on tape that might diminish his potential trade value.
If Nassib can net the Giants an extra pick on Day 2, it would make the head-scratching decision to acquire him last year worth it.
Trade out of the First Round
The last time the New York Giants didn’t have a first-round draft pick as a result of a trade was in 2005.
You might remember the circumstances of that trade. The year before, the Giants made a blockbuster deal with San Diego to acquire quarterback Eli Manning—a trade that included New York sending its first-round pick in the 2005 draft to the Chargers.
Prior to that transaction, the Giants were also without a first-round pick three other times, per Pro Football Reference, in the post-1970 AFL/NFL merger:
- 1993, when they chose defensive end Michael Strahan in the second round because they had exercised a first-round pick the summer before in the supplemental draft on quarterback Dave Brown.
- 1975, when they traded their first-round pick to Dallas for quarterback Craig Morton.
- 1973, when they traded their first-round pick to Cleveland.
If you’re a team that thinks it has a legitimate chance of being competitive and making a postseason run, you don’t trade away your first-round pick, unless you’re talking about getting a franchise quality player.
Although the Giants made a number of offseason moves so far, the fact that they went heavy on veterans indicates that they’re going to try to make a run for the postseason this year.
And why not? Manning is still very much in the prime of his career. They're installing a new offense that should better take advantage of the talent they have, and they significantly upgraded the back end of a defense that last year finished eighth in the NFL.
With this draft class being so deep, you can probably make the argument to trade out of the first round because you can probably still get quality players in Rounds 2 and 3.
I have to believe that if the Giants were looking at a potential long-term rebuilding process, they might not have put such a heavy emphasis on stockpiling so many veterans.
That’s why I don’t think they’ll trade out of the first round; however, if one thing is becoming evident about this year, it's that just when you think you know something, you really don’t.
The last time the Giants traded down in the first round of a draft was in 2006, when they moved down seven spots after a trade with the Steelers. The deal got them defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka at No. 32 and netted third- and fourth-round picks.
Might the Giants be willing to trade down again? The only way I see it making sense is if tight end Eric Ebron, offensive tackles Greg Robinson, Taylor Lewan and Jake Matthews, and receiver Mike Evans are all off the board.
I think at that point if the Giants are not looking at a defensive player and instead want an offensive lineman such as Notre Dame's Zack Martin or UCLA's Xavier Su’a-Filo, they can move down a few spots, as both of those prospects should still be there.
Who might be a solid trade partner for the Giants? Pittsburgh is in need of a cornerback, so if Justin Gilbert is still on the board, perhaps the Steelers will swap picks with the Giants and give up their third-round pick to move up.