- Select (insert player here)...
- Trade with (insert team here)...
To some, it’s a lock that a team holding a top five draft pick would use that to select a top five rookie. To others, trading out of that slot if there isn’t a surefire homerun player to choose makes all the sense in the world. The really smart football people land in the middle, ever flexible, always ready to read the landscape and make a smart, decisive move based on situational awareness.
Nick Caserio, Houston Texans General Manager:
We are open for business. I think we’ve always been a little more open minded, progressively thinking, move up and down. It’s not just move to move. And I think trades specific to the draft are always driven by A - player availability, B - where are you moving, what are you moving away from, and then C - what are you getting in return in terms of assets that could potentially fill out the rest of your team?
For the sake of discussion, let’s assume Houston misses out on and/or isn’t interested in Aidan Hutchinson or Kayvon Thibodeaux and feels the best route to go is trading out of #3. The draft order is now set for the first 24 teams after last weekend’s wild card games.
2022 NFL Draft Order
3 Houston Texans
7 New York Giants (via CHI)
10 New York Jets (via SEA)
15 Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA)
16 Philadelphia Eagles (via IND)
19 Philadelphia Eagles
Obvious trade partners for the Texans on this list are the New York Giants, New York Jets, and Philadelphia Eagles, as all three teams have multiple picks in the top 24. The fine folks at OverTheCap.com have a draft slot value simulator, which we’ll consult for this exercise.
Right now, the Texans’ 2022 draft looks like this:
Round 1 - #3 - 2,443 points
Round 2 - #37 - 1,170 points
Round 3 - #68 - 862 points
Round 3 - #80 - 779 points
Round 4 - #130 - 533 points
Round 6 - #183 - 360 points
Round 6 - #202 - 310 points
Round 7 - #248 - 206 points
What If the Texans Trade the #3 Overall Pick to the Jets?
Per the simulator, the #3 pick is worth 2,443 points. A good possible trade partner might be the New York Jets, a team in desperate need of young talent that has cap space and two picks in the top ten.
If the Texans sent the #3 pick to the Jets in exchange for their #10 pick (valued at 1,833 points), that would leave a deficit of 610 points. That remainder could be enough to get the Jets’ 3rd or 4th round pick, depending on Caserio’s negotiating skills. In that scenario, Houston still has a top ten pick and gains a 3rd or 4th round pick as well. Houston could also toss in one of their later picks to sweeten the deal; say, #202, worth 310 points, giving Houston 920 points to land the Jets’ #108 and #144. The options are mind-boggling and a good indicator of why trades on draft day are so frantic.
Things get really wonky when you add players to the trade mix, as different GMs will value different players, well, differently. Maybe Houston wants the Jets to toss in Braxton Berrios, their highest rated wide receiver, per Pro Football Focus. Since Berrios isn’t a Pro Bowl caliber wideout, his value likely falls into the late rounds, maybe adding 200-300 points to the mix. Caserio is likely to devalue Berrios as he’s no Brandin Cooks, while the Jets are likely to want top point value for him since he’s their highest rated wide receiver. This is where Caserio will really earn his money. Rick Smith shined in this area. If Caserio does move out of the third overall slot, we’ll find out definitively whether he does as well.
After this theoretical trade, Houston gives up the #3 and #202 draft picks. By doing so, they gain the #10 pick, the #108 pick, and either the #144 pick or Braxton Berrios and possibly a later pick, perhaps the Jets’ 3rd or 4th rounder from 2023.
With the Jets’ slim roster pickings, Caserio would be better served landing another pick instead of Berrios; however, you get the idea of just what’s possible here.
While Hutchinson or Thibodeaux is a no-brainer to pick at #3 if either is on the board, should those two go to the Lions and Glitter Kitties, it looks like trading back will create the best opportunity to improve the team for Caserio. Now all he’ll have to do is navigate all these teams’ values, calculate all these draft slot points, and turn the card in to the NFL Commissioner in under fifteen minutes.