The New York Giants have officially sounded the trade alarms.
Giants general manager Dave Gettleman, owner of the No. 4 overall selection in the 2020 draft, told reporters at the NFL Combine on Tuesday that the team is open to trading its top pick. However, he included some qualifiers that could dictate how the Giants handle trade talks.
“We’re open for business,” Gettleman said at the NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on Tuesday. “Whatever we do is gonna be in our best interest.”
“Trading back has its danger,” Gettleman said. "What happens if you trade back eight spots? We’re at 4, let’s say we trade back to 8. There’s only four players we like. What if they’re all gone? Now what are you gonna do? Are you gonna trade back again?”
The key words there are clear: “There’s only four players we like.” There’s obviously no way Gettleman is going to reveal who those players are, though there might be some structure that can be gleaned from his comments.
What could the Giants do with the fourth pick in the draft?
For weeks, the top of the draft has appeared to be obvious. The Cincinnati Bengals, needing a quarterback, take home state hero Joe Burrow. The Washington Redskins, needing talent all over the place, take hometown hero Chase Young. Things can obviously change, but let’s just leave it to Occam’s Razor there.
After those two picks, it’s chaos. There are quality players to be had at several positions, including two options at the coveted quarterback spot, Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert. Like most drafts, it is that position which could dictate how the rest of the draft plays out.
The Giants, as well as the Detroit Lions picking third, could hold the keys to teams that want to make sure they end up with Tagovailoa or Herbert. Between Daniel Jones and the Lions’ recent commitment to Matthew Stafford, neither team needs a passer in this draft, so both teams could benefit by selling off their current pick and possibly getting their targeted player anyway.
Judging by Gettleman’s comments, there are four players the team is targeting. We could assume none of those players are a quarterback, leaving players like Young, Ohio State cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, Clemson safety Isaiah Simmons, Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown or Alabama offensive tackle Jedrick Wills Jr., or really anyone else given Gettleman’s track record.
If the Giants are fine with getting any of their four targets, and none of those targets are a quarterback, that means the Giants could trade back as far as the seventh pick before the risk really sets in, assuming Burrow, Tagovailoa and Herbert are all locks for the top 7. That’s in line with how Gettleman presented trading back to No. 8 as potentially dangerous.
Given that Gettlemen has never traded back in the first round in his GM career, it’s probably fair to say he operates by focusing on players he wants and making sure he can get them rather than gamble for an extra asset. He indicated as much to reporters Tuesday, per NJ.com:
“We have tried to trade back,” he insisted. “I have tried to trade back as a general manager. But the value wasn’t there and there was a player there that we really liked. I’ve seen teams trade themselves away from really good players. While it hasn’t scarred me, I’ve seen what it’s done to those teams and it’s something I have in my head.”
Fortunately, the teams that own the 5-7 picks — the Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers and Carolina Panthers — are all in a position where they could draft a quarterback, so the Giants might be able to make that work.
The Chargers and Dolphins probably make the most sense there despite the Dolphins’ immense draft capital, unless Miami is convinced that a) the player they’re targeting won’t go third and b) the Giants could help a team leapfrog them.
If the Giants are really fine with any one of a number of players, such a position could work out nicely. Just don’t expect Gettleman to move back too far.
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