When is a first-round pick really a second-round pick? That is a question the Redskins may have to ponder when they consider trade down options when the draft gets underway 13 days from today.
As are many teams, the Redskins are open to the idea of moving back in the NFL draft to pick up some extra picks. However, they should be careful about just how far back they trade.
Albert Breer of the MMQB had an item in one of his articles where he quoted a team executive saying, “The problem is that the 22nd pick might as well be in the third round.” That was an exaggeration, said Breer, but the consensus is that “the difference between [picks] 22 and 52 is minimal.”
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As evidence, Breer cites the trade between the Jets and Colts with New York sending three second-round picks to Indianapolis to move up from No. 6 overall to No. 3. If the second round had its usual quality this year, it probably would have taken just two seconds to move up three spots. But with the picks devalued by the lack of quality, the Jets had to put in all three of their second rounders.
Assuming that this is true, the Redskins are safe where they are at No. 13. They should be able to get a quality player there and from that point is a matter of proper development and maximizing the player’s talent.
And if they are able to make a simple swap to regain the third-round pick they traded away in the Alex Smith deal, they still should be safe. Per the draft trade value chart, which is somewhat outdated but still a good guideline, the Redskins would have to move back four spots to pick No. 17 to get a fourth.
However, a simple swap is not always available. The Redskins may need to go back further in order to collect additional picks if that’s the deal that’s offered to them. And they may be cautious of moving into the twenties to make a deal. If the offer on the table is from a team further back in the first round, perhaps offering a late second-round pick to move back, the Redskins would then be moving into an area where the talent level may have declined significantly from their original pick.
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What you have to consider when analyzing all of this is that the general consensus is not necessarily the Redskins’ view. Their evaluation could say that quality players will last through the first round. Or they may have only, say, 15 players with first-round grades on their board with a sharp drop after that.
To further jumble the picture, the Redskins may see a drop in talent level later in the first round and make a deal to add picks anyway. At the Senior Bowl, Doug Williams said, “I’ve always said the draft is kind of like a crapshoot sometimes.” That would indicate a belief that adding more picks will increase the chances of having a good draft simply because you have more rolls of the dice.
This is where the draft trade chart can get thrown out. In other words, if the Redskins trade back and the trade works out on the chart they may have been fleeced. If it looks like they got a good haul, perhaps they just got equal value.