The Case For Moving Back Into the 1st Round

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This question is one that comes with many considerations and generally high costs. I like to bottom-line issues like this and then build it back up to see if you truly have a case to justify the spend.

The goal, or end result at its base, is to obtain a HIGHER quality player than you could manage if you waited until your pick in the 2nd Round, no matter where that slot may be. The point is you believe that you are going to get a significant return on the Draft capital spent for that player and it needs to be a higher return than that player in the 2nd Round is going to offer your team. This is simply stating the expectation of payback.

Next comes desire. Does your team WANT to attempt to cash in these valuable chips for the CHANCE to select a player that fits that ROI profile? That is going to depend on whether you think you NEED to make the attempt. If you don’t, then you are likely in a Draft-rich situation and you have “excess” draft capital to spend. So you’re just playing with house money. Or, you may simply not have the luxury of picking 7-10 players and have them all make your roster. You may view that as counterproductive and want fewer, but higher quality drafted players to run through your system.

So we will assume you do have the desire. Next, you must have the draft capital necessary to make the move up. If we look at the traditional Draft Trade Value Chart, moving up from say Round 2 slot #49 to Round 1 slot #25 we would need to likely give our #49 slot plus next year’s 2nd Round pick as well, which would be assumed to be in the same general range and offer similar value as this year’s #49.

Next, we need players we intend to target. None of it works if you’re just hoping, there has to be a fairly numerous group of players you would be VERY happy drafting because you won’t have any guarantees as to who will be there, and you would have to have VERY similar grades on all of them. This might be harder than it sounds. Can you settle on 6-8 guys that you would be thrilled to have, would all represent really high value (over your 2nd Round choices) and would be worth giving up ANOTHER good player next year in terms of a 2nd Round pick given up for 2020? They would have to make sense in terms of need in some regard unless you truly were going BPA because you have that luxury.

The last thing we would need is a trade partner. Or several potential partners. Most of the time these trades happen on the fly during the Draft. Difficult to align all of these various aspects to the trade. But this is why we have a group of players with similar grades…it allows us to be open to what is there at the moment in time we would be picking. However without a partner willing to trade with us, we have nothing.

So…if you’re Dorsey, what is your story? Let’s take a look at the possible answer to each question:

  1. Goal – I believe that Dorsey would only make this move if he was getting a Top 5 or Top 10 talent that was falling, not as a 2nd Round hedge to keep a guy from sliding to the next round
  2. Desire – I believe Dorsey is at least open to the idea, but won’t overpay
  3. Draft Capital – If the cost is two 2nd’s (and maybe another later rounder you’d get leveraged for) I think Dorsey is still in the conversation
  4. Players – See below for the players I believe he would be targeting
  5. Partners – See below for my suggested partners

If I was a betting man, I would say that Dorsey making noise about specific players is not by accident. In particular this past month he has been really loudly expressing his interest and affection for Jeffery Simmons. This is either complete smokescreen (I doubt it) or he is signaling to the teams in the lower half of the round that he is a willing trade partner (more likely). Whether he really wants to draft Simmons or not is secondary (he does).

Here are the players, no particular order, that I believe Dorsey would have on his list in this trade-up scenario. Reminder that my slotting for these players is based on how I see their value when the process started. Many of these guys have shot up the boards in the last 60 days, particularly Safeties. Also, if your strategy for this move-up is to simply keep a guy from getting to the 2nd Round, that is reflected here too:

The real value on this list is in the Defensive Line. Byron Murphy and Nasir Adderly both represent the best of their position group, so maybe. Mack Wilson and the remaining Safeties would be hedges against them sliding into the 2nd Round. To me the only way Dorsey plays this game is for those falling Top 10 talents, or if not one of those guys, only players that represent the best of their position group. This would include Hockenson at TE. I also feel strongly that Dorsey won’t spend this capital on Offensive Line as there are plenty of good players in the lower rounds and we are not in emergency mode (yet!) for O-Line talent. So here is what my revised list would look like:

My conclusion here that if we are going to move up, with a target of starting at slot #25, we would have a pretty solid shot at about half of these players. So that would be roughly 4 or 5 of our best values from this list, but would not include any of the Top 10 talents except Jefferey Simmons…so from a talent list standpoint, it would seem a reasonable gamble.

Trade partners is always a crap shoot, and a draft like this that is VERY top heavy produces a lot of unusual activity. Those teams in the Top 15 slots with a shot at premium players will either stay put or want a ransom since talent is thin overall. Those in the lower half of Round 1 will be looking to move or hanging around for falling players too. But here could be a couple of interesting scenarios for us and Dorsey has top notch relationships with most teams, as well as a trade history with many of them.

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  1. Eagles – hold the 25th pick and are UNLIKELY partners, as they have two lower half picks in the 2nd already and might not want another unless it’s high in the round
  2. Colts – hold the 26th pick and are UNLIKELY partners, as they also have two 2nd round picks already, one of which is a high slot. They are also in build and win now mode
  3. Raiders – hold the 27th pick and are POSSIBLE partners as this is their third 1st Round pick (!) so they might not be interested in using all 3, plus they hold the 3rd slot in the 2nd round
  4. Chargers – hold the 28th pick and are UNLIKELY partners, as they rarely make draft day trades under current management and have all 7 of their original picks. Unless they desire more picks for next year, they are likely to stay put
  5. Seahawks – hold the 29th pick and are POSSIBLE partners, as this is their second 1st round pick but they have no 2nd rounder and only three total picks after that. Could want to accumulate more capital this year and not wait for a next year pick. Could be expensive for us.
  6. Packers – hold the 30th pick and are POSSIBLE partners as they have a TON of picks this year and this is their second 1st round pick. They could be very agreeable to getting a 2nd rounder next year since they have so many this year and could never get all those players on the roster!
  7. Rams – hold the 31st pick and are POSSIBLE partners as they tend to like extra draft capital for trades and are very motivated to choose a select few high quality players in the draft as they can’t put 10 new guys on the roster every season, they are too good already.
  8. Patriots – hold the 32nd pick and are POSSIBLE partners as they historically wheel and deal a LOT during the draft and love holding spots like this (where they often are!) that have value to other teams. They are always interested in additional draft capital for future years.

Not a bad scenario actually. That’s 5 potential trade partners and many of them have multiple 1st round picks so could be willing to deal. Some of these teams are going to require an extra late round pick as a sweetener if they are waiting for next year’s 2nd, so we would likely be giving up one of our 5ths in addition to the two 2nds.

So how strong is our case? I would say VERY STRONG…but only IF Dorsey truly believes there is a Top 10 talent that will be there. I do not believe he is going to move up just to keep a player from sliding to the 2nd round. I also feel the cost is very reasonable if my estimates are correct using the standard Draft Value Trade Chart.

We trust in Buddy Boy! Get us some players!