Trilly's NFL Draft Manifesto Vol. 2: Day One of the Draft

Check out Vol 1: "Establishing our Draft Capital"

Vol 2: Day One of the Draft 

Recent history tells us that if you're an expansion team, your first pick is your Face of the Franchise Quarterback. 2002 saw the Houston Texans select David Carr. 1999 saw the Cleveland Browns select Tim Couch. And both of those teams saw those guys fail for reasons that weren't entirely their fault. They had horrible offensive lines that nurtured bad habits which ended up hindering their growth. And if an expansion team was dropped into 2020, they would be expected to draft Joe Burrow right? Not this one. And it has nothing to do with Burrow. My primary objective isn't to find the face of the franchise. It's to make the playoffs within five seasons. With that said, I'm passing on Joe Burrow and selling the pick to the highest bidder.

It's nothing against Burrow. I could draft him now and have him be awesome for a terrible team. Then it's time to pay him before we have any pieces around him. I'm going the other way. I wouldn't draft my quarterback for at least two seasons. There will be another guy because there is always another guy. The Browns recently passed on Carson Wentz (2016) and Deshaun Watson (2017) to build a team first, and then draft their guy Baker Mayfield (2018). Kyler was supposed to be an Oakland Athletic before rising to the top of the 2019 draft. Tua was supposed to be the guy this year until Burrow came along. Trevor Lawrence is the guy for next year...until somebody else comes along and he has some competition. Going back even further, Lamar Jackson was the fifth quarterback taken in 2018. Watson and Patrick Mahomes saw Mitch Trubisky go ahead of them in the 2017 draft. We haven't had a dud QB year since the first round of the 2015 draft (Jameis vs. Mariota). I'm trying to build out the rest of my team until I find the next guy, as to not put him into a terrible situation. Because there will be the next guy.

Until then, I'm trading out of the top spot. Someone will want to take who they think is that guy and I'm happy to let them. I trade back using the following recent trades as inspiration:

2018

The team announced Saturday it acquired the No. 3 overall pick of the draft in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts. The Jets are sending their sixth, 37th and 49th overall selections in this year's draft and their second-rounder in 2019 to Indianapolis.

Per our Draft chart, the Colts traded 2200 DV points for 2540 (1600 + 530 + 410) DV points...and then the Jets threw in their second-rounder the next season just to make sure. Ultimately, the Colts got Quenton Nelson (2x First-Team All-Pro), Braden Smith (2018 PFWA All-Rookie Team), and Rock Ya-Sin (2019 PFF All-Rookie Team). The Jets got Sam Darnold (sees ghosts).

2017

To move up to the second spot, the Bears had to give the 49ers the No. 3 overall pick, a third-round pick (67th overall) and a fourth-round pick (111th overall) in the 2017 draft plus a third-round pick in the 2018 draft.  

The Bears sent 2600 DV points to the 49ers for 2529 (2200 + 255 + 74) DV points plus the 2018 third-rounder. That 67th pick became Alvin Kamara. The 111th pick was the selection right before Eddie Jackson. The 2018 third-rounder was the pick that became Fred Warner. Warner won NFC Defensive Player of the Week, NFC Defensive Player of the Month, and got six All-Pro votes this past season. He's 23 and will make $1.7 million dollars combined the next two seasons for San Francisco. The Bears got Mitchell Trubisky. That's the kind of value you can find in one trade if you play your cards right.

2016

The Eagles acquired the No. 2 overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft in a trade with the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday, the Eagles announced. The Browns will receive Philadelphia's No. 8 overall pick, a third- and fourth-round selection in this draft, next year's first-round pick and a second-round pick in 2018. The Eagles also got a conditional fifth-round pick (a compensatory fourth-rounder, if available) from the Browns next season.

The Browns traded 2600 DV points for 1716 (1400 + 230 + 86) DV points, but also added the 12th overall pick in the 2017 draft and a second-rounder in 2018. They flipped the 2017 pick for multiple first-rounders: One in the 2017 draft (Jabrill Peppers, played some centerfielder for them before being traded for Odell Beckham Jr) and 2018 draft (Denzel Ward- 2018 PFWA All-Rookie Team, 2018 Pro Bowl). 

The ideal is to overload your team with draft capital. Drafting the right players? Well, that's the scouting department's job. My job is to find and create value: present and future.

How far do I trade back? Ideally, I go from the first overall pick to between the sixth-tenth pick in the draft. I trade back no lower than 12 because there's consistently a run of good talent around there:

2019: Josh Allen, Ed Oliver, Devin Bush, Jonah Williams, Darnell Savage

2018: Roquan Smith, Mike McGlinchey, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Tremaine Edmunds, Derwin James, Leighton Vander Esch

2017: Jamal Adams, Christian McCaffrey, Patrick Mahomes, Marshon Lattimore, Deshaun Watson, Marlon Humphrey

We're just looking to see who drops because someone traded up for Trubisky or Josh Rosen. Depending on how the board falls, you may even trade back twice but I wouldn't get too cute. No lower than around the 12th pick, whether it takes me one trade back or three. In this draft, maybe you send #1 (3000 DV points) to the Dolphins for 5, 18, 26 (3300 =1700 + 900 + 700 DV points). They pay a little premium for getting a sure thing in Burrow…or so they hope. I'd tell them to keep the #18 pick and try to get that 2021 Texans first-rounder they have from the Tunsil trade, but I'd "settle" for the 18th pick.

