Let's open the Big Blue View Mailbag, which we haven't done in a couple of weeks, and see what questions you have as the 2015 NFL Draft draws closer.
These questions, incidentally, all were sent via e-mail. If you have questions for a future mailbag please e-mail them to email@example.com.
Question: Shaq Thompson. Are there any flags for this guy? Seems to be the hybrid type SS/LB we like to play recently and caters to this wide open NFL. Talk about answering 2 questions with one stone or card. I think 9 is high but where do you think he gets drafted and if he makes sense for the Giants? -- Bxsparks
Ed says: There are no 'flags' that we know of. Most analysts do see him as a hybrid SS/LB, as you suggested. He's a great fit for teams that play a lot of the 4-2-5 as the base defense. In other words, Perry Fewell would have loved him. Would Steve Spagnuolo? I can't answer that right now. The other thing is we really don't know if Thompson can play safety. It's a pure projection. My guess as this point is Thompson could be anything from a late-first round pick to a guy who lands in the third round. As for him landing with the Giants I would be very surprised. The 'tell,' if you will, is what the Giants have already done at linebacker this offseason. Jameel McClain and Mark Herzlich are still Giants. J.T. Thomas and Jonathan Casillas were signed, first and foremost, to compete at the WILL spot. Free agency tells us a lot about the draft, and free agency has told us the Giants don't anticipate using an early pick on an outside linebacker. A middle linebacker, maybe, but I doubt they would use a pick in the first three rounds on an outside guy.
Question: My question for you is "why is everyone so down on Randall?" He was much improved this year because McAdoo like Spagnola knows how to use a player to optimize his strengths as opposed to asking him to do things for which he is not suited. I believe he will be an important contributor this season. -- Nat Karol
Ed says: Who is 'everyone?' And is everyone really 'down' on Rueben Randle? Fact is, Randle is a frustrating NFL player. He's good at times, great at times, awful way too often and after three years in the league still irresponsible enough to land in Tom Coughlin's doghouse at times. Randle can be a huge asset to the Giants, but he can also be an underachieving pain in the backside. The mark of a real pro is consistency, and while Randle has spectacular moments and spectacular games he has yet to achieve consistent production. And, honestly, it has nothing to do with McAdoo. It has to do with the player growing up, learning how to take his job seriously, how to be a professional. If you want to say Randle wasn't suited for Kevin Gilbride's complicated passing attack I would agree with that, but that's not Gilbride's or Randle's fault. That's on Jerry Reese for bringing in a guy who played in a very simplistic passing attack in college and wasn't prepared to grasp what Gilbride was trying to teach. In the end, I think everyone -- including the Giants -- would just like Randle to be the kind of player he has hinted he can be.
Question: Last year, the Giants drafted well, signed a lot of new free agents, most of whom either missed or went down early with injuries. They also lost one more game than the previous year, although their offense seemed greatly improved.
So, if you assess all the personnel moves made by Reese and company in the 2014 offseason, how well do you think Reese did in improving the roster? Marginal improvement? Significant potential improvement (assuming injury recoveries), or just a lot of churning that didn't accomplish much?
I ask because I haven't seen anyone fully assess the entirety of the Giants offseason moves in 2014. Knowing how well Reese did would help us assess his moves in 2015. -- Jeffrey Itell
Ed says: I think it's really impossible to grade what Reese did or did not accomplish with all of his free agency moves a year ago. I said from the very beginning that it would be difficult to put all the pieces together and win with so much roster churn. My thought was the season could have gone anywhere from 11-5 to 5-11. Unfortunately, we know which end of that was the right one. The offseason overhaul didn't work. It's really impossible to say, though, that Reese failed to deliver with his free-agent signings because so many of them never actually got to play due to injuries. The season could have been much different if Geoff Schwartz, Robert Ayers, Walter Thurmond, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and other had been healthy the entire season. If Jon Beason, Odell Beckham, Victor Cruz and Prince Amukamara had played full seasons. There are things over the past few years that Reese needs to take the blame for, and fixing those mistakes is why he had to be so aggressive a year ago. But, I can't kill him for his overall work in free agency. We never had a chance to see the whole group develop. [NOTE: Jeffrey is in Vietnam, and we really appreciate the interest from all the way across the world]
Question: Ed, you have defended the Scherff pick a few times, but the pick does not make sense to me from a 'positional value' perspective. Simply put, picking a Guard at 9, however talented, is not the greatest use of your resources, and Jerry Reese's draft record would suggest he agrees with me.
Regarding the financial aspect of a Scherff pick, Raptor recently had this to say:
It doesn't make fiscal, or historic, sense to me. With the rookie salary cap, teams can add premium players at premium positions for a fraction of their cost under the old CBA or off the free agent market... The opportunity to have a franchise cornerstone player — quarterback, wide receiver, left tackle, edge rusher, cornerback — on a 5-year rookie deal is a tremendous competitive advantage for teams.
I know your job is not to be a capologist, but this is pretty hard to ignore when you have a top ten pick. I would love to hear your thoughts on positional value and and how you think that will influence the Giants in the first round of the draft. -- 'pataroons'
Ed says: Oh man, you had to make me go down this road again. Oh well, here goes nothin.' First, let's talk about what Brandon Scherff is. Who says he is a guard? Some, like Mike Mayock, see him that way. Others don't. Most analysts believe he would be just fine at right tackle, and with work on his pass protection maybe a passable left tackle one day. The Giants won two Super Bowls with David Diehl playing a passable, at best, left tackle. And that's not a recommendation that the Giants stick Scherff at left tackle. It's just an observation that you don't get a superstar at every position. We don't know what the Giants see Scherff as. Maybe they see him as a right tackle upgrade to Justin Pugh. Maybe they think that even if he ends up at guard he's worth taking because he's the best lineman in the class. Maybe they aren't interested in him at all. We'll see.
As for the cap part of the question, I will say this. Figuring out all of that makes my head hurt, and as much as I love 'Rap' he's clearly spending too much time thinking about this if he's trying to figure out the cap ramifications of the position or positions drafted. Hey 'Rap,' get a life!
I look at positional value this way. I do understand that some positions are considered to have a higher value than others, and that guard is not thought to have the same value as tackle. There is a lot of value in grabbing a guy who can come in and start from Day 1, regardless of position. Especially when that one player clearly fills a need, no matter which spot on the line he is plugged into. Is there more value in grabbing a left tackle or cornerback who might have a higher ceiling but won't play for a year?
I would agree that if you can add a franchise left tackle at No. 9 that's a great idea. Outside of quarterback I think that's a point you can argue all day long. Is there clearly a franchise left tackle in this draft class? There are a bunch of maybe's, but no one considered to be a sure thing. What if you think Scherff is the best lineman but pass on him because he isn't a left tackle and then completely swing and miss with a guy like Andrus Peat? This is stuff you can argue about all day, and it's why being a GM is way more complicated than fans think it is.