Every draft season, there are a couple of players that Packers fans and media members gravitate towards. This year for instance, there was a lot of love for Ohio linebacker Ryan Shazier, safety Deone Bucannon and wide receiver Jordan Matthews. Last year there was a lot of hope that the Packers could land either safety Kenny Vaccaro or Giovanni Bernard (mostly drummed up by our own Marquise Eversoll). Some fans will always claim that the Packers should have traded up to grab the player of their eye, but in reality, trading up in the early rounds is prohibitively expensive and more importantly, it’s not like Ted Thompson actually knows which teams are going to draft which players; Thompson might have a pretty reasonable and logical guess but I don’t think anyone would have predicted the Eagles drafting Marcus Smith with the 26th pick this year for instance. This of course snowballs and makes it harder and harder to predict picks as more players come off the board in unexpected ways.
But what if he did? Let’s play a hypothetical game where we find out that Ted Thompson has acquired a football crystal ball and knows exactly which teams are going to pick which players before it happens. In this scenario of perfect clarity, Thompson knows exactly how much it would take to nab the player he covets the most, how much would it take for the Packers to get the player you want? Let’s set some ground rules:
- For the sake of argument lets limit the game to the first 3 rounds
- Let’s assume that Thompson would have to “steal” the selection, meaning he would have to hop in front of the team who ultimately selects the player Thompson wants; for instance Eric Ebron was selected with the 10th overall pick, but Thompson would have to trade to the 9th overall spot in order to draft Ebron.
- Let’s also assume that the Packers trading partner would be happy with a relatively fair deal, while they obviously aren’t going to take less that true value, they also aren’t unrealistically asking for 3 first round picks like the Texans purportedly were for the 1st overall pick.
- Let’s assume that the higher the draft pick, the more the other team is going to want before accepting the trade; there might be only a couple of players that a certain team wants in the 1st round, but probably many in the 7th, hence the difference in value needed to make a trade in the 1st round will naturally be higher as well.
- Compensatory picks cannot be traded and therefore have no value; hence Richard Rodgers and Jared Abbrederis are locks to make the team.
- I will be using the Jimmy Johnson trade value chart as a reference, this metric has come under scrutiny recently as not being very accurate (I’ve written about my own misgivings about the trade chart), nevertheless it’s a easy and well established guide that can give a rough estimate of the value of specific picks.
Pick 10: Eric Ebron (draft value: 1350)
- The deal: pick 21 (draft value: 800), pick 53 (draft value: 370), pick 85 (draft value: 165), pick 121 (draft value: 52), pick 161 (draft value 27) = total value: 1414
- The trade: Eric Ebron for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Davante Adams, Khyri Thorton, Carl Bradford and Corey Linsley
- The verdict: This is a terrible trade, no matter how good Eric Ebron ultimately ends up; tight end isn’t a vital position of importance in the NFL and the Packers can make up for the loss of a good tight end somewhat with good wide receivers (which they have). Trading essentially all the picks from round 1 to round 5 just to select one player is a pretty foolhardy proposition, especially when it includes losing one presumed starting safety, maybe the starting center and likely a rotational wide receiver. Simply put there’s just no way for a team that picks late in the draft like the Packers to really move up to the top 10 without decimating their draft.
Pick 15: Ryan Shazier (draft value: 1100)
- The deal: pick 21 (draft value: 800), pick 53 (draft value: 370), pick 161 (draft value: 27) = total value: 1197
- The trade: Ryan Shazier for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Davante Adams and Corey Linsley
- The verdict: Moving up from 21 to 15 is a lot less insane than moving up to 10; but you still run into the same sort of problems, just less severe. Again the Packers likely lose the 3 players most likely to make an impact early in their careers, namely their starting safety, probable starting center and major role player in Adams. Presumably Shazier wouldn’t play outside linebacker for the Packers and it’s questionable whether or not it’s really worth a mid round draft pick to pick a inside linebacker, which again isn’t the most important positions in a 3-4 defense (see AJ Hawk and Brad Jones). The falloff between AJ Hawk/Brad Jones to Shazier is a lot less steep than from Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to “empty spot on the field” so ultimately this is still a poor trade.
