All the so-called computer folks can put down their pitchforks and throw a party. Dave Gettleman finally traded down in an NFL draft.
In his previous eight seasons as an NFL general manager, Gettleman hadn’t executed a single trade back, in the first round or otherwise. Not a single one. Darlings of the analytics community love GMs who trade back to acquire more arrows for their quiver. Safe to say, they and Gettleman rarely see eye to eye.
On Thursday night, Gettleman turned a new leaf.
After spending years not wanting to trade down with a (some would say irrational) fear of being “fleeced,” Gettleman executed a trade with the Bears, shipping the No. 11 pick to Chicago in exchange for No. 20, a 2022 first-rounder, a fifth-rounder this year and a fourth next. The Bears used No. 11 to select QB Justin Fields.
“Obviously it was too good an opportunity (to pass up),” Gettleman said, via the team’s official website. “It added too much value, and we felt very comfortable with where our board was and we felt comfortable with who would be there, who would be available in that slot. So, we made it. We did it. We added a one and a four next year. Another pick for this year and another pick for next year. We were very pleased we were able to make the play.”
With the uncertainty of the 2021 draft evaluations, most teams viewed the ability to pilfer 2022 picks from other clubs as gold.
“It was very important to get the first-round pick next year,” Gettleman said. “As I told you guys (reporters) at my pre-draft presser, there’s a lot of unknowns here with this group (of players in this draft) and plus a lot of kids went back and took advantage of the NCAA giving them an additional year of eligibility. That obviously played into our thinking.”
The Giants were rumored to be targeting Alabama wide receivers DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle or cornerbacks Patrick Surtain (Alabama) and Jaycee Horn (South Carolina). All four were off the board before Big Blue was on the clock — with the Eagles leaping in front of New York to snag Smith.
Credit Gettleman for pivoting on the fly, stockpiling multiple assets, and still landing a playmaker in receiver Kadarius Toney, who fits perfectly in the Giants offense, at No. 20.
Who knows, maybe the experience will open the floodgates, and Gettleman will bask in the euphoria of the trade-down for years to come. Who really knows?
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