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How virtual draft format will affect possible trades


The virtual format of this year's draft will affect every facet of the selection process, none more so than the trade market. And as general manager Dave Gettleman declared at the NFL Scouting Combine, the Giants are open for business at No. 4.

His mind hasn't changed since then.

"It's something I would very seriously entertain," he said Friday.

As for the logistics, imagine the usual draft room. The decision-makers for each team are seated around a table at their headquarters, able to discuss pros and cons in real time, face-to-face, when every second counts.

This year, it will look like the opening theme of "The Brady Bunch."

Instead of Mike, Carol, Alice, Marcia, Jan, Cindy, Greg, Peter and Bobby, it will be team presidents, general managers, scouting directors, personnel directors, head coaches, position coaches, scouts, doctors and trainers. And remember, the same game of telephone must be played with your trading partner, who is over on the set of "Hollywood Squares."

This will force general managers to put deals in place before teams go on the clock, Gettleman thinks. He and director of college scouting Chris Pettit held a pre-draft conference call on Friday, less than a week before commissioner Roger Goodell turns on his webcam from his New York home with the entire world able to see.

"I'm going to make calls and anybody that wants to move up, I'm going to say, 'Listen, we don't have much time, we can't fool around, and I'd like to get the parameters of deals in place, of the deal in place before we get on the clock,'" Gettleman said. "That would be the best thing."

The NFL will hold a mock draft with all 32 clubs on Monday to work out any kinks. Draft rules allot 10 minutes per selection in Round 1, which takes place Thursday night. Round 2 is seven minutes; Rounds 3-6 allow five minutes per selection; and Round 7 is a four-minute rapid fire.

"That'll be an interesting thing to see how it works," Gettleman said. "Again, the biggest piece is making sure that we, meaning the Giants, are coordinated in how we're going to approach the trade process. We'll have two veteran guys (assistant general manager Kevin Abrams and assistant director of player personnel Tim McDonnell) on it, so I think we'll be fine. Obviously once you hit the third round, you only have five minutes. It's going to be tight to try to do that, to try to trade back or trade up.

"I think what's going to happen, what this is going to force everybody to do, is do deals before their pick is up. So let's say for the sake of discussion, someone calls, one team calls another team and says, 'I want to trade up.' They'll make a deal off the clock and then if the guy is there for the team that wants to move up, then they'll consummate the trade. So I think a lot of it's going to be done ahead of time."

Check out the best photos from behind the scenes at the NFL Combine.

Even in normal settings, a cheat sheet can be needed with those time constraints. Jimmy Johnson famously created a value chart for trading draft picks in the early '90s when he was head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. The new inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame assigned a numerical value to each pick to balance out trades.

For example, oh let's just pick a random spot in the order, the fourth overall pick in the draft (1,800 points) is worth the same as the 10th pick in the first round (1,300 points) plus the eighth pick in the second round (500 points). 

Gettleman, meanwhile, has never traded down as a general manager (he has moved up). This will be his third draft with the Giants in the lead role after he orchestrated five drafts in Carolina before his return to Big Blue.

Whether or not that changes next week, he isn't much of a believer in the chart.

"It's one of those if you think about, if you and I walk into a dealership and buy the same car, we're going to pay two different prices," he said. "But if we feel good about it, who cares what you paid and you don't care what I paid. The Jimmy Johnson chart, people have moved off of it to a certain degree. A little bit here, a little bit there. So, when you talk to someone, it's one of those deals where you say to yourself, 'Why don't we all agree on one chart?' That might make too much sense.

"So, there's three or four different variations and what you do is, if someone calls you up and their chart doesn't match yours and they make an offer and you don't think it's a good deal, you don't do it. It's that simple. If both groups are motivated, you'll come to some kind of conclusion."

It will just have to be done virtually.

Thanks to the work of Giants staffers like vice president of information technology Justin Warren and Ty Siam and Ed Triggs from football operations, everyone has chipped in around the team to make things as smooth as possible. Now it's just a matter of tidying things up and putting a bow on the 2020 pre-draft process.

"Really, everything is going to be done and treated the same way that we've done it our last two drafts together," Pettit said. "Really nothing is different, just we're not in the same room. We've kind of gone over some scenarios already, we're going to be set up in different [video] rooms and we'll be able to have the same conversations we've had every year in the past just that we're doing it from our homes, that's the only thing different. But everyone's going to have the same voice that they've always had.

"It's been a good process. We've taken some steps, especially this last week, honing it to getting it right to where we feel comfortable to make the right decision in the same way we would if we were sitting in our office in East Rutherford."


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