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2020 NFL Draft: Three trade-up scenarios for the Packers

Trading up can be expensive, but here are three ways the Packers could make it happen

NFL: FEB 27 Scouting Combine Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Brian Gutekunst has been willing — bordering on eager — to move around the draft board during his first two weekends at the helm in the NFL Draft. We shouldn’t expect that to change this year, either; the Green Bay Packers’ general manager said in his conference call with reporters on Monday that he’s once again looking to deal, if possible.

“I think we’ll be able to be as aggressive as we need be,” he said. “It really obviously always comes down to the player, and what kind of player is required, as far as if we’re willing to try to make a move. But I like to move around. I think it’s a really good draft, and I like to move around and see if we can get to the areas of the draft that I think are strong.”

Given the Packers’ current standing in the draft, conventional wisdom would suggest they’d probably be looking to move down. After all, that’s what they did in 2008, swapping their first-round pick for an early second-rounder (and change) and picking Jordy Nelson. That trade seems to have worked out pretty well for the Packers, and Tex Western recently outlined several similar situations that could bring additional draft capital to Green Bay.

But what if they want to move up? What would that take? It’s more doable than you might think, but still potentially expensive. Here are three possible ways the Packers could move up, ranging from outlandish to realistic.

Before we look at them, I need to offer a couple of caveats. First, the point values I discuss in these trades stems from the Jimmy Johnson trade value chart, which assigns a numerical value to each pick in the draft. With their ten picks, the Packers currently hold 1,115.2 points worth of trade capital.

This chart is widely considered outdated and Rich Hill of Pats’ Pulpit offers what could be a better model. On top of that, many teams ignore both entirely, using their own value system to weigh trades. Nevertheless, the Johnson model is so ubiquitous that it’s still the best shorthand we’ve got for weighing incoming and outgoing assets in a trade.

Second, I’m limiting the tradeable assets to this year’s draft picks; I won’t dip into next year’s supply or swap players as part of a package. Lane Taylor is considered eminently tradeable, but his value is anybody’s guess. And theoretically, yes, the Packers could mortgage everything for the next couple of years and go up and get Chase Young or whoever else trips your trigger in the top five, but I’m trying to keep things at least somewhat grounded in reality.

Scenario 1: Gutekunst goes as high as he can

Now that we’ve said we’re trying to be realistic, let’s be as unrealistic as we can be. Like I said up top, the Packers hold 1,115.2 points worth of trade value. If they put all their eggs in one basket, that means they could move as high up as the 14th overall selection (held by the Buccaneers and worth 1,100 points) in a relatively equal exchange.

Picks 15, 16, and 17 are also in range in a similar scenario. Worth 1050, 900, and 875 points respectively, the Packers could swing a realistic trade for any one of those picks without giving up any of their selections after the fifth round.

All of these trades seem pretty unlikely, but if someone Gutekunst views as a premier player dropped, he could conceivably get a deal done. Let’s say one of the top offensive tackles was on the board when Atlanta came on the clock at 16. Here’s how that trade could look:

Packers trade: picks 30, 62, 94 (1028 points)

Packers receive: pick 16 (1000 points)

Scenario 2: Give a little, get a little

Just after the mid-teens, another potential value window opens for Gutekunst and the Packers, this one giving them a chance to get a little value back in the process.

Much like the previous scenario, this one relies on a premier player falling in the draft, giving the Packers reason to move up. If they were interested, picks 19 (Las Vegas, 875 points) and 20 (Jacksonville, 850 points) seem like natural fits.

However, the Packers’ first two picks in this year’s draft are worth a combined 904 points, so they’d need to get something back to make these trades even. For the sake of discussion, let’s say a wide receiver the Packers like is on the board at 19. Here’s how a trade could look there:

Packers trade: picks 30 and 62 (904 points)

Packers receive: picks 19 and 159 (901.6 points)

Scenario 3: A minor move-up

Brian Gutekunst has made relatively small jumps up the board in the first round each of the last two seasons, moving from 30 to 21 in 2019 and from 27 to 18 (after trading down from 14) in 2018. Jumping from 30 to somewhere in the low 20s doesn’t seem like it’s that far out of the real of possibility, and it would be fairly affordable, too.

It cost the Packers two fourth-round picks in addition to their first to move up in 2019, but since they only have one this year, they’ll probably have to offer their third-round selection to make a jump.

If they pair pick 94 with 30, they could conceivably move as high as 24 (New Orleans, 742 points). If Justin Jefferson and Denzel Mims are still on the board, making a deal with the Saints could make a lot of sense since both have been linked to the Minnesota Vikings, who pick at 25.

Packers trade: picks 30 and 94 (744 points)

Packers receive: pick 24 (740 points)