Moving Around in the Second
Last week, I looked at how reasonable it might be for the Bears to pick up a second pick in the first round. There are some reasons tied into the CBA that make that particular scenario uniquely valuable. However, this is a draft that is rich in defensive backs and tight ends, both positions that Chicago could stand to see some improvement. How reasonable is it that Ryan Pace could take advantage of that depth and pick up an extra second-round pick without giving up #3?
The answer is “not very,” and it comes down to how valuable second-round picks are.
A strong choice for this trade might be Miami. They don’t have a 3rd round pick until after the compensatory selections kick in, so they might be willing to move back from #54 in exchange for the Bears’ #67. Unfortunately, the Bears would have to pay a steep price. To move ahead those 13 spots, they would likely have to throw in #111 (the higher of the two fourth-rounders) and #147 (the fifth-rounder). Giving up three picks to gain one is not very appealing.
A better option might be aiming for the Texans’ #57. This would still probably cost three picks, but those picks would be a little less valuable—in addition to #67, the Bears would still have to send #111, but the third pick in this case would be #221 (sixth- and seventh-round draft picks are sort of like loose change, but there is no take-a-penny/leave-a-penny jar in the NFL).
One interesting possibility presents itself with the Cleveland Browns. Because Cleveland has so may picks, they have the freedom to maneuver, and they could actually have an advantage from trading with Chicago. If (right after they pick at #33) the Browns wanted #36 as well for some reason, they could give the Bears #52 and #65 in exchange for #36, #111, and #147. This would technically allow the Bears two selections in the second round, but at the cost of their original (better) second-round pick and their “flexibility” later in the draft. It’s unclear if the Browns would want to do this, but they have the draft wealth they need to make just about any move possible.
This gets to a key point regarding draft trades. The reason acquiring an extra second-round pick is so difficult to make work is that second-round picks (where a lot of the value is found) are worth so much more than later picks. Chicago’s second-round pick is worth 540 points. The rest of its draft from that point on (a third, two fourths, a fifth, and a seventh) fall shy of 424 points.
Imagine that Pace did it the other way and decided to work a trade with some team that was well-represented later on. If Kansas City wanted to move up badly enough to #36, the price tag might be as high as their own second (#59), their third (#91), their compensatory third (#104), and the sixth-round pick they lost for tampering (though their compensatory pick would be close).
That last deal probably shows how much of the Bears’ own draft value is tied up in just their first two picks. It’s the reason so many fans hope that their GM finds a way to trade down in the first round and still somehow find the talent that other GMs will overlook. Let’s home Pace uses his resources well, one way or another, as he is staking so much on this one aspect of team building.