Dave Gettleman said Thursday that he has never traded back in eight NFL drafts because he refuses to get “fleeced.”
“You guys don’t believe me: I’ve tried in the past!” Gettleman said with a laugh. “Honest. I’ve tried to trade back, but there’s gotta be value. I’m not getting fleeced. I refuse to do it. And if somebody wants to make a bad trade back, God bless ‘em.”
Gettleman’s track record, though, reflects an ultra-conservative career scout turned GM who simply trusts his evaluations over any draft chart.
Gettleman has never traded down despite making 54 picks across eight NFL drafts from 2013 through 2020 — five while running the Carolina Panthers and three with the Giants.
He didn’t even take a phone call when the Giants were on the clock with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, when he turned in the card for Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.
The Giants franchise, in fact, hasn’t traded back once in 14 straight drafts, including former GM Jerry Reese’s 11-year tenure, which included two Super Bowl rings.
The last time the Giants traded down was 2006, when Ernie Accorsi sent his No. 25 overall pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for No. 32 overall and third-and-fourth round picks.
The Steelers took wideout Santonio Holmes. The Giants got defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka, linebacker Gerris Wilkinson and tackle Guy Whimper.
So why could this year be different?
Well, Gettleman acknowledged the Giants’ No. 11 overall pick could be a more valuable asset than it has been in past years due to the demand for quarterbacks, both ahead of them and also possibly when their pick arrives.
“It’s possible, yes,” the GM said. “The more quarterbacks that go, the more players it pushes to us. It’s obviously helpful. Frankly I’d like to see 10 quarterbacks go in front of us. But the more quarterbacks that go, the better it is for us.”
The other reason a trade back is possible is the involvement of head coach Joe Judge in the Giants’ draft process.
Judge comes from the New England Patriots, where Bill Belichick routinely trades out of picks to move down the board when his preferred players get selected ahead of him.
The philosophy, espoused by the Baltimore Ravens, Patriots and other franchises, is to seek value and volume. It involves acquiring more picks to take more swings at the plate, because these franchises accept the inherent luck and risk involved with every draft selection.
The Giants made 10 picks last year in Judge’s first draft and didn’t make a single trade. The Giants only hold six picks in this year’s seven-round draft, so they should be on the lookout for opportunities to add more selections if the situation calls for it.
Depending on how the board falls, the Giants could have four or five players they like at No. 11 that could rationalize a slide back, perhaps to No. 15 with the Patriots, where they could still land one of their guys.
Gettleman oddly said he’s “very comfortable with the six picks” he holds at the moment, although that is tied for second-least in this draft with four other clubs. But he left the door open a crack to the possibility of adding more.
“I’m fine with the number of picks we have in this draft going in,” Gettleman said. “You don’t know what’s gonna happen. I’m fine with the six and it’s OK with me.”
The Giants GM wanted to set the record straight, though, that he’s not averse to making a deal. It’s just that when he’s tried, it’s never worked out.
“We’ve had opportunities, I’ve tried, and what you have to understand is sometimes you have a trade, and the guy the team is trading up for gets picked in front of you,” Gettleman said. “We’ve had that happen to us. ‘We got a trade, we got a trade,’ and so and so selects, ‘No trade, Dave, goodbye,’ and they hang the phone up on me. So that happens, too.
“It’s almost becoming [an] urban myth,” the GM lamented with a laugh. “I’ve tried. I really have.”
It is no myth that Gettleman has never traded down, though. It is a fact.
And while the circumstances seem ripe for a possible trade down to acquire assets and still get a good player, many in the NFL are going to have to see Gettleman do it before they believe he ever will.