NY Giants should not trade down in 2022 NFL Draft
By Zak Musso
If the NY Giants want to rapidly improve their team, they should learn from the 2021 NFL Draft, and not trade down in 2022. This year’s draft is rapidly approaching and April 28-30, 2022 will be three of the most important dates in Giants’ history.
The Giants have been riddled with poor play, poor coaching, poor development, and most importantly, abysmal drafting over the last decade, leading to an onslaught of losses. Since 2016, the Giants are 22-58, tied with New York’s other team, the notorious bottom-feeding NY Jets, for the worst record in the league.
Not long ago, the Giants were considered one of the pillars for franchise stability in the NFL, and the 2022 draft can go a long way to recreating that reality. The Giants currently own nine picks in the NFL draft, including two of the first seven selections, and five of the first 81 selections. That gives the Giants plenty of capital to draft franchise-altering players.
The NY Giants should not trade down in the 2022 NFL Draft
A mistake that new general manager Joe Schoen and new head coach Brian Daboll should avoid is trading down in the first round. While it is understandable, given how the 2021 draft worked out for the Giants, to think that trading down to acquire feature capital again is the blueprint that Schoen and crew should follow, the results the Giants had a year ago were a major anomaly and contained a major flaw.
Last year, the Giants traded the number 11 pick to the Chicago Bears. In return, the Giants received the number 20 pick, a fourth-round pick, and a 2022 first-round pick. There is an innate risk in making this type of trade because the success of the trade hinges on the team that is trading up having a terrible year.
Last season it worked, as the Chicago Bears were in a roster retooling process, with an abysmal offense that resulted in the seventh-worst record in the NFL, giving the Giants two top seven picks. What the Giants experiences last season doesn’t happen very often. Looking back at recent trades for future first-round picks, most often, the team who acquired future capital ended up with late first-round picks which were not equivalent to what they had traded.
Matt Stafford was traded to the Rams in 2021. The Rams won the 2021 Super Bowl. This, in turn, led the 2022 first-round pick, which the Lions received in the Stafford trade, to become the 32nd pick, the last pick in the first round.
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Also last year, the 49ers traded multiple first-round picks, including a 2022 first-round pick, to the Dolphins for the third pick in the draft. The 49ers stunned the league, making it all the way to the NFC Championship game, which left the Dolphins with the 29th pick in the draft (which they later traded).
The Giants should not rely on luck again. This season, the Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints, and maybe one or two sneaky teams like the Washington Commanders or Minnesota Vikings could consider trading future first-round picks to select their quarterbacks of the future.
The problem is, these teams all have decent rosters and none should be in the bottom 10 teams of the league next year. The Saints don’t even have a first-round pick next year. As a hypothetical trade, the Saints, potentially having their eyes on Kenny Pickett or Malik Willis, could offer the Giants the 16th and 19th picks in the draft for the fifth pick.
Right now, with two of the top seven picks in the draft, the Giants are locked into drafting two from this group of players: Aidan Hutchinson, Kavon Thibodeaux, Evan Neal, Ikem Ekonwu, Charles Cross, Sauce Gardner, Travon Walker, and Kyle Hamilton. If the Giants were to trade back, they would miss the chance to draft an elite prospect.
The Giants did miss the chance to draft two elite prospects a year ago when they traded back. In the 2021 draft, the Giants could have drafted pass rusher, Micah Parsons, or offensive lineman, Rashawn Slater, who could have filled one of the Giants’ two biggest needs. Instead, the Giants took Kadarius Toney, who the jury is still out on, while both Parsons and Slater were pro bowlers last season, living up to their elite draft prospect hype.
The 2021 draft should be a cautionary tale for the Giants – the quality of an NFL player is a lot more valuable than the quantity of NFL players. If the Giants do decide to trade down, Schoen’s scouting department better be very good at their jobs, because the Giants could be squandering their chance to draft two potential, and desperately needed, franchise stars.