AJ Smith Open-Minded To A Trade Up

At pick 30 in the draft, there isn't that much to get excited about. Don't get me wrong, I love the whole draft process, but when you are picking at the bottom of the round, it usually means the flashy, high-profile freak athletes are off the board.

But there is value to be had at the end of round one and into round two. Just look at guys like DeMeco Ryans (Defensive Rookie of the Year), Maurice Jones-Drew (Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate), Devin Hester (Pro Bowl return man), and our own Marcus McNeil (Pro Bowl Left Tackle). All those players went in the second round, which means just about every team passed on them at least once. So there is a track record of players dropping if a team remains patient.

Of course, there is also the strategy of moving up in the first round to secure a highly coveted player, much like the Denver Broncos did last year on draft day to snag their franchise Quarterback, Jake Cutler.

So would AJ Smith consider moving up in round one? Bill and Darren of XX Sports Radio here in San Diego had a chance to chat with AJ Smith about the draft:

AJ's stance on moving up in the first round-
I’m open-minded to everything and I really mean that. I say that every year. What we try to do is: ‘Where are we listed? How many picks do we have in the draft?’ You prepare that way until something makes you move out of that, whether you are bailing out (trading down) or whether there is someone you really covet and you want to move up and give something. Let’s say Landry is dropping, and you (the fans) are having a heart attack because he’s dropping and you’re wondering if we’re going to take him. And maybe it’s just a couple of slots up. Do you be creative? Do you move up atop of 30 and say ‘You know what? We’re going to make a stab at this thing and give something up to see if we can get him, he’s dropping further than we anticipated.’

All that kind of stuff unfolds all during the two days of the draft. That’s the exciting part about it. It’s unbelievable. Only the deals that are done make it on the airwaves. The conversations that take place (amongst GMs) all the time are amazing. A lot of times they are very distracting. I’ve told guys in the league, people that I work with, ‘Don’t call me with about two minutes to go and concoct some kind of thing. We don’t have enough time; I’m just going to go with my plan. If it’s before that, I’d love to talk to you about anything.’ But so many times people call you with a minute and a half to go and want to discuss something and to me, that’s crazy.

AJ's thoughts on the Draft Value Chart that GMs use-
We have it. Everybody has it, but I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to it. It’s a vehicle for some people that have it. They may feel comfortable with it because they’ve dealt with it religiously over a twenty-year period. I know what it is, but I know with my own mind and the personnel people I deal with – we know the value and what we want to do. [Do some GMs use it like a bible?] Absolutely. It’s absolutely something they pull out, lay on the table, and execute it. I’m a whole lot more flexible, with my experience, to look at a card.

So there you have it! Count nothing out, anything can happen on draft day. Including a possible trade up for Reggie Nelson!

March 8, 2007

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