By trading back the first two or three seasons, I'm acquiring enough capital to provide elsewhere. Or to trade up for my quarterback when the rest of my team is ready. For year one of my expansion team, I target the best prospect on the lines (OL/DL) and the best secondary (CB/S) prospects. Say I do the trade above with Miami and trade 1 for 5, 18 and 26, I do the following:

#5- Best OT available. I like Jeffrey Okudah, Tristan Wirfs, or Derrick Brown here. Jedrick Willis or Andrew Thomas are also possibilities if Wirfs is already gone.

#18- I'm still looking for the best line or secondary prospect. And the more rolls of the dice, the better. In this range, I'm looking for DL (K'Lavon Chaisson/Javon Kinlaw/AJ Epenesa), OL (Mekhi Beckton/Josh Jones), or DB (Xavier McKinney/CJ Henderson).

#26- Open to trading down but I'm looking for one of the following: DL Yetur Gross-Matos, OL Austin Jackson, CB Trevon Diggs, CB AJ Terrell, or CB Kristian Fulton. 

Look at the First-Team All-Pro team and you'll see a lot of first-round picks on the lines and in the secondary:

T- Ronnie Stanley (Round 1- Pick 6), Ryan Ramczyk (1-32)

G- Quenton Nelson (1-6), Zack Martin (1-16)

DL- Chandler Jones (1-21), TJ Watt (1-30), Aaron Donald (1-13), Cameron Heyward (1-31)

DB- Stephon Gilmore (1-10), Tre White (1-27), Jamal Adams (1-6), Minkah Fitzpatrick (1-11), Marcus Peters (1-18), Marlon Humphrey (1-16)

The only exceptions over 16 potential spots are Jason Kelce (center, 6th round) and Tyrann Mathieu (DB, 3rd round, and even then you knew why he fell that far. He was a first-round talent.)

As it appears, you can find good talent in the first round! Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh. But it's the elite that I'm looking to because it's the elite that I'm looking for. Teams know this and STILL running backs and tight ends went in the first round. This isn't unique to the 2019 NFL Draft either:

Nelson, Martin, Donald, and Gilmore are back. They're joined by:

DL: JJ Watt (1-11), Khalil Mack (1-5), Fletcher Cox (1-12)

DB: Kyle Fuller (1-14), Derwin James (1-17)

Again, of course, there are stars from every position taken in the first round. But if these are the picks that keep turning into superstars? I'm going to bet on those positions over ones where I know I can find value later.

These are just the positions I look for in year one. Going forward, I'm fine drafting every position in the first round…except for a couple:

Kicker/Punter: Sebastian Janikowski went in the first round of the 2000 draft, 17th pick to be exact. He made a Pro Bowl, an All-Pro team, retired with seven NFL records. He retired in the top ten for all-time field goals made. He had the same weighted approximate career value as Damien McIntosh, a tackle drafted in the third round that played for four teams in nine seasons. You can find more value for just about any position than kicker/punter in the first round. Even the really good ones should go day three, if at all.

Tight End: Tight end is another position where I trust I can find value outside of the first round. Whether historically (Sharpe/Witten), recently (Kittle/Kelce/Ertz/Gronkowski) or anecdotally (Just find a former power forward and turn him into a Pro Bowler. Easy), I trust I'll be able to get a solid tight end without using a first-round pick on one. Greg Olsen is the last TE taken in the first round to make an All-Pro team, and the recent history isn't promising. It's too early to call 2019 but 2018 (Hayden Hurst was picked 25th, Mark Andrew picked 86th) and 2017 (OJ Howard-19th, Evan Engram-23rd, David Njoku-29th while Kittle fell to the 5th round) aren't looking good for value. The 2016 draft didn't see any TE's go first round, but Austin Hooper went in the third round and he just replaced Njoku. Or worse comes to absolute worst, grab an undersized power forward and get to work. Antonio Gates. Jimmy Graham. Julius Thomas. Just none in the first round for me, thanks.

Running back/Fullback: You too Juszczyk! I've said it ad nauseam, but you won't catch me drafting a running back in the first round nor will you catch me being suckered into paying one because I drafted him in the first round a couple of years ago. For every Ezekiel Elliot (2016), Christian McCaffrey (2017) and soon to be Saquon Barkley (2018) drafted in the first round that produces immediately? I will bet on finding a Derrick Henry (2016), Alvin Kamara/Dalvin Cook (2017), or Nick Chubb (2018) from outside of the first round. 

In Volume 3, we'll get into how I'd approach Day 2 of the Draft.