In Depth Look: Trading Down Early

Whether the Jaguars trade down will obviously be a major topic in the coming days. With all the focus on the 1st round and what the Jaguars are going to do with their pick number seven, little attention has been paid to their second round pick. In the past weeks the Jaguars have made it very clear that they desire to trade out of the 7th spot in the first round (Article) . Now this could very well be a smokescreen or some sort of pre-draft maneuvering but I think most everyone would agree there is probably a lot of truth to these reports. The problem for the Jaguars however is that the more I look at mock drafts and how the first round might play out, I can honestly see the Jaguars getting stuck at the number seven spot due to lack of trading partners. Instead I actually think that the more likely spot the Jaguars will trade down from is the number 38th pick (6th in the second round). Let me elaborate on both ideas.

The Jaguars find themselves in an extremely tough position at number seven for a host of reasons. Before I begin, obviously depending on changes to the Top 6 picks will effect how events play out. This line of reasoning is mostly based on what I think might happen, feel free to differ.

There is a general consensus that there are only six top tier players (Luck, RGIII, Kalil, Richardson, Claiborne, and Blackmon). Now obviously in recent days we have heard a host of players from Fletcher Cox to Stephen Gilmore as possible Top 6 or 7 picks, but let's assume that most teams believe these Top 6 players will be gone by the Jaguars selection. If one of these late risers does cause a Top 6 player to fall it seems that Claiborne or Blackmon would be the most likely to fall based on the needs of teams ahead and the list of risers (Cox or Tannehill). If this is the case, the Jaguars would not be trading out of the number seven spot in either scenario. If Claiborne is available, I believe the Jaguars will select him as he is the top CB and it would be a miracle if he drops to seven. Blackmon on the other hand would be an interesting situation. Based on reports , many GMs have soured on Blackmon recently and don't see a true #1 receiver in him. I really think that there would not be a market for Blackmon in terms of teams trading up. The Jaguars would either select Blackmon or pass.

Now if these Top 6 players all get drafted in some order in the top six picks, then what does that leave for available players. The biggest names associated with the Jaguars and trading down have been Fletcher Cox, Melvin Ingram, and Ryan Tannehill. Each of these players seems to have a very wide draft ranking based on who you talk too. No one will really know how much other teams would be willing to give up in order to get these players but under the new CBA, trading into the Top 10 became a slightly trickier deal. In the new CBA players selected in the Top 10 are signed to four year contracts and have a fifth year option where teams must pay the player the average of the ten highest paid players at their position. In contrast players selected in the rest of the 1st round only have to be paid the average salary of 3rd to 25th highest paid players at their position (Full Article ). As mentioned in the article, the current gap between the two average salaries is not extremely large right now (Only 3 million for a QB) but this could change in the future. This difference in contracts for Top 10 players and the rest of the first round is not a deal breaker at all for teams that want to trade up, but it is certainly something that will be factored in. Teams that are trading in the Top 10 for premium position players (QB, DE, or WR) need to have an extremely high amount of interest and faith in the player they are trading up for as players at these position could command a large 5th year salary.

The Chiefs and Seahwawks moving up for Tannehill seems like the most likely scenario if any were to happen. The problem is that the Jaguars would have to basically trade the #7th spot for very little. Both the Chiefs and Seahawks are not desperate for QB talent as they have players in place already, Cassel in KC and Flynn/Jackson in Seattle. Now obviously both teams could use an upgrade at QB don't get me wrong, I just don't think either team likes Tannehill that much to trade a 2nd or 3rd round pick in order to leap frog the Dolphins. Our friends at Arrowhead Pride seem to even think the Chiefs would trade out if Tannehill falls to them and the generally it seems the idea of the Seahawks trading up has cooled as well. The Seahawks like Tannehill but they have already signed Matt Flynn and trading away a much needed second or third round pick for him just doesn't make sense for them. If he falls into their laps at 12 then Tannehill is a real possibility but I think trading up and losing needed picks is not going to happen.

