Is Trading Down in the Draft a Good Idea for the Green Bay Packers?
Florida Gators defensive back Matt Elam (22) intercepts a pass during the first half of game against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium. Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
By John Dewey
The big-name mock drafts seem to be focused on the Green Bay Packers keeping their pick at 26 and choosing a running back, tight end, safety or defensive lineman. When the needs are so many and the available talent is deep at these positions, just what could be some realistic options for the Packers to trade down?
Before you go there, fIrst consider some recent history. The New England Patriots in 2009 had the 26th pick in the draft. They traded it to the Packers for a 2nd round pick and two 3rd round picks. The Packers then selected Clay Matthews at the 26th spot. His pass-rushing ability and endless motor on the field will soon make him one of the highest paid defensive players in the NFL.
By the way, what did the Patriots do with their extra picks? With the pick they obtained from the Packers in the 2nd round, the Patriots chose cornerback Darius Butler. Butler has since been released by the Patriots and the Carolina Panthers and currently is on the Indianpolis Colts’ roster.
The Patriots chose Brandon Tate with one of the third round picks obtained by the Packers. Tate started 2009 on injured reserve and was released by the Patriots in 2011. He currently is on the roster for the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Patriots traded away the other third round pick obtained by the Packers.
So, you still want to trade down with the 26th pick? What is the relative trade value of the 26th pick if the Packers want to package it for other picks?
According to the frequently referenced trade value chart, the 26th pick is worth 700 points. A willing trade partner would offer a combination of picks that would equal that, or at least come close to it. Could the Packers get a low 2nd and a 3rd round pick from another team? Someone not in their division, since you don’t want it to really backfire in your face?
Look no further than the Cincinnati Bengals, whose 37th overall pick from the Oakland Raiders is worth 530 points on the trade value chart, and their own 84th round pick in the third round is worth 170 points, and you have a trade that provides equal value to each team according to the value chart.
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
With this trade, the Packers would have four picks in the first three rounds: 37th (from Oakland through Cincinnati); 55th; 84th (from Cincinnati); and 88th.
Without the trade, the Packers 4th pick would be the 122nd in the draft instead of the 88th.
Put yourself in the war room.
Who are the nine players they are likely to miss out on from picks 26 through 36? Is there another future star player in that range? To me the answer would await on draft day.
Looking at the various mock drafts, it appears to me that a potential star could drop to 26 in a position of need. So the wait and see approach will likely be the strategy before pulling the trigger on a trade down deal.
It is unlikely, yet not entirely impossible, that Bjoern Werner of Florida or DJ Fluker of Alabama could fall that far.
If there are no draft steals at 26, then a trade down could provide the Packers a better chance to adequately cover their multiple needs.
Just for fun, consider this fantasy package of the first four picks if they traded down for the Bengals 2nd and 3rd:
2. #37 (From Oakland through Cincinnati) Matt Elam, S Florida
2. #55 John Jenkins, NT Georgia
3. #84 (From Cincinnati) David Quessenberry, OL San Jose State
4. #88 Christine Michael, RB Texas A&M
They would cover of the positions of need and select two players they reportedly have a great deal of interest in – Quessenberry and Michael.
Of course, there’s as much chance of me getting this right as I have winning the Powerball. But that’s why we play. For the entertainment value.
Walterfootball.com has a draft value chart tool that fans can play with to make up their own draft day deals. This just takes it to another level in the art of the mock draft.