Why the Saints Should TRADE DOWN in the NFL Draft


Mock Draft season is in full swing, and that means the NFL Scouting Combine, more mock drafts, college pro days, even more mock drafts, then the actual 2016 NFL Draft itself are right around the corner.

Every mock draft posted is assuming they know which guy the Saints need to grab in the first round.

CBS Sports.com, NFL.com, Fox Sports, NOLA.com, Bleacher Report, our friends over at Who Dat Dish, and even our editor Barry Hirstius here at Big Easy Believer (who’s done more ‘Saints 2016 Mock Drafts’ so far than anyone), all think they know what the Saints will do at #12.

They all think they have the “perfect player” that somehow magically and mysteriously can put the Saints back on the road to the NFL Playoffs.

Good luck with that.

Looking at the team’s needs, the available players, and the draft position of picking at the #12 spot; I have come to one simple conclusion.

When the Saints are on the clock and Roger Goodell steps up to the podium I am hoping to hear one thing and one thing only:

“With the 12th Overall Pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints…..are trading down for more picks.”

Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addresses the crowd in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Now I know that won’t make a lot of people, particularly Saints fans, happy. They think the team needs help on defense right now. They are right to say that — because the Saints DO need help on defense right now.

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They also think that there are going to be some prime defensive players on the board at the 12 spot. They’re right actually, because this year’s draft class is deep with talent on the defensive side of the ball.

There is one other thing you have to account for, though.

As they say in the real estate game: the three most important things are “location, location, and location”. Looking at this draft, it’s clear the 12th overall pick is one ‘prime’ location.

When you look at the teams drafting behind the Saints, it’s clear that a lot of them have the same need: quarterback.

The Philadelphia Eagles are drafting 13th and they absolutely have to get a QB. The Rams at #15 overall, are in the same boat. The Jets at #20 and the Texans at #22, also need help at the QB position.

Most analysts are giving three or four quarterbacks a first round grade, and the Browns and 49ers both need a QB and are drafting in the Top 10.

Nov 7, 2015; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Tigers quarterback Paxton Lynch (12) warms up before the game against the Navy Midshipmen at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

If all goes according to plan, this means that there will be one really good QB left when the Saints are on the board; and if the Rams, Jets, or Texans wants to get him away from the Eagles, they will have to make a deal with the Saints. The Eagles may even bid on the pick to block another team.

The Saints could trade down to #13, #15, #20 or #22 and get an extra pick or two in the process.

If you just go by values on a draft trade chart dropping from 12 to 13 is worth about 50 points, or a late 4th rounder. Dropping from 12th to 15th is worth 150 points, a late third round value.

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Dropping from 12th to 20th is worth 350 points, equivalent to a late 2nd round pick. Dropping to 22nd overall is worth 420 points, a mid 2nd round pick value.

To put that in perspective, former starting left tackle Jermon Bushrod was a late 4th rounder, Terron Armstead and Jimmy Graham both went in the third round, and Hau’oli Kikaha was a second rounder.

Any of those straight up value-for-value deals would help a Saints team that needs both quality and quantity in new talent.

That is before taking into account that teams tend to overpay for quarterbacks in the draft. If a bidding war erupts between teams jockeying to jump ahead of the Eagles to grab a QB, the price to move up could quickly turn into a pair of second round picks or another first rounder.

Of course the Saints could miss out on a player this way, as well. You have to factor that into the equation. But there is so much defensive talent available in this draft, that they should still get an “impact player” in the first round and add one more on top of that.

Oct 24, 2015; Louisville, KY, USA; Boston College Eagles quarterback Jeff Smith (5) scrambles away from Louisville Cardinals defensive end Sheldon Rankins (98) during the second half at Papa John

Saints fans learned the hard way back in 2012 after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell shafted the team with his fake Bountygate investigation, that these higher draft picks definitely matter.

Next: Saints Perfect Free Agent 'Fits' at Every Position of Need

Taking a chance to get an extra one could give the Saints an opportunity to grab an additional “impact player”.

A lot can happen between now and draft day, but if the phone is ringing when the Saints go on the board, they should get ready to make a deal…..