Ted Thompson did what a fair number of people predicted: he traded away the Green Bay Packers’ first-round (29th overall) pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
His trading partner was GM Sashi Brown of the Cleveland Browns. The clueless Browns were busy on Thursday, taking edge rusher Myles Garrett with the top overall pick, safety Jabrill Peppers at pick 25, and tight end David Njoku with the pick given up by Green Bay.
In return, the Packers received Cleveland’s second-round and fourth-round picks. Because Cleveland was at the top of the draft list, that means the Packers get the 33rd and 108th overall picks. Unless Green Bay had its heart set on a particular player likely to be available late in round 1, it appears this is a helluva bargain for the Packers. Give Green Bay credit: trading with a team as dumb as Cleveland is almost always smart.
ESPN tracks a list of “Best Remaining Players” (BRP) that are available at any given time in the draft. When the 29th pick came up, here are some of those available who the Packers might have been interested in: ILB Reuben Foster (number 1 BRP, chosen by the 49ers at number 31), running back Dalvin Cook (4), cornerback Kevin King (6), cornerback Quincy Wilson (10) and outside linebacker T.J. Watt (15).
By dropping down four picks, the Packers lost out on some good players: tight end Njoku, linebackers Watt and Foster, and tackle Ryan Ramczyk, who were chosen at numbers 29 through 32 respectively. Of the four, however, the only one who might have gotten away – especially in the eyes of Wisconsin residents – is the Badgers’ T.J. Watt, who could develop into a top-notch edge rusher.
By having the first pick on Friday, Ted Thompson and his scouting team should have gotten a sound night’s sleep last night, as they don’t have to wonder or scheme around who might be chosen before they get to select at number 33.
So, providing they actually keep the pick, who will it be? Since I don’t claim to be a draft expert, I’m confining myself to that ESPN list of best remaining players. On that basis, the choice would seem to be between Florida running back Dalvin Cook (the number 2 BRP) and Washington cornerback Kevin King (number 4 BRP). The Packers certainly won’t select the top BRP, guard Forrest Lamp, nor numbers 3 or 5, who are tackles.
The number 6 BRP, Florida cornerback Quincy Wilson, is the only other possibility that I can foresee. However, when I compared the two in early April, I rated King as clearly superior. At 6’3” and 200 pounds, he’s big for a corner and yet he ran a 4.43 40-yard dash. He also did extremely well in NFL combine agility drills and his vertical leap of 39.5 inches is terrific. Quincy Wilson just doesn’t match up with King athletically and in particular due to his 4.54 dash time.
My conclusion in early April was that either Kevin King or Gareon Conley would still be around at pick 29, and that one of the two would be the Packers’ likely choice. Since Conley was selected by Oakland at the 24th pick – and since other cornerbacks were chosen at numbers 11, 16, 18 and 27 – if the Packers pick King, who would be the sixth cornerback taken, I believe they will get the high-quality corner they badly need.
By picking at number 33, and with the trade-down also earning Green Bay the first pick of round 4, I’m thrilled with how things appear to be turning out. I can only hope that Ted Thompson doesn’t spoil this scenario by selecting Cook. Cook is tempting, but it’s the defense, not the offense, that needs immediate help.
To whet your appetite a bit more, here’s a nice article by Sports Illustrated on Washington Huskies cornerback Kevin King.
Don’t forget losing out on the fifth year option by trading down. That can be a major sacrifice — assuming the player eventually picked is a good one. Another way of putting it is = do you want a good player for 5 years or a slightly less good player for 4 years? Even assuming the players taken at 29 or 33 are equal, the 33 selection has 20% LESS value than the 29.
I would also suggest it can be a burden. The team that wants to exercise the option must do so after the 3rd year and before the first part of May of that year. In exercising the option the team must guarantee the 5th year contract value even though the player has not played his 4th year.
A good example is the Vikings last year. The Vikings exercised the 5th year option to Rhoades ( who I wish the Vikings had not picked one pick ahead of GB), they also exercised the 5th year on Floyd. It is my understanding Floyd may not be able to play in his 5th year if ever due to injury. The Vikings are going to have to pay Floyd almost 7 million this year even if he does not play. That is a big cap hit for exercising a 5th year option.
If a team thinks a player is worth keeping for that 5th year and beyond it may be better just trying to get a contract extension done in the 4th year. At some point unless a team wants to use a franchise tag you have to sign the player after the 5th year.
I would not be disappointed if the Packers selected King. I do wonder why a team like the Seahawks would pass up King. I think the Seahawks lost the corner opposite of Sherman in the playoffs to a knee? With the way Sherman and the Seahawks have been discussing trade it just makes you think the Seahawks don’t think it would be so bad to lose out on King. They did pass up on King with the threat the Packers could draft him in the first round. I would think the Seahawks have as much info on King as any team since they are in the area code of the Huskies. Of course the Seahawks may believe O line is the real need.
Quincy Wilson could be the pick here as well. He is more physical than King, and a much more willing tackler. Everyone that watched the packers secondary last year knows they need more physicality.
I’ve got sizzle….
We should get him.