In this article, I will outline five different trade scenarios that the Saints could possibly be a part of in the upcoming 2017 draft. As most everyone knows, there is a science when it comes to dealing for draft picks in the NFL draft. Each draft pick has its own pre determined point value based on where a team is selecting. To get a draft pick, the team dealing for it will have to offer an accumulation of draft picks that meet the total value of the pick they are trying to acquire.
For example, the number one overall pick in the draft has a value of 3000 points attached to it. If the Saints were to trade for the number one overall pick, they would have to offer an accumulation of picks that would add up to 3000 points. New Orleans number Eleven overall pick is worth 1,250 points. The Saints would have to give up quite a bit more to get that number one overall pick, most likely including a 2018 1st rounder in the mix as well. Not that I think that will ever happen, just providing a little perspective on what certain picks are worth.
Now, on to some realistic picks that I think the Saints would consider trading up or down for the in 2017 NFL Draft.
Scenario #1: Trading Up for Garrett
For the Saints to trade up in the draft, it would have to be for a very special player. I don't really see anyone that Micky Loomis would want to move up for other than Edge rusher Myles Garrett. One scenario I could see as a possibility is if two teams fell in love with quarterbacks and paid a kings ransom for picks one and two, leaving Myles Garrett to the Chicago Bears, who are selecting at #3 overall.
There is a unique Saints connection in that Bears front office with General Mangager Ryan Pace and I do believe Mickey Loomis would at least call Pace to see what his asking price would be for #3. The asking price would be extremely high to take a player like Garrett, but lets play around with the idea. Lets start with 2013, when the Miami dolphins pulled off a very similar move to land Dion Jordan at #3. Miami was originally slated to draft #12 in the draft. They made a trade with the Oakland Raiders, who had the #3 pick, and took DE Dion Jordan. The Dolphins gave up the #12 and #42 overall picks in the 2013 draft to acquire the #3 overall pick.
I have to believe the Bears would demand a little more from the Saints for a player as talented as Myles Garrett, but that 2013 trade is a great starting point. The Bears #3 overall pick is worth 2,200 points. The Saints #11 and #43 picks combined are worth 1,720 points combined. I believe for a trade like this to happen for a player like Garrett, the Saints would have to offer the #11, #43, #197 and a 2018 2nd rounder to get the deal done. Trade Breakdown: Bears get #11, #43, #197 in the 2017 draft and a 2018 second rounder. Saints get #3 overall pick in 2017 draft. With the Saints needing to add depth at so many positions, I don't see this happening, but it is something to keep an eye on. The personal connections are there between the Saints and Bears. There is also an absolute dire need to put a playmaker across from Cameron Jordan on the end.
Scenario #2: Passing on a Passer
Scenario #1 is the only situation in which I could see the Saints potentially moving up in this draft. The rest of the scenarios will all be trade-down possibilities. I’ve said all along that if the Saints are to trade down, one of the top 3 quarterbacks are going to have to be sitting at #11 or one of the top two running backs will have to be at #11. In this situation, Im going to outline one of the top quarterbacks being at #11 and a team trading up to solidify their quarterback situation.
If Mitch Trubisky is on the board at #11, I could see a number of teams being interested in moving up and taking him. One of those teams being the Arizona Cardinals. For starters, the cost to move up from #13 to #11 would be minimal, but could add some draft capital for the Saints and still allow them to land a top notch EDGE rusher or Cornerback at #13. The Cardinals have been said to be looking at Quarterback options early in the 2017 draft with Caron Palmer already having contemplated retirement this offseason. Trubisky could fall into a great system with Bruce Arians as Head Coach and would benefit from learning behind Palmer for a year. The Saints would also have some leverage here, assuming the Browns take Garret at #1, they’re almost certain to go QB at #12.
The Saints could use that to bait the Cardinals into overpaying to move up only two spots. My trade projection: Cardinals get #11 overall pick in 2017 draft. Saints get #13 overall pick in 2017 draft + #77 overall in the 2017 draft. The #11 pick is worth 1,250. The #13 is worth 1,150 while the #77 is worth 205 points. The Saints make out with a little better value in this trade. It's not a huge overpay for the Cardinals and they get to skip the Browns to get their guy. I see this as the most likely trade scenario of all for the Saints.
