The dust has settled on the first round of the 2015 NFL draft, and the draft pundits have taken to the airwaves this morning analyzing each team’s pick. The consensus on Ereck Flowers seems to be that the Giants reached in taking him 9th overall. Could Jerry Reese have traded down, picked up an extra draft pick or two, and still gotten his man? If you listen to the experts, the answer is a simple yes, but life in the NFL is seldom simple. In order to complete a trade, a willing partner is required, as Chip Kelly learned the hard way yesterday evening. There was no player on the draft board who would so titillate a general manager that he would give up picks to move up and get him.
Immediately after the Giants selected Flowers, the St. Louis Rams selected Georgia running back Todd Gurley. Supremely talented, but coming off a serious knee injury, Gurley also has the misfortune of playing the most devalued position in professional football. Trae Waynes, the ultra fast cornerback from Michigan State went to the Minnesota Vikings with the 11th pick and, while talented, he has a reputation as lacking in technique, making him a bit of a project player. The Cleveland Browns followed with Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton, a player once linked to the Giants. Shelton is a run stuffer who lacks pass rushing prowess and is not the type of dominating defensive lineman that teams jump up to draft.
Stanford offensive tackle Andrus Peat went off the board next, to the New Orleans Saints, but with this draft replete with offensive lineman, any team needing one would have either pick of those remaining, making the sacrificing of draft picks unnecessary. Wide Receiver Devante Parker was drafted by the Miami Dolphins at 14, another player at well stocked position on this draft, again making a team less likely to give up draft capital to take one.
San Diego and San Francisco did execute a trade at pick 15, with the Chargers giving the Forty-Niners fourth and fifth round picks to move up two spots and select Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon. It was a steep price to pay to move up just two spots, and demonstrates the high value placed on first round picks. In order for the Chargers to move up from 17 to 9, the value chart used to balance trades would require that they surrender their second round pick. If Chargers General Manage Tom Telesco wanted Gurley instead of Gordon, that was the asking price the Giants would want for their pick. And then they would have to hope that Flowers was still there at pick 17.
Another team in need of a running back is the Arizona Cardinals, who had the 24th pick in the first round. If Steve Keim wanted to make a move up to draft Gurley, his second and third round picks would not be fully sufficient to balance the trade. Given the depth at running back in this draft, he would be better off waiting and picking a back with one of those picks rather than sacrificing his entire second day of the draft and still have the Giants looking for more.
The Giants took almost the entire 12 minutes allotted to make their first round pick, indicating that they either were debating internally about several available players or they were exploring potential trades. As the scuttlebutt on the day had the team targeting Flowers if Brandon Scherff was off the board, it is reasonable to assume that Reese was doing his due diligence and talking to teams about moving down. The last time the draft as in Chicago, there was no time limit on picks, and Reese may have had time to find someone with which to complete a trade. In 2015, with the limited 12 minute window of operation, no one bit, and the Giants drafted Flowers. In a draft class where the players from pick 10 to pick 55 are described as indistinguishable, and a matter of team preference, this should come as no surprise.
The Giants360 Prospect Tracker has three players primed for the Giants to pick in the second round. Ohio State defensive tackle Mike Bennett would pair nicely with Johnathan Hankins to form all Buckeye run defending wall in the middle of the Giants defensive line. There are also a pair of pass rushers, LSU’s Danielle Hunter and UCLA’s Owa Odighizuwa who would form a strong book end to Jason Pierre-Paul to keep opposing quarterbacks uncomfortable in the pocket. Some consideration would also have to be given to Alabama safety Landon Collins if he were to slip all the way to pick 40, given the Giants need at the position. He was seen as a potential top 20 pick at one point in the draft evaluation process, and the confluence of value and need might be too great to pass up. It would cost the Giants their 4th round pick to trade up to spot 33 to get him.
One of the biggest stories yesterday afternoon was Chip Kelly’s pursuit of his Oregon quarterback, Marcus Mariota. Philadelphia was engaged in trade talks with the Tennessee Titans up until the Titans selected Mariota (Or Marioto, as Roger Goodell called him), but were unable to complete a trade. This morning, as Giants360 was perusing news and rumors, the one that jumped out is speculation that Kelly will now seek to jump ship from the Eagles to the Titans in order to coach Mariota. To the best of our knowledge and belief, this is nothing but idle speculation, amusing idle speculation, but it’s nothing more that “Spit balling.” Kelly is busy mending fences this morning with the players he dangled in front of the Titans to try to entice them to make the trade, including his presumed starting quarterback, Sam Bradford. Team morale in the City of Brotherly Love can’t be running high on May Day.
Today on Fantasy Sports Warehouse, we take a look at Round 2 in depth and discuss if the Giants should trade up to acquire Alabama safety Landon Collins.
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