Pick 17: CJ Mosley (draft value: 1000)
- The deal: pick 21 (draft value: 800), pick 85 (draft value: 165), pick 121 (draft value: 52), pick 161 (draft value: 27) = total value: 1044
- The trade: CJ Mosely for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Khyri Thorton, Carl Bradford and Corey Linsley
- The verdict: The Packers manage to keep their 2nd and 4th round picks with this trade, but still lose out on Clinton-Dix and Linsley. Again arguably inside linebacker is not as important to a 3-4 defense as it’s safeties and again the difference between production from the inside linebackers and safeties still favors keeping the Packers original picks. Keep in mind the Packers did select another inside linebacker in Carl Bradford so the question becomes is CJ Mosely worth a starting safety, a likely starting center and an inside linebacker? Mosely comes in with the same concerns of injuries and hype playing on a Alabama defense like Clinton Dix, but I would personally stay put.
Pick 38: Austin Seferian-Jenkins (draft value: 530)
- The deal: pick 53 (draft value: 370), pick 85 (draft value: 165), pick 236 (draft value: 2) = total value: 537
- The trade: Austin Seferian-Jenkins for Davante Adams, Khyri Thorton and Jeff Janis
- The verdict: This is perhaps the first trade that makes some rational sense. In this situation, the Packers choose to take a receiving tight end instead of a wide receiver but also lose a defensive lineman and another wide receiver. Considering that the Packers take Jared Abbrederis in the 5th round, this actually makes some sense. the defensive line has a lot of options with the signing of Letroy Guion, Julius Peppers, the recovery of Jerel Worthy, and the potential resignings of Johnny Jolly and/or Ryan Pickett. Personally I would have taken this pick as Davante Adams likely starts out as the 4th wide receiver at best but Seferian-Jenkins likely becomes the starting tight end.
Pick 42: Jordan Matthews (draft value: 490)
- The deal: pick 53 (draft value: 370), pick 85 (draft value: 165) = total value: 535
- The trade: Jordan Matthews for Davante Adams and Khyri Thorton
- The verdict: This trade mostly revolves around Khyri Thorton, which is the pick that most fans disagree about this year from the sounds of our comments. As mentioned before, the Packers have a lot of options on the defensive line and losing Thorton probably wouldn’t be that bad and in return you get one of the better wide receivers in the 2014 draft. Of course, Davante Adams is also one of the better wide receivers in the 2014 draft so is Matthews better than Adams by the value of Thorton?Again personally I would take this trade.
Pick 65: CJ Fiedorowicz (draft value: 270)
- The deal: pick 85 (draft value 165), pick 121 (draft value: 52), pick 161 (draft value: 27), pick 197 (draft value: 12.6), pick 236 (draft value: 2) = total value: 258.6
- The trade: CJ Fiedorowicz for Khyri Thorton, Carl Bradford, Corey Linsley, Demetri Goodson and Jeff Janis
- The verdict: the Packers simply aren’t in much of a position to move that far up, basically trading all their picks from the 3-7th round to move up, and even then then the Seahawks aren’t getting equal value. In this case, the Packers likely have a better shot of trading directly with the Texans as the Seahawks don’t need the volume of picks. However, keep in mind that this is the 1st pick of the 3rd day, which likely holds higher value than normal since every team gets the night to re-evaluate their boards and they also can spend the entire night trying to make a deal (or holding out for a better one). Personally, I don’t think the Packers have the ammunition to pull of this trade at this point.
Pick 77: Chris Borland (draft value: 205)
- The deal: pick 85 (draft value: 165), pick 121 (draft value: 52) = total value: 217
- The deal: Chris Borland for Khyri Thorton and Carl Bradford.
- The verdict: Again this trade hinges on Khyri Thorton, which again makes it seem like a good trade at the moment since no one really knows all that much about Thorton (kind of like when Mike Neal was drafted). With so many Packers fans also being Wisconsin fans, I’d wager a guess that a lot of people would approve of this trade.
Of all the trades, I’d guess that trading for Austin Seferian-Jenkins or Jordan Matthews make the most sense for Thompson; neither would destroy the rest of your draft and you are in essence trading for players of similar roles, which makes the rationale behind the trade a lot more straight forward. Of course Thompson doesn’t have a crystal ball (nor does anyone else, for all you Bill Bellichick apologists) and perhaps more importantly, no one knows how these players will ultimately turn out. For all we know, Khyri Thorton might be the steal of the draft.——————
Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.