Scenario #3: Texans Replace Osweiler
I would say this is lot less likely to happen than Scenario #2 , but I'm trying to cover all my bases here, and I definitely see this as a possibility. Any team wanting a QB who falls to #11 will know they have to work a deal with the Saints because any QB who falls , would fall right into the laps of the Cleveland Browns at #12. With that being said, one team to keep an eye on is the Houston Texans.
The Texans had a horrendous year from their Quarterbacks in 2016 and its been reported that after next season, they'll be off the hook for anymore money for Osweiler and will have paid his guaranteed money out already. Ive heard they are looking at the 2017 quarterback class very closely and could fall in love with a guy enough to take him at 25 or trade up for him. If thats the case, we have to keep an eye on them as a potential partner for the Saints. I’m going to use Mitch Trubisky again in this scenario when dealing with the Texans. We already know the #11 pick is worth 1,250 points. This trade could get a little tricky which is why i think its a lot less likely. The #25 pick is worth 720 , which would leave a gap of 530 points for the Texans to make up to get to #11. In that situation, they would have to pair their second rounder, which would be worth around 400 points OR throw in their 2018 first rounder.
The reason I think this is such a less likely deal is, the Texans barely snuck in the playoffs this year so giving up their first rounder next year could mean giving up a top 15 pick. I also highly doubt they would be willing to give up their second rounder this year as well, but the point of this article is to highlight possible trades, so I’m going to go with my gut here. Trade Projection: Texans get #11 and a 2018 3rd rounder. Saints get #25 and a 2018 First rounder.
Scenario #4: Passing on Fournette
This is where we get into the Leonard Fournette talk. My number four and five scenarios will be centered around Fournette falling to #11 and two teams who seem to be looking for a running back , trading up and taking Fournette. My first team is the Baltimore Ravens. It seems to me that since Ray Rice was released, they've had more running backs than the Browns have had Quarterbacks. Every game they had a new leading rusher. They drafted Kenneth Dixon last year and I actually think he will be a productive back , but its hard for a team like Baltimore to pass on a guy like Leonard Fournette when they've went through so many running backs.
So, what would the Saints get in return for the #11 pick from the Ravens? For starters, they would get the Ravens first rounder this year which is the #16 overall pick. The #16 pick is worth 1,000 points which would leave a 200 point gap to make up for the Ravens. Thats where things get interesting. The Saints would most likely ask for the Ravens 2017 3rd rounder and possibly a 2018 5th rounder. If I'm the saints, Im getting whatever I can considering Fournette could be a once in a generation player. He's that type of talent and would demand that type of return. My trade projection: Ravens get #11 overall - Saints get #16 overall, 2017 3rd rounder, and 2018 Fifth rounder.
Scenario #5: Passing on Fournette Redux
Another team trading up for Leonard Fournette in this situation. This team will have a little more work to do and will have to get a little more creative to land that #11 pick form the Saints which would make it a more lucrative long term deal for the Saints. The Detroit Lions are an interesting team to look at in this spot. They've had tough luck the past few years with running backs and Ameer Abdullah was not the answer last year. I believe Jim Caldwell knows he has to do something to get some type of running game established and taking Leonard Fournette would do just that. Even in taking Fournette, there would still be room for Abdullah in the offense and it could form an extremely scary tandem in Detroit. The Saints could pick up some great future draft assets or even go as far as asking for Abdullah back in the trade.
I don't include players in my draft trade projections but thats something to certainly keep an eye on since the Saints are looking for RB depth in this draft. The Lions are drafting at #21, which is worth 800 points on the draft chart. Again, for a deal to get done here, the Saints would need the Lions #21 overall pick + some combination of a 2017 3rd rounder and a 2018 second rounder or something similar. If a team is willing to move up 10 spots to take a RB, the Saints have to take advantage of the opportunity and get every draft asset that they can squeeze out of them. My trade prediction: Lions get #11 and 2018 6th rounder - Saints get #21 overall , 2017 third round +2018 3rd and 5th round draft picks.
If I had to rank these scenarios in terms of which are the most likely, I would have to say Scenario #2, the trade back with the Arizona Cardinals, would be the most likely. They could love Deshaun Watson at the 11th pick and would really not have to give up the “farm” to move up from their 13th position to get it from the Saints. As we all know with draft season, anything is possible. That has never been more true than it will be this war with no clear cut #1 quarterback. Let's buckle up and enjoy the ride that is known as draft season.