These three teams should all be looking to trade down in the 2020 NFL Draft…
New York Giants – Pick 4
With another top five draft pick firmly crested in the Giants arsenal, the New York franchise have to look at surrounding their last two first round draft picks, Saquon Barkley and quarterback Daniel Jones, with much needed talent. The Giants, like others, must avoid falling into a trap of hoping that they are one star player away from success at all costs, no matter how much money they flaunt at free-agents this off-season.
The Giants seriously have to question whether a talent in the form of Clemson’s ‘Swiss army-knife’, Isaiah Simmons or Georgia’s highly-touted left tackle Andrew Thomas (as good as they looked in the recent NFL Combine) is enough to turn the fortunes of this team around single-handedly. Instead it’s imperative that they look at multiple talented alternatives in similar positions later in the draft or even wait for a player the calibre of Simmons or Thomas to potentially fall whilst still acquiring more draft capital.
The masterplan ultimately however depends on the Detroit Lions’ draft strategy and their willingness to trade down themselves as they potentially hunt a plethora of picks from one of the ‘QB-needy’ teams. But if they fail to strike a deal with a team like the Dolphins or Chargers (sitting at picks 5 & 6 respectively), the Giants must take control and listen to offers.
Ideally the Giants could move down with either of the aforementioned teams and look to secure a haul that would not only still enable them to secure one of the more promising prospects in this year’s draft (like Simmons or Thomas) but an additional second round draft pick in return. The New York fan base would then see their team sitting in a prime position to move back into the latter stages of the first round and complement their first pick with another high-upside player.
Here the Giants could be looking to take a cornerback like CJ Henderson to play opposite last year’s late round selection in DeAndre Baker or perhaps take advantage of the steep wide receiver class. Neither direction the Giants ultimately go down could be argued as being the wrong move for the franchise.
Carolina Panthers – Pick 7
With the announcement of Luke Kuechly’s retirement still leaving a stale taste permeating the walls and confines of The Bank of America Stadium, Carolina fans understand that their rebuild, like any other, isn’t an overnight manoeuvre. How Carolina address this year’s draft though will be dependent on new head coach Matt Rhule’s perspective on Cam Newton and his long-term future with the Panthers.
If Rhule isn’t confident that Cam’s injury concerns now sit in the rear-view mirror then sitting at pick seven the Panthers are in a great position to take a quarterback like Oregon’s Justin Herbert. A somewhat mobile quarterback in college who impressed in the combine and who could reinvigorate NFL analysts’ interest in the Panthers heading into the forthcoming season.
However if the Panther’s front office aren’t sold on one of the top quarterbacks that is feasibly within their reach then moving down the draft board would guarantee them much needed extra draft capital whilst still securing them a high potential player later in the first round.
The Panthers would then be still in a great position in the middle section of the first round to pick up a ‘low-risk high-reward’ quarterback like a Jake Fromm or Jacob Eason. Both quarterbacks would be solid selections for the Panthers and would still enable them to bring in a number of talented players in the draft whilst they calculate whether they have found their future franchise quarterback.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Pick 9
With quarterback Nick Foles’ crippling contract broken down and indefinitely parked in Jacksonville for the foreseeable future, it is integral the Jaguars look to find their missing pieces through the draft rather than locking up even more cap space through the upcoming free agency period.
The early performances from quarterback Gardner Minshew that conceived the ‘Minshew-mania’ movement arguably warrants them taking a closer looking at his possible talent, a move that would not only appease fans but enable them to build other areas of the team.
Luckily for the Jaguars, even at number nine they may still be in a great position to move down, ideally only a few spots, and find themselves with two mid-first round picks (they also own pick 20, acquired from the LA Rams as part of the Jalen Ramsay trade last season) and an extra second round selection they would acquire in any trade.
This means the Jaguars could essentially have the opportunity to draft four game-changing players that would add much needed quality to a team that is desperate for additions on either side of the ball.
Ideally the Jaguars will want to replace the void left behind by Cornerback Jalen Ramsay so LSU’s Kristian Fulton, a player with the highest coverage grade in the SEC over the last two seasons (according to PFF), may find his way to Jacksonville in the role of press corner.
Upgrading the protection Minshew has in the Jaguars offensive line should also be a high-priority as they found themselves allowing more than forty sacks last season in addition to endless QB pressures. Even trading down the Jaguars would find themselves in a position to take one of this years’ exciting offensive line prospects and whether that selection is Tristen Wirfs, Mekhi Becton or Andrew Thomas, they will prove to be a valuable upgrade for them on the offensive side of the ball moving forward.