The other most talked about options are the Eagles or Jets trading up for Fletcher Cox or Melvin Ingram. I don't think either of those trades will happen due to the fact that neither team will value those players that much to trade up eight/nine picks for them. The Eagles may like Fletcher Cox but the don't seem to be willing to trade up for him as Michael Brockers also seems to be a possible option. According to Mike Mayock the Eagles are only willing to trade up for Mark Barron . Barron has been getting a lot of hype in the 10 - 15 range but I have yet to see many people think he will go Top 10 so its doubtful the Eagles would trade all the way to seven for him. The Jets trading for Ingram seems to be a better chance but even then the Jets have already traded a 4th and 6th round pick for Tim Tebow. Trading more picks away for Mark Ingram would really skrink their draft. They would really have to love Ingram to give up more picks. If the Jets were going to trade up for Ingram I believe that they would trade with Arizona if he was still available. It would mean less picks given up and they would be able to leap frog the Cowboys and Eagles who very well might be interested in him. Overall I really think the Jaguars might get stuck at the #7 spot. There are a lot of factors coming into play from player stocks falling, lack of interest and small contract issues that will slow interest. When all is said and done, I think unless the Jaguars are willing to trade out for little value they might be stuck. According to Peter King the Jaguars haven't had much interest from other teams recently which only increases the chance the Jaguars will be stuck.

Here's Todd McShay saying this exact thing:

NFL Draft Trade Hot Spots (via ESPN )

This leads me to the 38th or 6th pick in the second round. I think the Jaguars second round pick will be the pick that might be more likely to moved. The most obvious reason is that the cost of trading in the top of the second round is a lot less then the first. Teams looking to move up might only have part with a 3rd rounder or a couple later round picks to move up a few spots. This draft is very deep at a lot of positions especially in the 2nd to 3rd round range. There is a lot of value to be had there and I think the Jaguars would be willing to move back in the second if it mean't gaining an extra third rounder or if lucky second rounder.

It all starts with the players available. As we all know every draft there are a few players pegged for the first round that might fall into the start of the second. Trying to predict these fallers is extrememly difficult but if we were to take a look at some possibles. The race on WR's might find itself starting at the start of the second round as players like Wright, Jeffery and Hill seem to have lost a little steam in terms of first round momentum probably due to the huge depth of the WR class. While ESPN's blogger mock draft is not the most accurate of mocks it does give a scenario where some of these receivers can fall back into the second. Other then the WR's, there are a lot of defensive players that might fall such as Devon Still, Jared Crick, or Zach Brown as well. Offensive players such as Mike Adams or Coby Fleener might also fall out. The most interesting of these prospects is a player that was projected for the 2nd round but seems to be getting so attention of late, QB Brandon Weeden. His age seems to be the drawback from drafting him in the first but he is almost surely going to go in the 2nd as many see him as the most ready of the second tier QBs (Tannehill, Fowles, Cousins). Needless to say if only a few of these players drop into the second the start of the round might see a lot of trades.

That brings me to the next big reason why the start of the second might see more trades, teams have more ammunition. In the first round in order to move up teams would either need to trade multiple firsts or second round picks. The teams that would have these picks to spare are the Browns, Bengals and Patriots but the Browns seem content with keeping their picks and the Patriots rarely trade up. The Bengals are the most likely to trade up but like the Eagles and Jets, trading all the way to 7 would be a large price considering they are a young, growing team. Instead look at teams that have multiple second or third round picks: Rams (33,39,65), Dolphins (42,72,73), Patriots (48,62,93), Eagles (46,51,88). These teams have a lot of ammo to move around the 2nd and 3rd rounds at a relatively cheap price.

There are endless scenarios for trades the Jaguars could make and it will ultimately come down to who is available and which players teams are willing to trade for, but for now lets look at a couple situations I could see happening. I could honestly see a team that missed out on Tannehill trying to make a trade up for Brandon Weeden or a team who really likes on of the falling WR's to trade up a couple spots. After the first round teams seem to be more willing to trade as it costs less such as last year where there were five trades in the first round and nine in the second. In general teams and draftnicks seem to think there is a lot more value in the second day (Check out these articles, on Sporting News and this amazing article by Pat Kirwan ). These article explain how teams are really going to get max value for their picks on Day 2. Where as on the first day teams might find themselves reaching as value won't meet the pick location in a lot of spots. This is one of the prime reasons I think the Jaguars will not get a trade partner at #7, there are no players who really would be a good value at #7. Obviously in the second round with a lot of great value picks, teams would be more likely to move up or down. I could easily see the Jaguars taking advantage of a falling player to fall back in the second and gain a few extra picks.

Now obviously most this article is pure speculation. I am not a draft expert and even the few articles I cited by experts don't really know the true story. The entire pre-draft process is filled with lies and smokescreens. The draft is also extremely unpredictable and one change can have a domino effect on the rest of the draft. This article is just my honest opinion with some ideas and theories thrown in. So if you think I'm wrong, go right ahead tell me I'm wrong and why you think otherwise. No matter what happens the draft day on Thursday will be exciting and great to watch.

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