Sunday, February 22, 2009

Will Thompson Trade Down With the 9th Pick?

McGinn has a review of the draft class up on JS Online (sub req'd).  McGinn ranks them in three groups. 

(1) No chance the player slips to the Packers: Michael Crabtree, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Curry.

(2) Only a 50% chance the player slips to the Packers: Andre Smith, Eugene Monroe.

(3) Everyone else: the next 39 players.

Now, I have no idea is McGinn has it right, but it sounds about right. Every year there is a "break" in the draft that seperates the future franchise players from everyone else. (This doesn't mean that franchise players can't be found later in the draft.  Obviously they can.   But it often takes some very good luck to land them.)  The break is usually somewhere between pick 4 and 10.

The Packers got caught right after that break in 2006 when the Packers drafted Hawk.  It wasn't that Hawk was a bad pick.  If you look at the picks after Hawk, Hawk was about as good a pick as Thompson could have made in that position.  Nevertheless, I don't think that anyone really thought at the time that Hawk had a snowballs chance of becoming  a legit franchise player. 

Thompson takes a lot of heat for trading down.  Both from fans and the local media.  But one of Thompson biggest draft screw ups was not trading down in 2006.  Unquestionably.

If Thompson is faced with the same situation this year, I hope he has the grapefruits to trade down.   Some (read: a lot) of fans will be enraged.  He will be mocked by the snarksmiths in the media.  But tough nuggets.  He's a big boy and he has to do the right thing even if he takes heat for it.


  1. Interesting points, and it makes a lot of sense. However, I hope he keeps the pick.

  2. I don't think draft position determines whether or not a player is a franchise player. Using your 2006 example, I don't know that either Reggie Bush or Vince Young have given the Saints and the Titans more than Hawk has given the Packers. The Texans' pick of Mario Williams is looking pretty good though.

    What high draft position does is raise expectations and cost. If you have a pick in the top 5, the consequences of blowing it can be large, as you'll be spending a lot of money on a stiff. See Mandarich, Tony; see also Leaf, Ryan. As a result, I think most GMs would trade down if they could get sufficient value from the pick.

    Of course, to do that, there must be a GM out there wanting to trade up, and willing to give up the value that you seek. After all, you're not going to trade a #5 pick for a #17 pick straight up. But how much more is the guy with #17 willing to give up?