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Mailbag: Victor Cruz, Sheldon Richardson, NFL Draft

Let’s open up the Big Blue View mailbag

NFL: Preseason-Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets
Sheldon Richardson
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

We are counting the days until the 2017 NFL Draft. With that in mind, let’s open up our final pre-draft Big Blue View mailbag and see what New York Giants fans are wondering about.

Ed says: I’d say really, really, really slim to none. Probably closer to none. I’ll be shocked if that happens. The Giants made no real effort to keep Cruz. They drafted Sterling Shepard a year ago to replace him in the slot. They signed Brandon Marshall as an upgrade to him on the outside. Cruz can’t play special teams, which backup wide receivers need to do. If Cruz continues his NFL career, it is almost certainly going to have to be somewhere else.

David Brenner asks (via e-mail): Jerry's draft success seems to have improved over last few years. In my view, that's at least partially due to refraining from taking guys from smaller or non-major schools, especially in later rounds. Seems a number of his "busts" before that were guys like Jerrell Jernigan, Adrian Tracy, of W&M, the offensive lineman (Eric somebody) from Ohio Univ., etc. He's stayed with the bigger football programs, even in the later rounds; e.g. Devon Kennard from USC, and that's worked out much better for the Gmen. That's why I think Jerry will steer away from small school wonders this year as well -- such as the TEs from Ashland and S. Alabama, the OL from Bucknell, etc. Do you agree?

Ed says: I really don’t. First of all, you can’t call any player selected on Day 3 a “bust.” That’s not fair, or correct. The percentage of those players who make it in the NFL and have long, successful careers is much smaller than the guys selected in the first three rounds. When you hit with one of those late-round guys, that’s a “find.” The odds are against them from the start, so you can’t call them “busts” if they don’t make it.

What the Giants have seemed to do in recent years is take less risk on guys who were “athletes” and hoped to turn them into players. I don’t think it has anything to do with the school they are from. If the Giants really like a small-school guy like Adam Shaheen of Ashland, they won’t shy away from him. BTW, “Eric somebody” is Eric Herman, seventh-round pick in 2013.

Warren Schuman asks (via e-mail): I'm not distraught about Hankins leaving but Reese's draft history would make you think he places a very high value on DTs ... Joseph round 2, Austin round 2, Hankins round 2, Bromley round 3.

Yet he's let 3 good-to-very-good DTs walk in free agency during his GM tenure ... Cofield, Joseph and now Hankins. Why invest high value draft slots if you don’t want to invest over the long term?

Ed says: This is all about economics, the salary cap and positional value. You simply can’t pay everybody as much as they would like to earn. The Giants reportedly made Hankins a very fair offer (four years, $28 million). The Indianapolis Colts offered more and the Giants, rightly in my view, chose not to compete.

In my view, defensive tackle is a much easier position to replace than defensive end, cornerback or even safety. There are always useful veteran defensive tackles on the free agent market, or guys who get cut right before the season begins.

Think about the economics of drafting a guy, getting four years out of him, then drafting a replacement. You get a player for four years on a rookie contract rather than on a rich free-agent deal. The Giants have generally been good at having a replacement ready when a player like Cofield or Joseph has moved on. Right now, the Giants are paying huge money to Damon Harrison. Could they really pay big money to four defensive linemen?

The Giants haven’t always gotten it right, but for the most part when one good defensive tackle has moved on they have had another cheaper one ready to take his place. That’s not a bad philosophy at all.

Ed says: My guess is the chances are slim that the Giants draft McDowell in the first round — if he is still on the board. In my view, the Giants can make better use of tht pick than selecting a defensive tackle. Plus, Jerry Reese’s history is that he likes to find defensive tackles on Day 2 of the draft, something he has done five times in the 10 drafts he has run as general manager. I think there is a good chance he does that again this time around, with Dalvin Tomlinson of Alabama and Chris Wormley of Michigan names to watch.

Ed says: I have answered this one before, but no harm in doing it again. I like Dobbs a lot as a developmental quarterback. He’s smart, athletic, has good size and enough arm strength. He and Jerod Evans of Virginia Tech are my two favorite guys in that purely “developmental” category. If you can get either one of them on Day 3 of the draft, I would be really happy with that. If you have to select one of them on Day 2, that’s too early for me.

Robert Sisca asks (via e-mail): I've read that the Jets are willing to dump Sheldon Richardson for a 4th round pick. Despite his past troubles, and his decreased production last year, I think he might be a worthy reclamation product for the Giants. The price seems so low and the upside high. His salary would be a big ##, but I'm sure JR could get creative there. I was bummed we lost Hankins, as I was when we lost Linval Joseph but if Richardson got back to form, his upside could make Big Blue's DLine one of the best.

It this wish delusional?

Ed says: Delusional? No. I think the right word is “misguided.” So, let’s guide you back on to the right path. Yes, Richardson is talented but you have to look beyond that to the other factors at play. First and foremost is that there were serious problems between Richardson and Brandon Marshall in the New York Jets locker room last season. Do you really want to bring that to the Giants locker room and potentially implode the team from within? I certainly don’t think that’s a smart risk to take.

Second, the guy is carrying an $8.069 million cap hit for 2017 and can then be a free agent. You wan to pay him that kind of money, give up what might be a third-round pick and then risk losing him? When you’re already paying Damon Harrison, Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul a king’s ransom on the defensive line?

Third, you’ve already got three outstanding defensive linemen. There are low-cost free agents available, and players in the draft who could help. Just because you know the guy’s name and he has talent doesn’t mean bringing him to the Giants is a good idea.

In my humble opinion, Richardson to the Giants is an awful idea.

Ed says: You want the Giants to play defense with 10 guys? Hankins did not have a great year — I believe he simply isn’t a 3-tech, he’s better on the nose where he played before the Giants signed Harrison. You have complete faith in Robert Thomas and Jay Bromley to replace him? What if somebody gets hurt? The Giants don’t need to spend a first-round pick or break the bank for a free agent, but they do need to add more depth and competition at the defensive tackle spot.

Clayton Currie asks (via e-mail): Why don't they Giants get an offensive tackle (in the draft) and then move up for the 1st pick in the second round and get the tight end from Miami?

Ed says: Who says the Giants won’t if the opportunity presents itself? Reality is, though, it’s not that easy. You can’t just snap your fingers and make something happen. The Giants pick 23rd, not third. There’s a distinct possibility the top three offensive tackles (Ryan Ramczyk, Garett Bolles, Cam Robinson) and the tight end from Miami (David Njoku) will be gone before they pick. The Giants understand what they believe their needs are. When it’s their turn they will look at the board, match value with need and make the best selection they can. As for the idea of trading up in the second round, they have done it before and I think they would do it again if someone they really want is still on the board.