It is time for the latest edition of our 'BIg BLue View Mailbag.' Let's see what is on the mind of readers -- and twitter followers -- this week.
Q: You answered a previous question that players cannot professionally meet our new OC until OTAs begin but what about new Free Agents. Is there anything in the CBA that allows the new players to start learning the schemes of their new teams? Man, this is going to be an interesting season. We have a new OC greeting old faces and so many new defensive players meeting our old DC. -- CTBIGBLUE
A: No. New players don't get any exemption to get the playbook early or start holding formal meetings with the coaching staff before the official beginning of OTAs.
Q: The Giants have addressed many needs through free agency. Still, there are glaring holes, Do you think the Giants have specific players that they intend to draft, and do you think that has influenced their strategy in these early stages of free agency? -- Pataroons
A: I think free agency and the draft ALWAYS go hand-in-hand, that isn't specific to this year. Giants' GM Jerry Reese always says that he likes to use free agency to fill needs and the draft to acquire as much talent as possible. I think it's been pretty clear during free agency that the Giants don't like what is available on the free-agent tight end and receiver market, and they probably do like what is there in the draft.
The Giants will approach each round with a list of players they would be happy to select in that spot, or players that they are 'targeting,' if you will. Reese will never admit it, but draft boards are always impacted in some way by what you think your needs are. Plans are also impacted by what other teams do. No way Prince Amukamara was on the list of players the Giants thought they would get to choose from back in 2011.
As each round approaches the Giants will have a pretty good idea what players might be available to them, and they will know which players they have graded as being appropriate picks there.
A: My rank at this point would be 1) Offensive weapon 2) Defensive line 3) Offensive line.
I think the Giants have done enough in free agency that we at least know what the line is likely to look like, and I think we can feel better about it than what they tried to protect Eli Manning with in 2013. What they have not done is added any weapons at tight end or wide receiver for Manning. They have also lost Linval Joseph and Justin Tuck along the defensive line, and they have to re-stock.
As for players I like put me down as a guy who would be in favor of grabbing North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron or Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans in the first round. There are several quality guards and centers available in the middle of the draft, and the guy who intrigues me is Colorado State center Weston Richburg. When Gil Brandt compares the guy to Cleveland Browns' Pro Bowler Alex Mack I pay attention.
A: Not at all. Someone always takes a risk on talent, questionable character or not. The Giants have been no exception, taking chances on lots of guys with troubled backgrounds -- Will Hill and Ahmad Bradshaw come to mind. The difference is the Giants usually take those chances with late-round picks or undrafted free agents. Whether or not they would take that type of risk in the first round remains to be seen. It's also debatable how much of a character risk Lewan is. We might not know how the Giants answer this question until May 8, the day the draft begins.